The Akwa Ibom State Government has rolled out plans for this year’s Christmas celebration in the State. This was made known by the Hon. Commissioner for Culture and Tourism, Hon. Orman Esin during the “Unveiling of Ibom Christmas Celebration 2020” held in Uyo the State Capital recently.
According to the Culture and Tourism Commissioner, the Akwa Ibom 2020 Christmas celebration will officially be kicked off on Tuesday December 1, 2020 with the opening of Christmas village at Unity Park along Udo Udoma Avenue in Uyo the State Capital. The Christmas village shall run till Friday January 1, 2021. This year’s Christmas village according to Hon. Esin is designed in compliance with issues of the moment such as the Covid-19 pandemic. To this end, government intends to make use of the entire 11 hectares of land in the Unity park as against 4.5 hectares used last year. This is to ensure that kiosks are spaced appropriately in compliance with social distancing. Also, Government has instructed that face masks be worn compulsorily by everyone in the Christmas village as sanitizers and items for washing of hands will be placed at strategic locations in the park while good hygiene will be observed at all times.
In the light of these and in order to avoid congestion, this year’s Christmas village will have three stages unlike last year’s own where a single stage was mounted. This is to avoid clustering as the stages will be evenly spread across the park and labelled according to each senatorial district. Performances will also be toned down this year as the Christmas village will have fewer performances and more of music to enable guests enjoy the ambience as according to him, performances will create an avenue for people to cluster.
Furthermore, the Hon. Commissioner for Culture and Tourism, Hon. Orman Esin also hinted that interested vendors can pick up forms for the allocation of kiosks from Saturday 14th November 2020 at the unity park grounds as designated officials of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism will be on ground to attend to them. He explained that payment for kiosks is one-off and will cover kiosk construction, painting, power supply, security, water supply, waste management, etc and assures members of the public of a transparent process. To that regard an official channel of communication has been created by the ministry and dedicated phone lines with which members of the public can make enquiries will be released soon.
He called on business men and women operating in the state to take advantage of the Christmas village as if offers a great opportunity for commerce and trade apart from entertainment and hospitality. To buttress the commercial prospects of the Christmas village, Hon. Esin explained that the 2019 Christmas village created employment for about 2,450 people and hosted over 1.6 million people for a period of 31 days. He emphasised that the event is open to partnership by public spirited individuals and private sector organisations and commended Ibom Icon Hotels and Golf Resort for partnering with the state government in terms of sponsorship, resulting in the allocation of stand 001 to Icon group after fulfilling necessary requirements.
The event was attended by the Hon. Commissioner for Information & Strategy, Com. Ini Ememobong in a representative capacity, Heads of Directorates in the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, and the MD of Icon Group, Mr. Adetope Kayode. Others were the State NUJ Chairman, Mr. Amos Etuk who led journalists to the event, Secretary of Akwa Ibom Hotels Monitoring Team, Mr. Anthony Isonguyo, SA to the Governor on Talent Hunt, Mr. Emmanuel Owuala who also represented the SA on Entertainment, Mr. David Sergent, and an SA on Media to the Governor, Mr. Aniekeme Finbarr.
The Hon. Commissioner for Culture and Tourism, Hon. Orman Esin assures Akwa Ibom residents of a hitch free Christmas celebration and subsequently invites them to have fun at the Christmas village.