Magnus Eze, Abuja
The five South East state governors have been challenged to think out of the box by exploring the opportunities offered by the region’s rich masquerade culture to boost their economy.
Former Abia State governor, Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu, who made the charge in Abuja, yesterday, said institutionalising masquerade carnival could be a major revenue earner for the states.
Speaking to newsmen shortly after delivering the first edition of this year’s National Institute of Cultural Orientation (NICO) quarterly public lecture, he urged the state chief executives to see the possibilities inherent in cultural festivals for tourism and investments.
The former governor identified the Calabar Carnival of Cross River State as one area that culture had demonstrated great impact on the economy of a state, regarding tourism.
Although statistics were not readily available on the financial impact of the carnival to the state government, he mentioned that the two million visitors that Governor Ben Ayade said attended the 2017 edition of the carnival was a huge number in any economy.
“That is a huge number that goes with its economic potentialities and because of the success of the carnival, many other states in the southern flank of Nigeria are developing their versions.
“I am, however, not happy that our states in the eastern flank are not exploring opportunities in masquerade festivals. I am sure that a well organised festival of masquerades in the South East will attract investments and tourists and help grow economies of the states. It is the same with Durbar festivals in the northern flank of Nigeria,” Kalu stated.