On Akwa Ibom’s UkapIsua Street Carnival

Yesterday, the Street Carnival – one of the two events organized by the Akwa Ibom State Ministry of Culture and Tourism to make the end of the year more eventful for the people came alive. I share some random thoughts about the carnival.

1. The first significant idea anyone who is observant is likely to pick from the faces of the people who made up the huge crowd that turned up to watch the street carnival is this: AKWA IBOM PEOPLE HAD LONGED FOR AN EVENT OF THIS NATURE FOR A LONG TIME. You could see the “unfettered excitement” seeping through the faces of the spectators who cut across diverse age segments. 👪👪👪👪👪👪👪👪👪👪👪👪👪👪👪👪👪👪

2. This longing, and if you will, the huge reception, the carnival got from the audience is an eloquent testimonial to the fact that Uyo, nay Akwa Ibom State is a fertile ground that lies in wait of healthy seeds of investments in the areas of showbiz and tourism. That crowd we saw yesterday was proof of the fact Akwa Ibom people have been waiting for “secular” events like this that could make their holidays more lively and colourful. 💪💪💪💪💪💪💪💪💪💪💪💪💪💪💪

3. And since a good number of Akwa Ibom people agree that there are huge benefits that we can reap from STRATEGICALLY positioning this state as a destination for business and leisure, it is important for us to also have events and tourists landmarks that will turn Akwa Ibom to a destination state. (Of course, to reap from this, there must be concomitant investments in sectors identified as complementary drivers of showbiz and tourism. Infrastructure, security, economic empowerment etc.) 🗼🗼🗼🗼🗼🗼🗼🗼🗼🗼🗼🗼🗼🗼🗼🗼🗼🗼🗼🗼🗼🗼

4. Yesterday’s carnival by light was impressively successful. The vision that gave birth to it is commendable. The opportunities for improvement and expansion are exciting. ✅✅✅✅✅✅✅✅✅✅✅✅✅✅✅✅

However, there are aspects of the carnival which could have been better.

First, coordination could have been better. It could have begun earlier than it did. And most importantly, since we are not looking to model our tourism events after those of other states, we must aim to do something unique to us. If we have something unique, IT WILL ATTRACT AN INFECTIOUS FOLLOWING FROM OUTSIDERS. HAVING AN EVENT UNIQUE TO US WILL ALSO BRIGHTEN OUR CHANCES FOR GETTING SPONSORSHIP FOR THE EVENT. This is because we need to start exploring the options of sponsorship from next edition to ease off the financial burdens of the event. Kebbi State is renowned for her Argungu Fishing Festival, Cross River State is renowned for her Street Carnival. If we must have a carnival too, let it come with a different flavour. 🚣🚣🚣🚣🚣🚣🚣🚣🚣🚣🚣🚣🚣🚣🚣🚣🚣🚣🚣

5. At this point commendations are due to the Commissioner for Culture and Tourism Hon. Victor Antai for successfully pulling off this experimental feat. I am sure that his energy, vision and passion will lead him to think of ways to not only make this better and viable, but continue to come up with fresh ideas that will ignite our tourism industry and position our state for the huge revenue from this sector. 💰 💰 💰 💰 💰 💰 💰 💰 💰 💰 💰 💰

6. The Akwa Ibom State government needs to understand that from next year a lot of people will want to come into the state for the yuletide. This means that the expectations will be coming from a larger segment of the people. Unlit Street in some parts of the city which a lot of people complained about during yesterday’s carnival must be fixed. Security must not be porous. More efforts must be made to ensure that there is improvement in infrastructure and other drivers of showbiz and tourism from what the people have witnessed this year.

I am strongly persuaded that this might as well be the beginning of something beautiful.

God bless Akwa Ibom State.

POSTSCRIPT: Hey Mr Sam Adeleke, you and other pundits in the Nigerian Tourism space should make a strategic place for Akwa Ibom State. We have begun the journey. You should come to Akwa Ibom next year.

© Borono Bassey

December 27, 2017.

Uyo, Akwa Ibom State.

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