By Cecilia Ologunagba
The Consul General of Nigeria in New York, Amb. Lot Egopija and the Permanent Representative of Nigeria to the UN, Prof. Tijjani Bande, have commended the patriotic zeal and commitment of Nigerians in the US.
The North American Correspondent of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Egopija and Bande gave the commendation at a dinner to commemorate the 61st independence anniversary of Nigeria in New York.
The envoys particularly paid glowing tributes to those who started the annual Nigeria Independence Day Parade and Carnival about three decades ago and for using the event as a rallying point for Nigerians in the US.
Nigerians from all walks of live usually set New York aglow as thousands throng the streets for Nigeria’s independence day parade and carnival.
The annual parade and carnival started three decades ago by the Organisation for the Advancement of Nigerians (OAN) as part of efforts to challenge negative stereotypes about Nigeria and Nigerians in the US.
Described as the largest gathering of Nigerians outside the shores of their homeland, the event is usually attended by Nigerians from all walks of life, particularly the youth.
The 2021 edition of the event only featured carnival and it held on Saturday in New York. The parade component did not hold because of COVID-19 concerns.
“Nigerians in the US keep flying our flag high as our nationals excel in their various endeavours,” Egopija said.
“It is in the recognition of this that the Consulate is happy to join the organisers of the Nigeria Independence Day Parade and Carnival to host this dinner,“ he said.
The envoy urged the nationals to “let your charitable works continue until the country of our dreams is actualised”.
“Consulate will continue to collaborate with everyone and every group seeking to showcase Nigeria to the world,’’ he said.
In his remarks, Bande commended the organisers of the annual parade, saying it has become an important platform to remind Nigerians about their values and their contributions to the homeland.
He said New York had been the centre of the world on account of its diversity, noting the mutual partnership between Nigeria and the U.S.
“There will be no vibrancy of New York without Nigeria and Nigeria itself as represented by us all here should not be hidden and the occasion of the independence parade is just one of such occasions,’’ he said.
“There are several ways in which this is done. It is done quietly in U.S. hospitals where Nigerian doctors and nurses, pharmacists and other professionals give excellent services.
“This is representing Nigeria in different excellent ways.
“It is done in the classrooms where Nigerians teachers from primary to university levels in any institution of importance in this country will remind others that Nigeria has something to give.
“It is also done where young and old Americans dance to the rhythms of Nigerian artistes. It is also done in the television stations where Nollywood has conquered the world.
“Need I go on and on in boxing, in football and in everything else, the Nigerian ambassador to the UN said.
Also speaking, the Chairman, Nigeria Independence Day Committee, Mr Yinka Dan Salami, said the goal of the committee was to put one million Nigerians on the streets for the carnival.
Dan Salami called for partnerships by corporate organisations through sponsoring artistes and cultural troupes from Nigeria to sustain the annual event.
Eminent Nigerians who were at the dinner included the country’s Ambassador to Netherlands, Dr Eniola Ajayi. (NAN)