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Factual Reportage

Cross River State government has announced that it would be bringing back a rebranded Obudu Mountain Race which it last hosted in 2014 under the Liyel Imoke-led administration.

The 11.25 km international mountain race, initiated by the then governor Donald Duke in 2005, was suspended by former governor Ben Ayade in 2015 for what he said was for lack of funds and sponsorship.

But briefing Journalists in Calabar, Tuesday, the Commissioner for Culture and tourism, Mr Abubakar Ewa, said the “rebranded, reinvigorated Obudu mountain race will take place this year.”

Ewa said the state government has paid the backlog of allowances of the Obudu Ranch resort staff and that the said staff were later absorbed into the state civil service, with more than N200 million used to settle the matter.

Earlier, the Chairman of the Cross River State Carnival Commission, Mr Austin Cobham, said the state was ready to take the Carnival Calabar to another height, describing the annual event as an asset to Nigeria.

Speaking while releasing the time table of activities lined up for this year’s Carnival Calabar, Cobham said, “we are rejigging, reinventing and restructuring the Carnival at the same time.

“”We are out to return Cross River state as the hub of Nigeria tourism. We are having activities from now till December in our tourism calendar. Some of the programs, like essay competition and African fashion fiesta have sponsors already.”

The Secretary disclosed that Ogoja in the north and Ikom in the central part of the state would also have their separate Carnivals on October 27 and November 24 respectively to give the rural people a sense of belonging.

He said the main Carnival Calabar would be held on December 28, 2024.

The first Dry Run, he noted, would be held on October 20, the second and last Dry Run on November 27 and December 8, 2024, while Cultural Carnival and Junior Carnival would hold on December 26 and 27, 2024 respectively.

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