All is set for the 2014 edition of the annual Akwa Ibom State Government Carol Night, slated to hold on Saturday, December 20, at the new Ibom International Stadium in Uyo.
In a release, announcing the programme elements of the 2014 edition of the event, the Commissioner for Information and Communication, Mr. Aniekan Umanah emphasized that “the 9,999 Carol Night, apart from been a record-breaking gathering of Carol Singers, has become a major source of spiritual tourism that attracts pilgrims from around the world.” The event, according to him, “gives the Christian community and general public a compelling need to be in the city of Uyo to celebrate Christmas and honour the birth of Jesus Christ.”
He explained that the event, which is the creation of the Akpabio administration, and coordinated by the Akwa Ibom State Directorate of Protocols, was inspired by the Governor’s desire to gather people from every Church organization, hamlet and village from across the State to share in the joy of Christmas by singing praises to the Almighty God.
According to him, since its inception in 2008, “the Akwa Ibom State Christmas Carol Night has enjoyed the benevolence, involvement, support and passion of Governor Akpabio, and has also served as avenue for the promotion of spiritual growth, peaceful co-existence among ethnic, religious and cultural groups in the State, in an evening of praise, worship, love and unity”.
Mr. Umanah added that apart from boosting the tourism potentials of Akwa Ibom, the Carol Night, which has maintained its unique theme and tradition, has evolved with new ideas and concepts on yearly basis. The tourism potential of the carol, he noted “has been enhanced by a rapidly growing international reputation and acceptance of the State.”
With a blend of unique vocal and digital rendition of medley and lyrics as well as a repertoire of colorful visual decoration, dance, costumes and lighting, the Commissioner said “the ambiance in and around the event venue often engender bliss and spiritual awakening.”
A unique feature added to this year’s 9,999 Carol Night, according to Mr. Umanah, is “special performance by Quartets from each of the choirs from different countries who have performed at each of the six previous editions of the Carol Night.” The quartets, he said, “will come from the Soweto Spiritual Singers of South Africa; the Chorale Devine de Merveilles from the Republic of Congo; the National Choir of the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis; the Winneba International Youth Choir from Ghana and the Abuja Metropolitan Music Society (AMEMUSO). Equally expected to perform at the event are, the Voices of Jamaica Choir and the Harmonious Chorale from Ghana.
Mr. Umanah who said this year’s edition which will feature the Catholic Bishop, Cardinal John Onaiyekan as the officiating Minister, will equally have internationally renowned gospel artistes such as Don Moen, Panam Percy Paul, Nathaniel Bassey, as well as Aity Dennis, El-Mafrex, Freke Umoh Linda Etukudoh, Buchi, Mosaic and Patience Esekhile, ministering in songs.
The State information boss, while adding that the AKSG Choir, Ibom Orchestra, Unity Brass Band, Bonos Ikwue and Angela Christie -renowned American Gospel Music Saxophonist will be part of the event, maintained that, with the Christmas Carol Night, Governor Akpabio has created a compelling spotlight on the City of Uyo while celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ and complementing the Uncommon Transformation programme of the State Government.
Commending the Permanent Secretary, Protocol, Mr. Aniekpeno Mkanang, and members of his team for a robust and hitch-free preparations for the event, the Commissioner said this year’s edition will be live on major networks like the DSTV 199, African Magic, NTA, AIT, TBN, Channels, STV, CTV and AKBC, and implored those who have planned to be physically present at the Carol Night, especially first timers, to find time to visit other places of interest in Akwa Ibom, as, according to him, destination Akwa Ibom story has become a reality.
Considering the enormous resources which the administration Governor Godswill Akpabio has committed to the development of landmark infrastructure the Commissioner stressed that a visit to the Ibom E-library and Ibom Tropicana for example, will instantly convince visitors as to why Akwa Ibom has become the new destination in Nigeria.
It could be recalled that on December 26, 2008, Akwa Ibom State Christmas Carol Night, with 9,300 carol singers drawn from the 31 Local Government Areas of the State, set a new Guinness World Record of the largest Assembly of Carol singers. The 2011 edition saw the number of choristers increased to 9,999.
Previous editions of the Akwa Ibom State Carol Night have hosted international Christian leaders, including the Catholic Archbishop of Calabar, Archbishop Joseph Ekuwem; Archbishop Rt. Rev. Christian Ekong of the Lutheran Church; the General Overseer of Deeper Life Bible Church, Pastor William Kumuyi; that of the Redeemed Christian Church of God, Pastor Enoch Adeboye; and the Presiding Bishop of the Living Faith Church, Dr David Oyedepo.