Remember who you are, U.S. senator tells Nigerians

New York State senator Robert Jackson, at the weekend told Nigerians and other black people around the world that “Africa is waiting” for them “to make it whole again”.

Consul-General of Nigeria in New York Mr Benaoyagha Okoyen (left), with New York State Senator Robert Jackson at the event. [NAN]

Speaking at the premiere of a movie titled “We Are The Endless Roar (WATER)’’ in New York, Jackson urged them to be proud of their roots and unite to develop the continent.

The American lawmaker delivered the remarks after the Consul-General of Nigeria in New York, Mr Benaoyagha Okoyen, highlighted the population strength and ethnic/cultural diversity of Nigeria.

“Consul General you said Nigeria has approximately 200 million people and that one out of every African is a Nigeria, and it shows that we all came from Africa.

“Africa is waiting for her children to make her whole again. So, let us join together our fractured pieces and remember who we are. Let us stay united as one,’’ Jackson said.

News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that WATER is a documentary movie on the indigenous African faith, spirituality and culture of the Nigerian people.

Earlier, Okoyen said Nigeria was a land of ancient empires whose tourist attractions “are still largely untapped’’.

He noted that with no fewer than 250 ethnic groups, 500 indigenous languages and rich culture and beautiful traditions, the country “offers wonderful opportunities for tourism, businesses and friendship to the world’’.

According to him, the various ethnic groups are noted for traditional practices that remains attractive tourist destination to the rest of the world.

He said: “The colourful and revered traditional fathers who are custodians of our people’s culture and tradition play an important role in the modern-day governance in our communities.

“Tourists visiting Nigeria will therefore gain insight into a glorious past as well as the promising future of Nigeria, set and mixed with natural beauty of this diverse country.

“Nigeria offers a remarkable range of physical beauty in our land and hospitality of our people ready to be enjoyed by tourists opportune to choose this land of ancient empires as their travel destination.’’

The envoy said the richness and diversity of Nigeria’s tourism resources, in addition to the economic liberalisation policy of the government, were viable investment opportunities.

While urging foreign investors to take advantage of the opportunities, Okoyen said the consulate was on standby to facilitate their journeys to Nigeria through seamless and speedy issuance of visas.

NAN reports that the movie captures the experience of two female African Americans, Tami Tyree and Maleeka Harris, during a 21-day immersive cultural, spiritual and business trip to Nigeria in 2018.

The journey took the explorers to some traditional shrines and ancient kingdoms in Yoruba land, and Argungu in Kebbi state.

The Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi; Emir of Argungu, Alhaji Sama’ ila Mera; Onikun of Ikun, and Oba, David Olusola Olatunde, featured in the film.

Dr Sola Atanda, President of the Healing and Teaching Temple of African Faith (HATTAF), played the role of narrator in the 74-minute film.

Executive producer of the movie, Ms Joyce Adewumi, told guests at the event that the project was part of her efforts to promote a better understanding of African cultural practices and beliefs.

Adewumi explained that the work was also aimed at encouraging African Americans and other black people around the world back to trace their roots in Africa.

It also seeks to “teach, enlighten and guide individuals to better discover and understand who they are and where they come from, to achieve success in life’’, according to her.

Dr Sola Atanda, President of the Healing and Teaching Temple of African Faith (HATTAF), played the role of narrator, with Adewumi providing context to the various places visited.

The screening was hosted by the Nigerian consulate in collaboration with New York African Chorus Ensemble (NYACE) founded by Adewumi.


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