The United States of America has becomes 241 years old. As customary for the United States Mission in Nigeria, the world’s most powerful nation and largest economy, invited prominent Nigerians to celebrate with country at the residence of the United States Consular General in Ikoyi. The event this year as usual turned out to be a gatherings of eminent Nigerians, including royal fathers, government functionaries, politicians, captains of industries and members of the diplomatic corp. Also in attendance were musicians, Nollywood stars and other entertainers and celebrities.
The Ambassador of the United States in Nigeria, Mr W. Stuart Symington in a powerful speech spoke about how the United States has grown from strength to strength in the past 241 years, passing through a lot of challenges on the way. He saluted the resilience of Nigerians and its strength in diversity. He spoke about his positive impression of Nigeria and Nigerians as he travelled from one corner of the country to another and urged Nigerians to continue find unity and cohesion and surmount all the challenges. He says several Nigerian Americans have helped to uplift the United States. He was introduced by the Consul General of the United States in Nigeria, Mr John Bray who was marking his second American independence anniversary in Nigeria.
Nigeria’s ambassador to Spain, Ms Vivian Okeke, a career diplomat who used to work at the Nigerian Embassy in the United States represented the Nigerian Foreign Affairs Minister, Dr. Geoffrey Onyema, who was unavoidably absent. She read the speech of the minister on behalf of the Nigerian government. In the speech, the minister congratulated the United of American on the celebration. He also appreciated the country as a force for good around the world and thanked the United States for support of Nigeria in various endeavours, including strengthening of democracy and security. He said the relationship between the two countries is as strong as ever.
Royal fathers who witnessed the event included the Oba of Lagos, Oba Rilwan Akiotu and the Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Dr Lamidi Adeyemi III. There representatives from the Oba of Benin and other traditional rulers across the country. Also at the event was former head of the national Interim Government, Chief Ernest Shonekan and former Secretary General of the Commonwealth, Dr Emeka Anyaoku. There were also former Minister for Defence, Gen. Thoephilus Danjuma and his wife, Senator Daisy Danjuma. There were also former governors of Delta State, Dr Emmanuel Uduaghan, Cross River State, Senator Liyel Imoke and Ondo State, Dr Olusegun Mimiko, as well as former Senate President, Sen. Adolphus Wabara. The former Governor of Cross River State, Donald Duke and his wife, Onari also attended, just like the former Governor of Anambra State, Mr Peter Obi and former Nigerian Ambassador to Ghana and federal minister. Sen. Musuliu Obanikoro
The former Governor of Central Bank – turned politician, Prof. Chukwuma Soludo was also there. There were captains of industries, including the Chairman of the Association of Lincenced Telephone Operators of Nigeria, Engr Gbanga Adebayo and leading fashion designer, Zizi Cardow. There were also Nollywood stars and musicians, including, Kate Henshaw, Paul Obazele and Kenny Saint Brown. The dignitaries were indeed too numerous to mention. A life band performed at the event, well into the night.