By: Solomon Asha
The 2019 Cross River Festival, Christened, “Carnival Calabar” lineup of activities which began with three dry runs will climax in the Carnival flow of the largest street party in Africa with broad participation from across Africa and the world on Saturday, December 28, 2019.
“Humanity” as a theme was carefully and specially chosen by His Excellency, the govermor, Senator Professor Benedict Ayade, to suit the current global mood and happenings beginning from our own homes, communities and dear state to Nigeria, Africa and then the world.
The theme was deliberately selected by Ayade to send a strong message to all as regards the pressing importance of all peoples’ all over the world to treat each other with care, love and respect, bearing in mind that we each individually and collectively are involved in “Humanity.
Humanity is simply a state of being human, humane , compassionate, sympathetic and of generous disposition; an action that affects the next person positively and not negatively, whether at the individual or group levels.
As people from all over the world came and are represented and participated in the carnival, Ayade clear message is that it is time humanity/mankind treat all with the milk of kindness, equality, Justice and fairness remembering that we are all from one source, God irrespective of our culture/tradition, language/dialect, religious and political affinity and soci-economic and financial status among other perceived superficial differences.
Governor Ayade’s intention for this year’s Carnival theme speaks lucidly to the world that it is time there should be greater peace, love and Understandings amongst the people and nations of the world beginning from the smallest hut/village to the largest city in the world, the strongest to the weakest and the richest to the poorest.
There is no doubt that the deepest desire of the Cross River State governor with the heart of gold is for all to be treated equally and fairly in all situations and circumstances, realizing that when you unjustly treat others or attempt to take from another man what does not belong to you, you are only stabbing your own soul because you and the rest of us are all part of humanity, all involved in mankind.
John Donne, an English Metaphysical poet, 5172-1631, penned, “No man is an Island entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main; if a cloud be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as well as any manor of thy friends or of thine own were; any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind. And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.”
John Donne position above depicts the mindset of governor Ayade when he reflected deeply on what is happening in the various little corners of our homes, our villages and communities, Local Governments, states, nations and the world, where the eternal virtues and morals of the Divine attribute and common origin of mankind from the same supreme Being, God is constantly being treated with disregard.
In the the carnival festival, the mighty, the rich participatel as well as the poor and the humble; humanity essence is therefore spoken in loud voice, though we may not all be believers in carnival, yet the message which the theme presented to all of us is a lesson that cannot be wished away.
Ayade’s”Humanity” theme is to preach the very important essence of peace in the world, love in the world, care in the world, understanding in the world, truth in the world Justice, fairness and equity in the world and most importantly the need for each person individually and collectively as a community or nation sharpen our consciences to the reality that we are all children of God , all involved in mankind, pushing our superficial differences in economic and other circumstances to obscurity by brinfinf the core to prominence; the purpose for which we were created, the purpose for which Jesus Christ came and the purpose for which we celebrate His birth at this period.
We are ernestly involved in Humanity when we consciously and willingly pushed aside our selfish and tendencies to do what is wrong and work for the good of others; we are walking the path of humanity and comradeship of mankind when by our words, actions and deeds, show that we are agents who extend unconditional love, care , help and consideration to all manner of persons irrespective of their standing in the society.
Ayade’s choice of the theme, “Humanity” in this year’s Carnival Calabar sent a vivid message to the world that as carnival is a melting point for participants of all class, every religion should uphold those divine virtues that promote the essence of mankind, appreciating differences of any kind, yet not diminishing the essence, objectivity and universality of humanity and common Parenthood of mankind.
We can show that we are part of humanity and affirmed Ayade’s philosophy by being a positive instrument in helping a blind man or woman to cross the street, by assisting an old woman to carry her fire wood, by contributing your few cups of rice, beans, tuber of yam etc. to help the poor and the afflicted.
At several occasions Ayade has shown that Spirit of humanity by extending a shoulder to the poor to lean on through humanitarian activities in cash, kind and gift items; as he recently distributed food items to communities after the NORTHFEST festival.
I am so sure that Sir Ben Ayade decision to remind mankid of the underlining principle of humanity through the 2019 carnival is his desire for people to live in peace with one another; his desire for people to stand by the truth in all situations even when that trurh hurt badly; the need to call a spade a spade, when there is a conflict between two persons, knowing that they all involved in mankind and part of humanity and to know that committing injustice against one is establishing same against all, including oneself.
As the carnival for this year grand finale come to a close with the biggest street party today Saturday, December 28, 2019, three days to 2020, the most important lesson that both direct participants and those who are not participating or did not took part should take home is what the theme, humanity stand for and reminded mankind.
We are all reminded that as we hopefully transit and leave behind 2019 and step majestically to 2020, we should all go home and be better husbansa and wives to our spouses, fathers’ and mothers to our children and better children to our parents and the society, better neighbors, leaders from the traditional level to political and other levels, to those we lead so that peace can be sustain in a world that is tilting dangerously to a precipice because of the volumes of injustice being deliberately committed by those who chooses to undermine the essence of humanity and the very God who created.
Can we do things differently in term of our relationship with others, wherher or not we speak the same dialect or language, whether or not we have the same colour of skin, whether or not we share the same cultural/traditional, religious and political affinity, whether or not we are rich or poor, beautiful or ugly, tall or short, and of the smallest insignificant minority in the midst of influential majority or not, among others.
This writer has no iota of doubt in his mind that this is the message that Ayade preaches to the nations of the world and then flowing down to individual nations/states, communities, neighbors and families.
Indeed, “No man is an Island,” every man’s discomfort should be our discomfort, every injustice committed against a person or a community by another, community or group of communities should be seen as an Injustice against us, mankind and Humanity; every empty stomach is our own empty stomach, etc.
God bless and help us individually and humanity to do what is right at all times and in all places and in all circumstances.
Indeed, for here in lies the Philosophical Underpin of Ayade’s choice of “Humanity” as the theme of 2019 Carnival Calabar, as I equally wish all the participants well and God’s protection back to their different countries, states and homes.