The popular annual Leboku International New Yam Festival will still be held except the main celebration which usually holds at the Ugep Township Stadium because it will be nearly impossible to control crowd, maintain social distance and follow other prescribed NCDC Covid-19 safety guidelines, this is according to the Cross River State Government.
Mr. Kenn Aklah, Senior Special Adviser, Governor’s Office, and Event Management, held that the Governor, Sen. Ben Ayade had given the nod for the festival to hold and that all prizes will be awarded including the best harvester, the Mr. and Miss Leboku, and other consolation prizes will still be awarded but that the main event cannot hold this year.
Kenn held that for Queen and King of Leboku, entrance into the venue will be restricted, social distance will be enforced, and the no face-mask, no movement will be applied.
Reiterating the government’s decision at a press conference held at the Obol Lopon Palace, Ugep, Mr. Thomas Ikpeme, Senior Special Assistant, Governor’s Office, Events Production and Tourism, held that the government is still ‘100%’ behind the Leboku festival and the festivities to ensure its success and to encourage the farmers to do more in feeding the state when the pandemic is over.
On his, the Yakurr Council Chairman, Mr. Ofem Lebras said the council is ready for the celebration and has put in place safety guidelines for hotels and has begun sensitization of the community on safety protocols, use of face mask and hand sanitizers.
Speaking, the Obol Lopon of Ugep, HRM Obol Ofem Ubana Eteng Usukali held that the news of government approval for the go-ahead of the festivities is good news to him. The Obol said that there has never been a time when the festivals were postponed or canceled since it started and he is grateful that it won’t be happening on his reign.
The Obol added that the palace and the community will go about the other approved celebrations following the NCDC guideline and that face masks, hand sanitizers, and washing hand water will be provided at strategic locations for use.