Picture Lagos traffic in New York City! Right near world famous Times Square, Nigerians from all over came to celebrate Nigeria’s 51st independence at the annual day parade and painted the “Big Apple” green. Hundreds from just about everywhere came; Nigerians from Houston, Maryland, Connecticut, D.C., and New Jersey were there alongside other Africans like Ghanaians and Sierra Leoneans who proudly held green white green flags. Also in attendance was very good friend of Jaguda, the toutish Mr. Foxy P himself, and Jaguda’s very own, the always lovely Oyato.
Several floats moved along 10 blocks, each packed with dozens of dancing and flag waving people accompanied with the hottest Naija tunes. The most repeated tunes of the day were “Oliver Twist” by D’banj and almost every song off of Wiz Kid’s Superstar album. The song “Baby Okwu” by Flavour unfortunately was not played but nonetheless the music had everyone dancing from the signature Naija two step to serious gyration.
At the conclusion of the parade the festival began. It is where your favorite food is served, music, movies, lace, ankara and weaves- yes weaves were being sold! Oyinbo people also joined in on some serious faaji. They came wearing green shirts and Super Eagle jerseys while watching the scenes eating suya, fried plantain, meat, jollof rice and more. It could have not been a festival without promotions of all sorts. Flyers and business cards flooded the park benches and tables that promoted food catering, clothing, advertising hairstylists and other businesses.
During the festival there were incredible performances which included Nigeria’s own Samklef. He gave everyone a show with his Naija swag and music. Others on stage were up and coming artists and the winner of the Miss Nigerian Independence pageant who said a few patriotic words.
Like it is every year, the parade is all about the Nigerian community. Families, couples, and friends came to show they were proud to be Nigerian. As expected, next year it will only be bigger as Nigeria celebrates its 52nd independence, cheers!
By: Ashley I. Okonkwo