calabar festivalDUBLIN – IT was twin honour for the Governor of Cross River State, Senator Liyel Imoke, last weekend, as he bagged two high-status International Awards at the Nigerian Carnival Ireland, NCI, in Dublin, the capital and largest city of Ireland.

Held at the Round room of the historic Mansion House, Dublin, Senator Imoke was honoured with the “Global Tourism Ambassador Award 2014” for making Nigeria a world Tourist destination via Calabar Carnival.

He was also honoured as the “NCI most outstanding personality of the year 2014 Award” for his credible records in the realization of numerous enviable achievements in developmental projects, and for being an exceptional leader.

The Awards ceremony, which climaxed the 5th Anniversary celebrations of the NCI was co-hosted by the Lord Mayor of Dublin, Christy Burke and the Nigerian Ambassador to Ireland, Dr. Boloere Ketebu, and had as special guests, Chief Edem Duke, Minister of Culture, Tourism and National Orientation.


Senator Imoke arrived Ireland via Dublin Airport for the Carnival in the morning of Friday, August 22, accompanied by his aides and some other important personalities.


Ireland, or officially the Republic of Ireland, is an island nation in the North Atlantic Ocean. (The northernmost part of the island is Northern Ireland, which is part of the United Kingdom.) Almost 20 per cent of the land is devoted to farming. Less than 10 per cent of farmland is used to grow crops and the majority is used as grazing land for livestock.

Other awardees

Receiving awards alongside the Governor at the ceremony were former Ireland Minister of Justice, Deputy Alan Shatter, who was represented by Cleo Lambert and ace Nigerian broadcaster, Bisi Olatilo.

Shatter, received the NCI Migrant’s Choice Integration Ambassador 2014 Award for facilitating the settlement and building of “a sense of belonging” for thousands of migrants in Ireland while Bisi Olatilo received the NCI Media Excellence Award 2014.

Shatter received the NCI Migrant’s Choice Integration Ambassador 2014 Award for facilitating the settlement and building of “a sense of belonging” for thousands of migrants in Ireland while Bisi Olatilo received the NCI Media Excellence Award 2014.

Believer in continuity

At the occasion, Chairman of the Cross River State Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP), Chief Ntufam John Okon, described Senator Liyel Imoke as a perfectionist; one who loves to see things done with commitment and dedication.

“This is one great leader who believes so much in continuity of governance. Instead of pushing aside the efforts of the past administration, he has successfully transformed the inadequacies that may have been found in the projects of the past administration into top class achievements by linking them all up with innovations.

“Example of this is the linking of the Tinapa Resort to the Summit Hill project through the P8 Monorail electric powered passenger train. Calabar’s new attraction, Summit Hills, is an exciting real estate project in Calabar and it is already alive and breathing. It consists of a Convention Centre, Hotel, Recreational Facilities, Golf Course, Clubhouse, Nature Reserve, Hospital and a variety of Residential units to create a vibrant and bustling community within a unique Eco system,” he added.

Dividend of democracy

The PDP chieftain opined, “His Excellency has brought so much dividend of democracy to the people in his almost eight years in office; as a matter of fact, it was his scorecard as a true and outstanding leader in every sense that earned him the honour of “NCI most outstanding personality of the year 2014 Award.”

Expanding tourism frontiers

Head of Cross River State Tourism bureau, Mr. Michael William, spoke delightedly about how Cross River State has evolved into the strategic position of the benchmark of tourism in Nigeria and sub-Africa region.

He seized the opportunity to invite tourism enthusiasts to the yearly Carnival Calabar. The Carnival event which usually takes a two-day space in the 32 day Calabar festival will hold this year on December 26 and 27.


Everyone, especially Nigerians, who had opportunity of meeting Senator Imoke, whose presence brought a unique excitement to the Nigerian Carnival in Dublin, this year, were entranced by the humble mien of the governor and were grateful for an opportunity to stand beside or shake hands with the man, who interestingly does not believe in a governor going about commissioning every little project that is executed by government.

Also in Dublin for the Carnival were the Cross River State Commissioner for Local Government, Chief Peter Ojie, the State Chairman, House Committee on Culture and Tourism, Chike Okogwu, Member of the Subsidy Reinvestment and Empowerment Programme (SURE-P), Prince Philip Orebiyi, Senior Special Assistant to the Kogi State Governor and Musa Kakangi, Kaduna State Commissioner for Culture and Tourism.

There was also the highly esteemed “Carnival Calabar” team, led by Mr. Chris Agibe, amongst a host of other dignitaries from Cross River State.

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