Okoku attends Consul General’s organised Independence Day celebrations with diaspora
As Nigeria steadily marches towards another Independence Day ceremony, the office of the Consul General to USA, headed by Ambassador Amina A. Smaila has started making plans for this year’s edition holding on October 1, 2023.
Recall that during last year’s Independence Day ceremony held in Atlanta, Georgia, the Consul General Ambassador Smaila , through her exalted office, invited Nigerians in Diaspora Organization Americas, Atlanta, US Chapter (NIDO) and the Alliance of Nigerian Organizations in Georgia (ANOG) to a colourful ceremony and gala night, which was well attended.
In fact, the office of the Consul General rolled out the drums to mark the country’s attainment of Independence Day, with a roll call of invited guests including former AFCON silver medal winner Paul Okoku, who resides in the USA.
Just as their counterparts in Nigeria did, the Nigerian community in Atlanta, a thriving and well educated group comprising technocrats, entrepreneurs, business executives, sports men and ex internationals gathered under the behest of the Consul General to celebrate the country of their birth and heritage in an atmosphere of joy and celebrations.
Held in Downtown Atlanta, Georgia, amongst the notable attendees of the celebration night was veteran Nollywood actor Richard Mofe Damijo (RMD) and Okoku, vice captain of the Flying Eagles to the 1983 FIFA Under 20 World Cup in Mexico and one of the players of the Super Eagles AFCON ‘84 silver medal-winning team.
Giving a background to how he was invited to the last Independence Day Parade and the Gala Night by
Ambassador Smaila, Okoku said he got invited to the Independence Day party at an ANOG event, attended by the CG, who interacted with all cultural groups and people of different tribes and professional associations, comprising the Nigerian nurses association, Nigerian arts traders and many others.
“The Consul General danced and took pictures with every group, as she didn’t mind spreading herself out. That explains in part why people were campaigning for her extended stay for the foreseeable future. It was during this cultural exchange event that I was introduced to the Consul General. I eventually attended the Independence Day parade and the gala night on the invitation of her office. A great moment of a humble honor and quite an extraordinary and humbling experience for me personally.
Speaking further, Okoku said the Independence Day Parade and Gala night had in attendance invitees and participants from across the USA and Nigeria including delegates from other countries diplomats. Also in attendance were Nollywood veteran actor RMD, Ambassador (Dr.) Tari Gold Okpurukre, Dr. Hetty Asiodu, CEO and Founder, Courageous Women in Action, Representative Gabe Okoye, State of Georgia House of Assembly, Dr. Tony Ogiamien, Founder American Heritage University of California and a host of others.
Okoye is a Nigerian–American civil engineer, former chair and current commissioner of Planning in Gwinnett County. On November 8, 2022, he became a legislator elect at the 2022 US midterm elections representing Georgia State and he took office on January 9, 2023.
The Consul General office, which convened the Independence Day Parade and Gala night said this year’s edition will be a showstopper as plans are afoot to ensure a flawless and enduing celebration of Nigeria’s independence anniversary in a convivial and colourful atmosphere.