Tourism Expert Says Proposed ECOWAS Food & Cultural Festival Will Strengthen Community Bonds, Preserve Common Identity…As PANDEF Chairman Leads Delegation to Visit Cross River State Governor.

Cross River State Governor, Senator Prince Bassey Edet Otu, (l) having handshake with Senator Ibok Essien during the visit.

The Senior Special Assistant (SSA) to Bayelsa State Governor on Tourism and Facilitator of the South-South Tourism Roundtable initiative, Dr. Piriye Kiyaramo has said that the food and cultural festival for the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) in Uyo, capital of Akwa Ibom State, Nigeria would strengthen the regional bonds, foster peace and a common identity among member states.

Dr. Kiyaramo who made the remark while speaking with newsmen shortly after ECOWAS Food and Cultural Festival Local Organising Committee, led by the National Chairman of Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF) Senator Ibok Emmanuel Essien, who doubles as national chairman, Intergovernmental Affairs of the regional food and cultural festival visited the governor of Cross River State, Senator Prince Bassey Edet Otu in Government House, Calabar on Tuesday.

The governor’s aide informed that food festivals all over the world celebrate ingredients, local dishes and culinary cultures, explaining that, “food festivals provide opportunities for communities to celebrate culinary arts and culture of a particular region, adding that
“Food festivals typically feature a variety of food vendors, culinary demonstrations, and other food-related activities and events.”

He noted that the public displays through the food exhibitions, the orgiastic consumption and playful way of dealing with food during such food festivals actually provide the participants with illustrations of the fundamental importance of a food and cultural festival for the development of cultures, pointing out that food is an important part of any celebration in all nations of the world, regardless of culture or religion.

First from left, Dr. Piriye Kiyaramo, SSA to Bayelsa State Governor on Tourism.

According to Dr. Kiyaramo, “traditional recipes, passed down through generations have equally helped to preserve the history and habits of people who prepare them. Immigrants also take food customs and recipes of their homeland with them wherever they go; helping them to deal with homesickness as well as pass their culture on to the generations that follow.”

Governor of Cross River State, Sen. Bassey Otu, during the visit had assured the ECOWAS Food and Cultural Festival Organizing Committee of his State’s readiness to support and co-host the regional culinary festival, saying that Cross River State has one of the richest culture and that her cuisines have become famous globally.

“Cross River is internationally noted for her culinary activities. Some of our cuisines are celebrated all over the world. In terms of culture, we have the richest in the whole of Africa. Our culture is also celebrated worldwide. So any occasion that will bring us together is very worthwhile.

“The ECOWAS Food and Cultural Festival is a celebration of life because culture is about life. This event is a very fascinating event. Anything that is about food and culture is about life. I believe it’s going to be a celebration of life.

“The event will reawaken the consciousness of the people to invest in the local cuisines for export within the African continent and globally. I want to thank you for bringing the festival on. I believe it is going to be some sort of reawakening for our people to understand that our cuisines have gone international and that there’s a need to invest and also export to other countries. We will support you wholeheartedly and participate in the event. We look forward to that celebration,” Gov. Bassey Otu assured the ECOWAS Food and Cultural Festival Organizing Committee.

Earlier, National chairman, Organizing Committee/Intergovernmental Affairs, Senator Emmanuel Ibok Essien, FNSE, said the delegation came to seek the governor’s partnership, support and to co-host the festival with Akwa Ibom State on a date to be decided by the stakeholders.

The former Deputy Chief Whip of the Senate, said the festival will boost the local economy as well as attract investments to the host states, reiterating that Cross River State is well known for food and cultural festivals which have expanded the scope of investment in the tourism sector.

“The food and cultural festival will help to boost the local economy by promoting inbound and outbound tourism, entrepreneurship, and support for small-scale businesses. The festival is aimed at attracting investment to the host states, Nigeria, and the ECOWAS sub-region. We are therefore requesting you to please accept to support and co-host the festival,” Senator Emmanuel Essien said.

Sen. Essien was accompanied by Director General, ECOWAS Food and Cultural Festival, Amb. Prince Felix Ihonre, Former Governor of Kwara State, His Excellency, Col. Pam Ogar, Chief Solomon Essien,
Director Contacts & Mobilizations, South South Zone & Member, NCWC, Chief Joe Effa, Asuquo Nyong Edet, Otuekong Edet Okon Effiong, Otuekong Sir Frank A. Edet, Public Relations Officer to the Obong of Calabar.

Others were Mr. Godwin Ibiang, Deputy Director, Mobilizations and Contacts, ECOWAS Food and Cultural Festival, Chief Owali Illem, Cross River State Director, United Nations Polac, Dr. Blessing Anam, Secretary United Nations Polac Cross River State, Mr. Christopher Achong, Director of Administration Cross River State Ministry of Agriculture, Mr. Afangideh Ekan Michael, Director Hotel Tourism Board Akwa Ibom State and Engr. Obono Onen Obono, Mr. Usen Felix Archibong, Co-converner of ECOWAS Food and Cultural Festival, Barr. Kesther Akanimo Iyang, south south women leader for ECOWAS Food and Cultural Festival and Mrs. Usen Iyang.


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