By Prudence Arobani
The 2017 Nigerian Independence Day parade in the USA would attract no fewer than 150,000 participants, the largest African parade in the U.S.
The annual event holds every October in New York since 1991 and is also the largest gathering of Nigerians outside of their homeland.
The organising committee of the parade, on the platform of The Organisation for the Advancement of Nigeria (OAN) in the U.S, met on Saturday evening at the Nigeria House, New York to deliberate on the final preparations for the event.
Mr Olayinka Dansalami, who chaired the committee, said the parade has the intentions of not only attracting Nigerians but people of all races and nationalities.
Dansalami also said the parade seeks to among other things, broaden the impact of Nigerians within the U.S. and highlight Nigerian culture with people from all backgrounds and ethnicities.
The Acting Consul General of Nigeria, Mr Nicholas Ella, who hosted the organising committee’s meeting, commended the Nigerians in the U.S. for doing Nigeria proud.
“There can’t be any better ambassadors of Nigeria here in the United States that you – Nigerian community.
“You are the domiciled ambassadors of Nigeria in the United States; all other ambassadors posted here officially are just temporary.
“We are very proud of all you have been doing to raise the Nigerian flag high. Nigerians in the United States are contributing their best to their host country and also back home.
“Whatever you are doing to promote the image of Nigeria, we will give you the support; thank God that we are out of recession,” Ella said.
He commended the Nigerian youth for their participation in the activities to advance the causes of Nigeria.
According to the committee, this year’s parade will feature the ‘Mr and Miss Nigeria Independence Pageant’.
There would also be the Cultural Night to showcase the talent, art and refinement of Nigeria.
The Cultural Night panel was established in 2005 by the young adults within the Nigerian community, a group of dynamic youth dedicated to showing the rectitude of Nigeria and Nigerians.
Activities such as beauty pageants, singing and dancing are performed at such events to attract outsiders and promote Nigerian youth network and to foster unity.
The committee, however, expressed regrets what it termed lack of sponsors for the event this year, particularly, as Arik, one of its biggest sponsors, is insolvent.
It also lamented what it termed the outrageous charges by Nigerian artistes, saying their charges have become unrealistic and urged them to be patriotic in their participation at the parade.
The committee, however, pledged to do everything possible to ensure that the event lived up to the standard it had maintained over the years. (NAN)