The Organization for the Advancement of Nigerians Inc. will be hosting a three-day event in celebration of the 57th anniversary of Nigeria’s Independence Day. On Oct. 1, 1960, Nigeria claimed independence from Great Britain after being exploited for decades. The country was then declared a republic in 1963. Oct. 1 became a national holiday for the country shortly after and is one of the most commemorated holidays for Nigerians.
In 1989, a group of Nigerians founded the Organization for the Advancement of Nigerians Inc. The founders of this coalition wanted to encouraged unity and pride for their culture and accomplishments. For almost 30 years, people have traveled from different parts of America to attend the parade and celebrate the holiday. Some of the biggest names in Afrobeat, reggae and soca perform at the parade and the after parties.
“I enjoy going every year,” said sophomore college student Ayobami Bakare. “The vibe, the food and the energy is so heartwarming. To see your people with so much pride in their culture with their attire and spirit, I wouldn’t want to miss it for the world!”
Along with hosting one of the biggest celebrations of the holiday in New York City, the organization also focuses on religion, business and civic groups committed to preserving Nigerian pride and culture.
The three-day celebration will begin with a huge event Friday, Oct. 6, starting at 7 p.m. and continuing to midnight. The annual family friendly cultural night will take place at the Jamaica Performing Arts Center in Queens. Attendees can expect fun activities, traditional foods and music by their favorite Afrobeat artists. It is recommended that attendees wear traditional clothing.
Starting at 11 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 7, the 26th annual NYC Nigerian Independence Day Parade will step off at Second Avenue and East 54th Street and end at the Nigerian House on East 44th Street. Published reports state that at least 150,000 people are expected to attend. After the parade, there will the festival at the Dag Hammarskjold Plaza near the United Nations Headquarters. And last, the New York African Restaurant Week Festival will take place in Industry City from 12:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. More than 25 restaurants and apparel and art vendors will participate in the festival. Attendees should expect a DJ performance, a day party and much more.
For tickets and more information about the 2017 Nigerian Independence Day events, please go to oanweb.org.