By Cecilia Ologunagba
New York, Oct 22, 2022
The Consul General of Nigeria in New York, USA, Amb. Lot Egopija, has pledged to renew sister city relations, which existed between some cities in Nigeria and the city of Newark, New Jersey, U.S.
A sister city or a twin town relationship is a form of legal or social agreement between two geographically and politically distinct localities for the purpose of promoting cultural and commercial ties.
Egopija made the pledge at a recent flag-raising ceremony, with the theme, “Hurdling to glory’’ at Newark, New Jersey, organised by the Nigerians in Diaspora Organisation (NIDO) New Jersey Chapter.
The event was put together to commemorate Nigeria’s 62nd Independence Day anniversary.
The envoy thanked the Mayor of Newark City, Ras Baraka, for supporting NIDO New Jersey to host the annual event, noting that Nigeria would love to revive socio-cultural and economic relations between some of its cities and the City of Newark.
“It’s good for us to move one more step further. I got to understand that there have been sister city relations between some cities in Nigeria and Newark.
“We have agreed that we’re going to revive such relationships and see how we can take one or two aboard,’’ he said.
Egopija commended Nigerians in the city, assuring that their efforts would not be in vain.
“You have always worked to improve this city and as such it’s time for us to work together to also remember where you are coming from, and we will support you in this regard.
“It’s 62 years since independence of Nigeria and we continue to hurdle on to glory with you, doing what you are doing, and excelling in your given vocations.
“We are marching towards that glory,’’ he said.
The envoy also encouraged Nigerians in New York and New Jersey to give their utmost in whatever vocation they are engaged in saying, “we are proud of you.’’
Egopija said the Consulate would continue to support their efforts to give their utmost to their host city.
In his speech, Mayor Ras Baraka of Newark City, said the Council had always honoured people of African and Caribbean descent.
Baraka called for the teaching of history as a subject in African schools so that citizens would understand the contribution of heroes who fought for independence in Nigeria and other African countries.
He said the subject should be taught even in African schools in the U.S.
“If you go to a progressive school, they may teach you a little bit about the ancient kingdoms of Mali, Benin, and Ife but they stop there.
“The teaching is always limited as it doesn’t really capture the history of the people’s independence, which is why it is important for everyone.
“Most Nigerian kids in the United States don’t know about Nnamdi Azikiwe, Wole Soyinka or Chinua Achebe and the likes of Nigerians who contributed to the independence struggle.
“So, it’s a pleasure to be here, raising the Nigerian flag and after today, we can prayerful begin to turn this cultural event to educate our younger folks,’’ he said.
Also speaking, President of NIDO New Jersey chapter, Dr Adeola Popoola said a flag is significant and unique to every country and a group of people.
Poopola said diaspora Nigerians in New Jersey had kept tradition of honoring the flag for more than 24 years at city of Newark.
“The city of Newark is an historic city in America. It has uniquely showed love and respect for Nigeria and Nigerians living in the city.
“The city has appointed Nigerians to positions from Deputy Mayor to Justices of their courts – Supreme Court and Court of Appeal and so many professionals in Nigeria thrive in the city of Newark.”
According to him, there are at least 5,000 Nigerian young people, particularly students in Newark city alone, stressing that “we are connecting them with their country and that is why we try every year to raise the Nigeria flag on the pole of Newark city. The city hall is an historic building.
“We believe that this tradition should continue, and that Nigerians should participate and pass it on to our children, grandchildren and generations to come.’’
NAN reports that the President of the Newark City Council, Ms. LaMonica McIver presented the proclamation of the celebration of Nigeria’s 62nd Independence to the Consul General of Nigeria in New York, Amb. Lot Egopija at the event.