Cross River State Governor, Senator Liyel Imoke, has commended MTN Nigeria for being in the vanguard of preserving and uplifting the country¿s cultural heritage. He expressed the appreciation to MTN during the grand finale of this year¿s edition of the annual Leboku Festival which took place at the Yakuur Peace Stadium, Ugep in Cross River State on Tuesday, August 17, 2010. Imoke noted that by identifying with the culture of Nigerians and committing huge financial and material resources to ensure that the country¿s cultural heritage remains relevant internationally, MTN has demonstrated that it is indeed a good corporate citizen. "I must commend MTN Nigeria for its continued support for this event for three years consecutively. As a government, we see Leboku as a flagship cultural tourism brand that must be projected to the nation and the world to add to the rich cultural heritage which Cross River State is famed for. So, MTN¿s partnership is a partnership that we greatly appreciate and are keen to sustain," Imoke said. The Acting Managing Director of Cross River State Tourism Bureau, Mrs Elenda Osima-Dokubo, also commended MTN for taking Leboku festival to where it is today. She said the company has added colour to Leboku Festival through its sponsorship and involvement. Kola Oyeyemi, General Manager (Consumer Marketing), represented by Mr Daniel Nwankwo, Regional Marketing Manager, South East, MTN Nigeria, MTN Nigeria, said MTN sponsors and gets involved in cultural festivals across the country through its Kulturefest initiative because it is committed to enhancing the passion points of Nigerians. "Nigerians have been discovered to be passionate about their culture. MTN as a caring brand that enriches the lives of Nigerians has taken it upon itself to enhance and develop day by day, every outstanding Nigerian culture through a well-conceived platform called Kulturefest," Nwankwo explained. He further pledged the company¿s continued support for initiatives aimed at projecting the country¿s cultural heritage to the world.
The glamorous grand finale marked the end of the three-week long festival. It featured parade of traditional chiefs, libation (traditional supplication) by the traditional prime minister of Yakuur land, dance troupes, parade of Leboku maidens dressed in colourful attires, finals of traditional wrestling and prize presentation. This year¿s edition of Leboku Festival also featured exhibition of sculptural pieces by a solo exhibitor, Sculptor Enang Egele who displayed his beautiful works to the delight of tourists. The winners of the different contests went home with mouth-watering prizes. Kodeye Diana Okoi, a 19-year-old student of Industrial Chemistry at Madonna University who won 2010 Miss Leboku Pageant, was presented with a new Hyundai Accent. The first runner up, Mercy Uket, got salon kits (generating set, drier, washer, mirror and rollers), while the second runner up, Cynthia Omini was given deep freezer. Similarly, Olu Arikpo Mbe, a student of University of Calabar who was crowned Mr Leboku 2010, was presented with a new Hyundai Accent. The first runner up, Wilfred Alex had male salon kits (generating set, clippers and mirror) while the second runner up, Sylvester Ariko, got a motorcycle. Mrs Nakon Eteng, the Best Yam Harvester, was presented with new Hyundai truck, while Hussein Alfred who came second got a complete cassava processing machine.
MTN Nigeria is at the forefront of projecting the country¿s rich cultural heritage by sponsoring and being involved in major festivals in the country. The company sponsors key festivals such as Ofala Nnewi, Anioma, Osun Osogbo and Argungu among other festivals across the country. Through MTN¿s involvement in the last three years, Leboku Festival has attained an international status as tourists around the world throng Yakurr land to celebrate the festival.