Andy Esiet , Calabar
Former governor of Cross River, Mr Clement Ebri called for a total re-examining or review of the planning and management of future Carnival Calabar.
This call by the former governor in statement signed by him dated December 28, 2022 and made available to some newsman yesterday became apt following the ugly incident of December 27, 2022 that claimed about eight lives during the Bikers’ Parade Carnival at the Bogobiri axis of Mary Slessor avenue.
Ebri said “without question, the unprecedented but tragic accident that occurred during the “Bikers’ Carnival” on the 27th of December 2022 in which at least seven people were reported dead with several injured, has indeed cast a sombre hue over the colourful luminance and joyful celebrations of the Calabar Carnival.
“For close to two decades, this event has become a veritable flagship of unity and hope for a people whose resilient spirit, uncannily literally makes a “feast out of crumbs” and ignites joy around not just the entire nation, but the world at large”
He joined the throng of well-meaning Cross Riverians, Nigerians and our friends from around the world to commiserate with the families of those who lost their lives, those who sustained injuries and are now receiving treatment in hospitals, and the government and people of Cross River State,.
In this regards, Ebri who was the state governor in the third republic, said “may I say that this unfortunate incident also presents us with an opportunity at self -introspection and reflection with regard to the planning and management of this banquet of festive joy”.
He appealed to the public who are no doubt outraged at the near truncation of their ‘moment of joy’ by this sad incident “to please exercise restraint in their expression of grief as I am confident that the Cross River State Governor, Professor Ben Ayade will not only investigate the current incident, as he has already pledged but will also put measures in place that will mitigate similar occurrences during the ongoing carnival and in the future”.
He thanked Ayade for his concern and show of goodwill and empathy in his visit to the injured in the hospital and his pledge to offset the medical bills and “I further implore him to make a generous provision to cushion the impact of the devastating blow on the families of the deceased and the injured.
“May the souls of the faithful departed rest in peace. I pray that the Lord will grant the physically and emotionally injured and traumatized by this incident, the grace for a speedy recovery of body and soul” .
In similar development, the All Progressives Congress (APC) gubernatorial candidate in the state Sen. Prince Bassey Edet Otu totally condemned “this unfortunate and avoidable death of innocent citizens of our dear state” .
He joined the state government and other well meaning Cross Riverians in calling for “a thorough investigation into the matter with the aim of ensuring that those found culpable are made to face the full wrath of the law”
Otu described the sad news of the unfortunate and tragic death of people who left their homes to watch the bikers parade as a rude shock, saying, “I deeply commiserate with the families of those who lost their lives in that tragic but avoidable incident…to honour the death, I have decided to suspend all my political activities till further notice to mourn with the family of the injured and those who lost their lives”.