By Uwem Kerns
Preparations are in top gear for the hosting of the maiden edition of Akwa Ibom festival of Arts and Culture tagged Ibomfest Heritage Festival 2016.
The festival which is geared at diverting investment and tourism traffic to Akwa Ibom State through the provision of artistic, cultural and tourism platforms to add value to the state’s economy, is scheduled for 15th through 17th December 2016.
The Commissioner for Culture and Tourism, Otuekong Emmanuel Ibiok, while briefing Government House correspondents at the Press Centre, stated that the Ibomfest 2016 Heritage festival would showcase the rich cultural potentials ranging from historic sites, sculptural landscapes, topography, cuisines, to arts and crafts that abound in the state
He explained that the festival is one of the five-point agenda of the Governor Udom Emmanuel-led administration to provide a robust programme that would fast-track the development of the tourism industry for wealth creation, employment generation, self actualization and sustainability.
Otuekong who noted that Akwa Ibom is endowed with significant cultural relics, world class artiste, rich cuisines, conducive environment, soothing and beautiful coastline as well as hospitable people, observed that these ambience have single out the state as a Haven for tourist and that the Ibomfest 2016 Heritage festival would expose these beautiful heritage to the global community.
Also speaking, the Special Assistant to the State Governor on Tourism, Miss Ini Edo, said that the festival which has as its theme “Our Culture Beyond Borders” would attract foreign direct investment to the state as well as create opportunity for stakeholders in the tourism industry to showcase their potentials.
She highlighted the 3-day programme to include a cultural float tagged “parade of Colours “to be carried out in the major streets of Uyo with participants drawn from the 31 Local Government Areas of the state.
The float, accordng to her, would stop at Ibibio Unity Park for official flag- off by the State Governor, Mr Udom Emmanuel.
She added that a fashion parade where internatnal and local designers of cultural attires will compete at Ibeno beach for mouth – waterng prizes to be awarded to the designers and models will take place in the evening of the day of commencement of the festival.
In the kitty is a food fair showcasing the state’s rich cuisines, to be declared open by wife of the Governor, Mrs Martha Udom Emmanuel, a cooking, eating, and drinking competition alongside exclusive gala and dinner party for guests and sponsors of the festival.
The event will also feature a boat regatta at Ayadehe Itu Local Government Area involving all coastal Communities and participants from other climes. Winners in the competition, according to her, shall go home with fantastic prizes.