By Cecilia Ologunagba
New York, Sept. 30, 2023
The Consul General of Nigeria in New York, Amb. Lot Egopija, has urged Nigerians living in the U.S. to be hopeful about the future of the country and its leadership.
Egopija made the call in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in New York as Nigerians at home and abroad commemorate the 63rd Independence Anniversary of the country.
The theme of the anniversary is “Nigeria@63, Renewed Hope for Unity and Prosperity.
“My message to Nigerians is, we should be hopeful and we should hold on to our belief that we will all arrive at our destination.
“As the president has admonished us, let us ensure that even as the government renews our hope through its policies, we will also do everything to follow and ensure that we attain our desired goals,’’ he said.
The envoy said hope is alive and hope is being renewed, according to the president’s “Renewed Hope Agenda”.
Egopija, however, urged diasporans to follow the polices of the government and also contribute their quota to the “Renewed Hope Agenda” of President Bola Tinubu’s administration.
He told NAN that the Consulate General of Nigeria in New York had outlined some events to mark the anniversary, urging nationals within its jurisdiction to attend the events.
The events are the Flag Raising, which will be held on Monday, Oct. 2, and Independence Anniversary Parade and Festival, which will be held on Saturday, Oct. 7.
The Consulate will hold the events in collaboration with the Nigeria Independence Day Committee (NIDC) and the Organisation for the Advancement of Nigerians (OAN).
“Judging from the mood of the nation, after the successful visit of Mr. President to the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), we will be having celebrations to commemorate our independence anniversary.
“It is significant because this year, for the first time, Nigeria’s flag will be hoisted at the Bowling Green Arena.
“This is possible because of Mayor Eric Adams’ friendly disposition to the Consular Corps. He has given the Consular Corps all the supports so we have indicated interest that we want our national flag to be raised at the Bowling Arena,’’ he said.
Egopija recalled that flag raising events were done outside New York before now.
“If you recall before now, we do have our flag raising in other cities but not in New York. Nigeria’s flag will be hoisted at Bowling Green, incidentally, it is the site where the American National Flag was first hoisted.
”So, we are doing everything to ensure that Nigerians will participate. We have invited a couple of Nigerians who have excelled in their various positions.
“We’ve also invited Nigerian diaspora organisations within the New York jurisdiction to come and witness the event. The Mayor himself will be there as a special guest and together, we will we hoist the Nigerian flag,” he assured.
In addition, Egopija said the Consulate would host a dinner on Monday, Oct. 2, in collaboration with OAN after the flag raising event.
“Unfortunately, we had earlier invited MohBad, who recently passed on, to perform as the special artist at the festival. Having lost him, we will honour him with the event.
“Also, many cultural groups will perform. Nigerians and Nigerian associations in America who want to showcase their culture and promote tourism through their respective ethnic groups are welcomed.
“Mayor Eric Adams has also agreed to participate with us to ensure the success of the festival and the parade.
“The parade will start at 2nd avenue and East 54th street and will proceed to East 44th and end at Dag Hammarskjold Park where the festival will be held,” he said.
The Envoy, however, urged every Nigerian to come for the celebrations, saying, “it is only in our celebration of Nigeria that we can come together and it is in togetherness that we can overcome our challenges,” he stressed.