The Commissioner for Information & Orientation, Mrs. RoseMary Archibong has described the Calabar Carnival International Festival as not just an entertainment and tourism based classic, but also an intellectually engaging masterpiece.

According to the Information and Orientation boss: “it takes a lot of intelligence and intellectual engagement to give an interpretation that can easily be communicated to the public while depicting the theme of the festival.”

She saluted Governor Ben Ayade’s idea of bringing issues like Climate Change in 2016 and now Migration, which are topical in internal discourse, to be addressed through the creative industry called the Calabar Carnival Fiesta.

“Migration is a dilemma; and the Carnival, through its competing Bands seeks to deal with the push factors and dangers of Migration, hence discouraging the negative trend,” Mrs. Archibong added.

Commission Archibong further enjoined Cross Riverians to brace themselves up and utilize the job-creating programmes and policies of the Governor Ben Ayade-led administration, adding that Cross River is tremendously endowed with skilled and enterprising citizens.

She finally called on tourists, investors and Nigerians at large to come and live and be at rest and enjoy the mirthfulness that the Carnival and indeed Cross River are known for.

Speaking to newsmen, wife of the Band Leader, Senator Gershom Bassey, Mrs. Chioma Gershom Bassey expressed optimism that this year Masta Blasta is in it to win it, adding that the Band is on course to take its place as the largest and most entertaining band.

“We have what it takes to win this Carnival – colourful display of costumes, spectacular display of dances and choreography and the presence of the spirit of the Carnival,” Mrs. Bassey added.

Mrs. Bassey who revealed that in improving the content of the Carnival, Masta Blasta would also be creating awareness for people to have a fitness attitude considering the epidemic of non-communicable diseases, like obesity and high blood pressure and other diseases which are self-inflicted, called on everyone to drop the weight, shackles, get on their fit, be fit and have fun during the Carnival.

Director General of Cross River State Primary Healthcare Development Agency ( CRSPHCDA), Dr Betta Edu received a delegation from United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and Pathfinders international who were in Calabar to monitor progress made in their ingoing projects in the communities.
Speaking, Dr Betta Edu said it’s been a wonderful partnership between the State,USAID and Pathfinders trageted at improving healthcare for mothers and children to maximum standard.
According to her several interventions have been carried out by USAID through Pathfinders including selection of about 90 facilities to improve the quality of services as influx of people keep increasing in those facilities while also building human capacities and training for LGAs doctors midwives,Chews, on family planning, , Essential newborn care and post abortion care. She noted that the have been tremendous increase in community awareness and supportive supervision.
She said the SMGL has brought about strong partnership that has the health system beginning from the primary healthcare which is seen as the entrance of healthcare; strengthened.
Dr Edu went further to mention few things the state have benefitted from the several USAID project such as installations of over 60 Solar panel unit in our health centers, step up support by collaborating with USAID and General Electric to provide 50 ultrasound machines in Cross River State which the State Governor, His Excellency, Senator ( Prof) Ben Ayade commended the gesture as a good move to improve quality healthcare in the State.
She mentioned several other things such as Delivery kits (Mama Kits) and their support to the Cross River State Primary Healthcare Development Agency Multi Operational Plan for 3 years.
Finally she said SMGL has introduced Emergency Transport Services in the communities for pregnant mothers. This according to her will address one of the three delays which causes Maternal Mortality that is the delay to transport a woman in labour to the facility
She added that for the past four months health centers in Cross River State have been receiving medical equipment under the Project CURE program of USAID.
Earlier Speaking, Chief of Party Pathfinders, Dr Farouk Jega who led the USAID on the visit noted that for three years they have been partnering with Cross River State to promote safe motherhood and reduce maternal and newborn mortality across the 18 LGAs with clusters on health facilities.
He pointed that the purpose of the visit was to enable USAID Pathfinder Boston office figure out some technicalities of the digital health services they are implementing through the Save Mother and Giving Lives initiative ( SMGL) , like Hello mama project etc.
Dr Jega went further to state that SMGL lead for Nigeria is also here to see the connectivity between public and private çenters by working in cluster to see improvement in the quality of care and referral while getting appropriate data of the program.
He said the team will be spending one week in Cross River State in which they will be touring their project facilities.
Also speaking, the Board Secretary of the Agency, Dr Eric Edrah said the Agency hold pathfinders in high esteem and will simply want to join his voice with that of the Governor, Commissioner for Health and the DG to say a big thank you to USAID noting that so much has been achieved in term of reduction in maternal mortality.
Present in the meeting were all Unit head of the Agency, the Director of Administration, Pastor (Barr) Daniel Effiom, State Project Coordinator of Pathfinders, Dr Yemisi Femi-Pius, Digital health advisor Pathfinders, Justin Maly Boston , Lauren Spigel , SMGL Nigeria lead and other senior pathfinders project managers.




Cross River State Governor, Senator Ben Ayade's investment drive has received a further boost with Dana Group, a consortium of Indian investors ready to partner the state on areas of airline and pharmaceuticals.
The partnership which will lead to the setting up of an airline to be known as Cally Air, involves Dana Group oversee the management of the state’s airline as well as the Calabar Pharmaceutical Company, CalaPharm.
Disclosing this in Calabar when he led the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer(CEO) of Dana Group, Mr. Jackies Hartmani to the site of the Calabar Pharmaceutical Company, currently under construction, Governor Ayade said Cross River was creating new platforms, new business opportunities that will open a fresh horizon for young people to exploit.
The governor who assured Cross Riverians of a brighter future, despite the current recession said: "Cross River State expects a lot to happen, as there is a lot of energy, steam, excitement in the air because Cross River State will definitely make a difference in the face of this recession."
He stressed that at a time such as this, "only quality idea such as the one that is giving birth to airline and pharmaceutical company that can survive any society that is challenged and threatened by economic downturn."
According to him, "that is when the intellect and the best of everybody comes out and I think Nigerians will see this challenge as a great opportunity to reinvent themselves. This time is an opportunity for us to think and go beyond the scope of our normal lifestyle, to find from the depth of our intellect, capacity and knowledge, to forge a new prosperity, new vision, focus on reconstructing a new economy, new lifestyle, new consumption pattern that can take Nigeria out of the woods."
On the new partnership between the state and Dana Group, especially as regards the pharmaceutical company, the governor maintained that Cross River State will become the hub for the manufacturing of drugs in the whole of the South/South region of the country and Cameroun. According to him, "the original intention and spirit of this factory is to provide the drugs demand for the proposed Cross River State Health Insurance Scheme. As you are well aware, the Health Insurance Bill has been passed by the House of Assembly which I am going to be signing into law by Tuesday." Ayade further stressed that "the idea therefore is that Cross River State will be having a huge demand for drugs for her citizens who will be covered under the comprehensive insurance scheme.
"It therefore means that we cannot continue to depend on Lagos and imported drugs to be able to support our people,which is why as a government, we conceived the idea of Calabar Pharmaceuticals."
Continuing, the governor said: "As you are well aware, Dana Pharmaceuticals, one of the outfits of Dana Group of companies is established in pharmaceuticals, so this is a partnership with a giant that is well grounded in the sector.
"So it is important that we get a partner that is a strong industry player in Nigeria, who has good grabs of industry standards." Speaking further on the partnership, Ayade noted: "We think that this factory will be a complete game changer in the pharmaceutical business. What is critical is that the entire South-South and the whole of South-East, stretching to the western part of Cameroon, stretching to the borders of Northern Nigeria will benefit from this huge investment"
In the same vein, Governor Ayade said the state's airline which is another major partnership with Dana Group will be up and running in two to three months.
His words: "I am sure that in the next two to three months, you will all see Dana Air flying to Calabar. We have our own state's aircraft, which Dana has agreed to do a detailed technical study of the aircraft, which is in Aero Contractor's fleet in Lagos. And as soon as that is done, he will finalize to get the aircraft in the air. Once that is done, it is going to be written completely as “Cally Air. So it will be flying Calabar, Obudu, Lagos and of course, Abuja. We are in a haste to get Cally Air started, so Calabar will have its own airline in partnership with Dana as its technical operator and we have also reached a point where we will be signing up on that deal." Speaking earlier on the joint partnership between the state and Dana, Jackies Hartmani said: "My Company is very impressed with what Governor Ayade is doing to transform the state in terms of investment and we are committed to ensuring the success of the partnership."

Cross River State Ministry of Health has announced the commencement of activities in its School of Nursing Itigidi and the Schools of Midwifery Calabar and Ogoja respectively in October this year following the approval of the programmes by the Nursing and Midwifery Council of Nigeria recently.
To this end, the Schools have commenced sales of forms for the approved programmes at the cost of six thousand five hundred naira (N6,500.00) only for School of Midwifery and four thousand five hundred (N4,500.00) for School of Nursing.
A statement signed by the Commissioner for Health, Dr. (Mrs.) Inyang Asibong, in Calabar intimated interested members of the public to pick up the forms at the Department of Nursing, Ministry of Health Headquarters, Calabar or at the respective schools upon payment of the prescribed fees made payable at any First Bank branch in favour of Cross River State Government Revenue Account number: 2010327711 on or before September 16, 2016.
The release adds that prospective students for the School of Nursing must possess a minimum of five credits in science related courses obtained in not more than two sittings at O’Level (SSCE) while those seeking admission into the school of Midwifery Calabar and Ogoja must be registered Nurses with a valid license.
According to Asibong, entrance examination into the School of Nursing Itigidi will hold on October 15, 2016 at the West African People’s Institute (WAPI) by 7am while interview for those seeking admission into the School of Midwifery is scheduled for September 20, 2016 for holders of form number 1-100 and September 21 for holders of form number 101 – and above by 8.00am prompt.
She enjoined prospective students to adhere strictly to the instructions guiding the filling of the forms as well as the provision of necessary documents needed for the interviews and entrance examination respectively.
The Commissioner however, warned against impersonation, falsification of documents including all forms of examination malpractices during the exercise as "offenders will be prosecuted in line with prescribed laws."

After two years of perennial darkness, the Ikot Awatim, Uyi Effiong and Akai Effa communities in Calabar Municipality and Calabar South Local Government Areas of Cross River State, finally heaved a sigh of relief as the state government turned on the light with the installation of brand new transformers.
The three communities are among several of which have benefited from the state government's intervention following years of neglect.
The intervention is part of Governor Ayade's planned 24-hour uninterrupted power supply in Calabar metropolis, of which he last week took delivery of some equipment for the 20 Megawatts power equipment.
Speaking at the official commissioning, Director General, State Electricity Agency (SEA) Hon. Jake Otu Enya said: “The essence of this exercise is to ensure that Cross River State, particularly Calabar metropolis, has uninterrupted power supply to improve on their living conditions."
He pointed out that “In spite of the current economic realities in the country as well as the lean resources of the state which has made governance almost impossible, the governor, Prof. Ben Ayade graciously granted approval for the purchase of 181 transformers at the sum of N650 million for distribution to areas where there was no light in the Southern Senatorial District of the state for phase one of the project and today, we gather to celebrate this man of the people.”
According to the Director General, “We are the only state in Nigeria that has this kind of intervention. Even when power has been privatized, we still deem it fit to intervene in the interest of our people." He, however, regretted that "despite all this, we are not benefitting from the tariff. We want PHED to do something in that direction.”
Addressing the beneficiary communities, Governor Ayade who was represented by his Special Adviser on Public Utilities, Hon. Iyadim Iyadim said: “Today there is palpable excitement, joy and feeling of sense of belonging as expressed on the faces of the people of Calabar Municipality and Calabar South as we move from one community to another, particularly those areas that felt neglected and were in darkness for a long time to commission the projects.”
Iyadim said, the gesture was in fulfillment of one of the Governor's campaign promises of ensuring total transformation of the economic landscape, stating that power remained a key component for economic emancipation.
Ayade noted that “On assumption of office we undertook assessment of the metropolis and indeed the entire state to ascertain the condition as well as the level of power supply, and it was revealed that most communities were either without light or not connected and in some cases, their transformers were vandalized. So, we took a deliberate step in partnership with the Port Harcourt Electricity Company to light them up to improve living conditions in those areas.
“My candid advice to you is that you should help government to serve you better and bring more dividends to your door steps by ensuring that these facilities are guarded jealously from vandals. Please take ownership of these transformers to enable us expand this gesture to other parts of the state.”
Speaking on behalf of the beneficiary communities, spokesman for Uyi Effiong, Ndabo Mesembe Edet lauded Ayade for the gesture, even as he described him as a messiah. He said the governor had rekindled their hopes and given the community a sense of belonging.


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