Saturday, 24 September 2016

Obiano to lead Anambra carnival

Anambra State is still in a celebration mood several weeks after marking its 25th anniversary.

This second phase of the four-month long anniversary celebration programme, according to the coordinator of the Anambra at 25 events, Chief Emeka Okonkwo, is fashioned to draw attention to the “rich tourism potentials of Anambra State, especially in this period of economic difficulty which calls for diversification and creativity in the revenue drive of the state.”

Addressing the traditional rulers of the 179 communities in the state, at the Government House, Awka, Anambra state capital, Okonkwo solicited their support on behalf of the Organising Committee, for the remaining part of the anniversary programme.

He said, “The Anambra @ 25 Committee wants to use this historical silver jubilee of our dear state to showcase not only our rich cultural heritage, natural endowments but also our unique tourisms potentials.

“Tourism all over the world is a big business. Many countries around the globe derive huge revenue from tourism and Anambra with its diverse tourism endowments, should rightly be on the front role of tourism sector in Nigeria if the sector is well developed, essential as government has provided the enabling environment for it to thrive.”
Speaking further, he said, “We are grateful to the government of His Excellency, Governor Willie Obiano, for the decisive manner it fought against criminality and insecurity in Anambra state in the past two years. Now with a secured Anambra, we will no longer be afraid to invite our brothers, sisters, friends and other tourism enthusiasts from within and outside the shores of Nigeria to come and have a feel of tourism in Anambra state,” adding that developing and harnessing the tourism potentials in Anambra will not only earn the state extra revenue but also stimulate economic activities in the regions that host the numerous tourism sites in the state.

Okonkwo also disclosed that the anniversary celebration is at no cost to the state government as sponsorship cost is borne by private individuals and corporate bodies who are using the opportunity of the historical event to identify with Anambra state.

Anambra, in the recent past was dreaded by visitors because of its notoriety for criminality. But Governor Obiano administration has taken on this ugly situation with an iron fist that Anambra has become one of the safest states in Nigeria today.

Speaking on how he turned that ugly trend around, Governor Obiano stated: “I figured out that there could be no meaningful progress in this state without a successful attack against crime. I knew that no investor would go to a crime-ridden environment. So, we launched an all-out war against kidnappers, armed robbers, drug dealers and child-traffickers.

“We smashed crime syndicates and pulled down the warehouses used for keeping kidnap victims. We donated smart cars to the police, gunboats to the navy and last Christmas, we launched police helicopters to watch over our skies.

“And so, for the first time since the creation of this great state, we made sure that Anambra was effectively covered on the land, in the waters and in the sky! With that effort, we achieved 360 degrees security coverage of the state, “he noted.

The result this efforts is the enabling environment for the development of the tourism sector that Okonkwo, alluded to.

According to the published programmes of event, this tourism drive will be kick-started by a cultural beauty pageant and zonal cultural dance/masquerade competitions billed to take place in each of the three senatorial zones in the vicinity of the key tourism sites in each of the zones.

Tourism sites such as Agulu Lake, famed for its sacred crocodiles and turtles, Ogbunike Cave, located in Oyi Local Government Area and Ogba Waterfalls in Owerre-Ezukala, will all play host to the zonal cultural fiestas. This strategy, according to the organizers, is to through this means, bring people to these sites in order to enable them to appreciate these gifts of nature that God has blessed Anambra with.

Six selected communities from each of the zones would then take part in the grand finale and the state carnival to be led personally by the governor in the state capital Awka, in December 17, 2016.

The cultural competition is designed to showcase the best of Anambra state cultural dances and indigenous masquerades. The organisers also revealed that the carnival would become an annual state event like the popular Calabar Carnival, however, participants would be encouraged to wear customs that depict the culture and tradition of Anambra state, unlike in Calabar which parades Brazilian custom themes.

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