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Tons of have a good time Nigeria Independence in downtown Houston – Houston Chronicle


As the town with the second-largest Nigerian inhabitants, Houston has been thought of a house away from residence, and residential took on an necessary which means for attendees of the sixth Annual Nigeria Cultural Parade and Competition in downtown Houston Saturday.

“Houston is residence for lots of people, and this occasion permits everybody to come back collectively as a result of it brings our tradition and traditions to the doorstep,” mentioned Hakeem Olaleye, host of the pageant and model ambassador for the Wazobia African Market. “Should you don’t recognize the tradition, this is able to really feel like simply one other occasion.” 

Olaleye was born and raised in Nigeria, and got here to Houston in 2001. For over 20 years, he has constructed a household in Houston along with his spouse and three kids.

“These of us with children born and raised right here deliver them to occasions like this as a result of it permits our children to be invited into our tradition and to be taught the place they arrive from,” he mentioned.

Attendees celebrated the 62nd Nigeria Independence Day in fashion, as households arrived in matching clothes with brilliant colours and complicated patterns representing their heritage.

“The vibe right here is all music; I can’t cease shifting,” mentioned Star Mbacke, an impartial insurance coverage agent on the pageant. “The folks look lovely and I like to see the completely different apparel.”

Akachi Azubuike lifts up the Nigerian flag in a celebratory manner during the Nigeria Cultural Parade on the day of the Nigerian Independence Day, Saturday, Oct. 1, 2022, in Houston.
Akachi Azubuike lifts up the Nigerian flag in a celebratory method through the Nigeria Cultural Parade on the day of the Nigerian Independence Day, Saturday, Oct. 1, 2022, in Houston.Marie D. De Jesús/Workers photographer

Over 20 tents have been arrange with companies, teams, and organizations collaborating within the festivities. 

The pageant, held at Root Memorial Park, is the largest West African celebration in Houston. It commemorates when Nigeria gained its independence from British rule on October 1, 1960.

Attendees mentioned they hope the occasion continues to increase.

“It was lovely seeing folks from different components of the nation, however we want there was extra publicity for Nigerian occasions,” mentioned Katy-resident Fatai Oyejobi from Ibadan, the third largest metropolis by inhabitants in Nigeria and the house of its first university. 

One of many widespread companies on the occasion was a father and son duo from Cameroun who run an African artwork enterprise referred to as “African Treasures.”

“We’ve been right here since 6:30 a.m. organising for the occasion,” mentioned Frank Phiri, proprietor of African Treasures. “We’re having fun with it, however want it had extra days in order that extra folks learn about it and are available.”

Because the pageant continued, the parade moved down the road with dancers, drummers, vibrant colored-clothes and even just a few crowd-pleaser flips. 

All through the sun-filled day, the overwhelming power of the venue was unity, celebration, and bringing Houstonians collectively to commemorate a proud day of Nigerian tradition.

“That is the time for households to have a good time African tradition,” mentioned Olaleye. “That’s what we do it for: the tradition.”


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