The Cross River State Commissioner for Culture and Tourism Development, Mr. Eric Anderson has described the Okpambe Fishing and Cultural Festival (OCAFFEST), of the Nkum Okpambe Community in Obubra Local Government Area of the State, as having great potentials and a good tourism product which can contribute to the further development of culture and tourism in the State.
Mr. Anderson stated this during the grand finale of the 2021 OCAFFEST in Nkum Okpame, noting that the event could not hold last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Commissioner pointed out that “with OCAFFEST, Cross River State has added another feather to her culture and tourism hat, and as such the tourism-friendly Governor Ben Ayade led administration will focus on harnessing the potentials of the fishing festival and drive it as a State event to make it bigger, bolder and better.
“Going by what has been witnessed here, I will take words back to my boss, Governor Ben Ayade. Indeed, he needs to come and experience first hand, the warmth of the Yala-Obubra hospitality”. Mr. Anderson quipped.
The Commissioner commended the Coordinator of OCAFFEST and Chief Executive Officer of Coneri Magazine, Mr. Eriacy Confidence Oba for the vision and the good people of Obubra for committing to the vision.
Also speaking, the Chairman, Obubra Local Government Area, Dr. Bassey Agara Tom, while appreciating the Commissioner and Staff of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism Development, for gracing the Okpambe Fishing and Cultural Festival, pledged the Local Government Council’s collaboration with the Ministry and Coneri Magazine in ensuring that OCAFFEST as a cultural and tourism brand gains prominence as a State event.
Highlighting some of the challenges the host communities are faced with, Dr. Tom said “Obubra is blessed with beautiful sites and a rich cultural heritage, especially Yala- Obubra, emphasizing that accessibility is a major concern. “I have taken it upon myself to fix the bridge that has isolated the Community from the rest of the world. Even if I do not do anything else for Yala-Obubra, I must work on that bridge”. Dr. Agara explained.
In his address, the Coordinator of OCAFFEST and CEO of Coneri Magazine, Mr. Eriacy Confidence Oba, while thanking the Commissioner and his entourage for defying the odds posed by the deplorable state of the road to honour invitation to witness the 2021 edition, said the 2021 edition is a prototype for the 2022 edition as they hope to make the festival an unforgettable experience next year.
According to Mr. Oba, “The festival is as old as the Community itself, as the event dates back to the early 16th century.
The Okpambe fishing festival is an annual one week festivity observed in the first quarter of every year between the months ofJanuary and April. Each of the lakes has the capacity to accommodate a crowd of 10,000 to 20,000 participants”.
He added that besides these lakes there are other tourism sites like the “WONDER SLAB OF STONE” otherwise known as “LECHOR OLIKPILIKPO” in Yala language, the presence of ancient monoliths spread across the villages of Okpambe town, mainly located in Omindom, Ukpochi and Ogana ancestral playgrounds, beautiful sand beaches, waterfalls, a mysterious secret bush, a beautiful traditional palace and others.
©Achiane Adams, CRS-MOI Officer reporting from Min. of Culture and Tourism Development