On Friday, October 8, 2021, the Prince Phillip House, London played host to an august occasion — the first of its kind in the annals of the Nigeria-Britain Association (N-BA) in the United Kingdom. It was the inaugural Independence Day Celebration of the Association commemorating Nigeria’s 61st Independence anniversary, in partnership with SCIB Nigeria and Co., NEM Insurance Plc, Eleganza Group of Companies, United Bank for Africa, FCMB Bank UK Limited, FBN UK and Leventis Foundation.
Nigerian Music and Art on display at Nigeria-Britain Association Independence Day celebration in London
Attendees at the event who were mostly Nigerians in the diaspora were serenaded with the performance of contemporary music.
The event was highlighted by music and art exhibition and organized in collaboration with Ade Bakare Couture, London, with support by Sonia Nwora — Queen Mercillina, Obaseki Solicitors, Lady Marlene Okolie and Stella King.
Attendees at the event who were mostly Nigerians in the diaspora were serenaded with the performance of contemporary music. Also, there were artworks on display, which took the Nigeria diaspora community on a psychological journey home. Remarkably, the event channelled Nigeria’s cultural diversity and the unifying power of music to Nigerians and Britons alike.
In a keynote address, the President, N-BA, Abimbola Okoya, noted that the duality of the nationality of the Association necessitated the Independence Day celebration in the United Kingdom.
“This is the very first event we are having in the UK, after 52 years of the existence of the N-BA. So, this is really a big landmark event for us and we are hoping that this is going to open a floodgate to many more engagements and events that we will have here in the UK. It is also going to celebrate with Nigerians and friends of Nigeria in the diaspora,” she added.
Speaking on the new strategic direction for the N-BA known as The Big I.D.E.A (Inclusivity, Diversity, Empowerment, and Agility), Okoya said that “the mission of the N-BA is actually to create a platform through several events organized by the N-BA or by different organisations in Nigeria, the United Kingdom or any other part of the world,” adding that “When people come together, they meet, they network and they are able to forge true partnerships. For example, the organization has supported me all through the way in a lot of amazing projects in the last 12 years and I have also met a whole lot of friends in the N-BA as well.
“So, what we are looking at is to forge true friendship, foster cultural diversity through engagements and ensure that there is integrity in the heart of what we do and that we care for the next generation.”
In his address, the Nigeria High Commissioner in the United Kingdom, Ambassador Sarafa Tunji Isola, while appreciating the historical role played by Britain in the birth and unification of Nigeria, expressed hope in Nigeria’s potential to attain greatness and remain united in spite of the challenges it is plagued with.
“Looking at our history, as of today, we owe Britain a lot of our gratitude, because there wouldn’t have been any entity like Nigeria. Whatever greatness we have today is as a result of that decision by Britain to unify us. Yes, we have challenges in our country but I am yet to see a country without challenges. Nigeria has the potential to be greater. I challenge you all here to take up the opportunity to make Nigeria greater and to strengthen the relationship between Nigeria and Britain. When other countries have challenges, they stick together,” he said.
Speaking on the sidelines of the event, the Vice Patron of the N-BA, Philip Hall, OBE described the occasion as extra special, noting that it was the first time the Association has held in the UK.
“As Vice Patron, I was honoured to be part of the celebration which hopefully will be the first of many as we promote the very special relationship between Nigeria and the UK,” he added.
The N-BA remains committed to strengthening ties between Nigeria and Britain, along with the collective vision of the founders of the Association to create an identity that reflects the bond of mutual understanding, cultural exchange, and friendship between Nigerians, Britons, and members of the Commonwealth towards a common good. Guests at the event included representatives of the Nigerian and British governments, artists, diplomats and corporate organisations. Thus, the event provided a platform to appreciate Nigerian and British arts and the diversity in their cultures.
The Nigerian Independence Day Celebration afforded members of the Association and other partners the exclusive platform to connect, promote their brands and network to develop mutually beneficial relationships among the dynamic community comprising institutions, corporates, diplomatic representatives and global entrepreneurs.
The N-BA is a non-profit organisation. The Association organises social, cultural, educational and developmental activities designed to bring together friends and associates from diverse countries to improve socio-cultural ties between Nigeria, Britain and the Commonwealth. Its membership is comprised of high net worth individuals, industry leaders, diplomats from Britain and the Commonwealth as well as government oﬃcials and investors. Okoya is the first Nigerian female and youngest President of the Association.
In line with its commitment to continue to drive and expand it ecosystem and the impact of its programmes, the N-BA recently introduced its I.D.E.A initiative wherein its flagship events will promote the elements of the concept while providing value to its members and partners. The vision of the Association is to be the prime promoter of relationships between Nigerians and Britons for the common good, while its mission is to foster sustainable relationships for development among members and their communities. Its focus areas are Education, Economy, Youth and Gender, Humanitarianism, Culture and Entertainment.
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