Nigerian Independence Day pride shining through

Olayemi Odesanya | 10/10/2019, 12:57 p.m.
Manhattan’s Second Avenue was transformed into a sea of green and white as The Organization for the Advancement of Nigerians ...
Nigerian Independence Day celebrated in New York Bill Moore photo

Manhattan’s Second Avenue was transformed into a sea of green and white as The Organization for the Advancement of Nigerians Inc. hosted the 59th Nigeria’s Independence Day on Saturday Oct. 5.

With 36 states to pull from, Nigeria’s vibrant culture was on display. Nurses to churches, to law enforcement and cultural artists, and organizations were on display.

The weekend celebration began with the youth-focused Nigerian Cultural Night on Oct. 4 at the Jamaica Performing Arts Center in Queens. After the 28th annual NYC Nigerian Independence Day Parade Jimmy’s on 38th Street was the spot where people went to continue the party.

The parade and show took over the East side of Manhattan the next day. Dancing, chants, traditional music, hip hop and Afrobeat were the sounds. Close to Nigerian House on East 44th Street, there were also protestors demanding to be heard on issues like the continued detainment of Nigerian/New Jersey resident, the activist Omoyele Sowore; and a group of Biafrans demanding to be recognized. Dignitaries and elders danced alongside young people and popular stars such as Teni moved the crowd.

Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer heaped praise on Nigerians and their contribution to New York City.

As usual, vendors came through with delish food, a wonderful assortment of clothes, bags, music travel and health options, and even more food.

Led by Nigerians in law enforcement and many green and white dressed elders, the parade started at Second Avenue and East 54th Street and proceeded down to a staging area where hundreds of young people gathered to enjoy the entertainment. The annual three-day event celebration was held for the recognition of the 59th anniversary of Nigeria claiming independence from Great Britain on Oct. 1, 1960.

In 1989, a group of Nigerians founded the Organization for the Advancement of Nigerians Inc., to encourage unity and pride for their culture and accomplishments. For 30 years, people have traveled from all over the country and from Nigeria to attend the parade in New York.

For more information, visit www.oanweb.org.