Mixed reactions trail low turnout at 2020 Calabar Christmas Village event

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By Benson Ezugwu

Calabar, Dec. 29, 2020  Traders and some Calabar-based fun seekers have expressed mixed reactions over the lack of excitement at this year’s event at the Calabar Christmas Village.

A cross-section of the fun seekers and traders expressed their feelings in separate interviews with newsmen on Tuesday in Calabar.

Mrs Maria Okon, a restaurant operator, said that she had not made any significant sales since the beginning of the 2020 event, compared to last year’s edition.

Okon said that the event was devoid of the usual hustling and bustling and also witnessed low patronage.

“I have attended the Christmas village events in the past three years, but I have never witnessed this kind of poor attendance.

“I come here in the day to prepare food and wait for customers; sometimes, at the end of the day, I can’t make reasonable sales,” Okon said.

A pub operator, Mr Ezekiel Okafor, said that he regretted being part of this year’s Calabar Christmas village event.

“My brother, this year’s event is nothing to write home about. I mean nothing reasonable was achieved until between Dec. 24 and Dec. 26, when activities at the village received a little boost.

“That was all; in fact, I regret participating in this year’s event. It is a waste of energy and capital,” Okafor said.

A dealer in garments, Mr Uche Ibezim, said he felt bad for attending the show.

“I came from Aba and this is my fifth appearance; but this year’s event is my worst. I didn’t know that there would not be Calabar Carnival.

“It was when I noticed the scanty attendance and the general mood of the people in Calabar, especially the fun seekers, that I asked questions and I was told there was no carnival.

“In fact, as I speak, I have started packing my goods, ready to return to Aba,” he said.

In the same vein, a resident, Mr Effiong Udoh, attributed the lack of excitement at the event to the postponement of this year’s Calabar carnival.

“It is not only the Christmas village but the whole of Calabar was a dead zone.

“It was not unexpected; in recent years, Christmas in Nigeria has always been synonymous with Calabar and the Calabar Carnival.

“It is a period when every Nigerian plans to come and spend a little time in the city, to cool off. But this year, for so many reasons, the government decided to put it off,” he said.

NAN reports that a lot of activities that usually bring excitement in Calabar during the Yuletide were put off by the organisers.

The period of the carnival, holding from Dec. 1 to Jan.1, has been lacking in the usual presence of tourists.

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