By Omini Ikpi
Days after the annual tree lighting ceremony kicked off the 2014 Calabar Christmas Festival which Nzan Ogbe, Chairman, Calabar Festival Planning Committee describes as “another 32 days of non-stop entertainment”, www.calitown.com investigations are pointing to the fact that politics and poor finances are contributing to make this year’s festival a forgettable experience.
First, visitors and residents of the city can see that unlike in past editions of the festival, the city is yet to wear a new look. Street decorations which would have enhanced the beauty of the city are nowhere to be seen. Top level sources informed www.calitown.com that government is presently grappling with her inability to pay staff salaries “and cannot at this point divert funds into a venture that will yield minimal benefits”, as one source puts it. Recall that it was only last week that civil servants in the state got bank alerts to the effect that accounts have been credited with October salaries.
Our investigations also reveal that the Imoke-led administration is enmeshed in a political transition battle that has relegated every other thing in CR to the back burner. Grounded sources are insisting that state funds may have been stealthily ploughed into the political tussle that has seen Imoke make frequent lightning trips to Abuja, leaving critical sectors with little or nothing, as the heat goes on.
On the streets of Calabar, scores of people spoken to are expressing disappointment that a “festival which has put our state on the world map is suffering because a government that is by the exit door wants to usher in only her will and not that of the larger Cross River, it has in the process turned attention to only her arm twisting tactics for political succession to the detriment of every other thing including our dear Calabar Festival”, as Michael Akpan put it.
It appears unbelievable too that even the exotic Christmas decorations often seen at the Governor’s Office, Calabar, have not been put out, just like the fence is still draped in algae, just like the millenium Park, has a skeletal look. Attempts to speak with Nzan Ogbe were unsuccessful at the time of filing this report as his number was busy for extended periods.
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