Judex Okoro, Calabar
The Cross River government says it has concluded plans again to partner 12 communities in Yakurr Local Government Area for the 2019 Leboku International Festival.
In the last 14 years, Leboku Cultural Festival, a celebration of new yam, king of crops, has become an annual event which aimed at promoting the rich tourism potential of the state.
Briefing journalists on the activities for the 2019 edition of the slated for August 24 at Yakurr on Tuesday, Governor Ben Ayade promised to take the festival to the international cultural market.
Represented by the deputy-director, Ministry of Culture and Tourism, Mr. Ekpeyong Ojoi, Ayade said the event had continued to grow bigger and stronger every year, thereby attracting more tourists into the state.
He said: “We shall continue to partner the 12 autonomous communities that make up Yakurr to add value to the event. So far, the ceremony has recorded success.
“Since 2006 when the government began participating at the event, it has empowered some youths with 31 vehicles and nine trucks.”
He listed other items given to the indigenes of the community during the festival to include 22 saloon cars, over 40 sewing machines,40 hair-dressing equipment, 16 motorbikes for best wrestlers (males), 16 cassava pressers and barbing salon equipment.
In his remarks, MTN Team Leader, Chibugo Akuchire, said MTN had done empowerment of various forms ranging from cash gifts and equipment to the youths of the community to kick- start their small-scale businesses.
In his remarks, the traditional ruler of Yakurr, Obol, Ofem Ubana Eteng, assured of the safety of all the visitors and tourists during the ceremony.