The Governor of Cross Rivers State, Prof. Ben Ayade has charged Africans to explore each other’s country in a bid to improve and grow intra-African tourism in the continent. Ayade gave the charge at the 11th edition of Akwaaba 2015 while addressing pressmen at the event held at Eko hotel in Lagos. He stated that most Africans have travelled round the world and are conversant with so many places outside Africa adding that very little travel within the continent. The Governor stated that Africans must come together and act as one continent with unanimity of purpose to strengthen Africa’s cause saying that “I think time has come when Africans must travel within Africa and I think that is a strongest message that I am taking home. Because today I realized that there are wonderful get away places where we have to go, here within us, right here is Ghana, close to me here is Rwanda, and I special want to recommend visa programme that Africans want to introduce, as the world is getting smaller the countries are getting even tiny. So therefore Africans must come together and act as a country, we must come with that unanimity of purpose to strengthen Africa’s cause.”
Ayade who commended the organizer of Akwaaba, Mr. Ikechi Uko for his consistency in organizing the yearly event noted Akwaaba has brought integration among African countries and has become a linking bridge among African countries. He said that Akwaaba has created an opportunity for people to recognize the value of African travel adding that it was time for Africans to come together and make sure that they tap into anything that can make and bring about strong African integration. “Akwaaba has been a part of history of the culture that I represent, I have known Ikechi Uko for almost 15, 20 years. If I recall in 2003 I won the Tourist Man of The Year, the most Travel Man of the year. Because I have been in tourism, I have invested in tourism and I do recognize the value of tourism. “I am today the governor of the number one tourist state of this country. Akwaaba has done great, Akwaaba has brought integration among African countries, Akwaaba is doing much more. Akwaaba has created an opportunity for us to recognize the value of African travel. Akwaaba therefore is that strong bridge that is beginning to sink into our consciousness that we must get through Africa to be able to get into any place else.
The governor called on participant to attend carnival Calabar schedule to take place next month in the state. He pointed out that the carnival is taking a new dimension stating that the carnival is a complete departure from what people are used to before. “We use this opportunity also to encourage all of you to come to Calabar. Calabar carnival is a complete departure from what you know. You have opportunity to experience the entire parade. We are bringing international flavor to the Calabar carnival this year.”