This will be the first time such an honor would be accorded to Nigeria by Houston–the fourth largest city in the United States
By Anthony Obi Ogbo (International Guardian News – Houston, TX)
One of the facilitators of the Nigerian Cultural Parade, Linda Anukwuem walked out from the Houston City Hall two days ago with some good news. On Friday, September 27, 2019, the eve of the most awaited Nigerian Cultural Parade, the City of Houston will be honoring Nigeria’s Independence Day by illuminating both the City Hall and major Highway bridges “green-white-green”. This will be the first time such an honor would be accorded to Nigeria by Houston–the fourth largest city in the United States.
This might not be a surprise if the social, political, and economic significance of these people in the City of Houston is placed in the right context. For instance, information from the U.S. Department of State indicates that Greater Houston has the largest Nigerian expatriate population in the United States, bragging an estimated 150,000 residents scattered in all facets of the economy.
The next day, September 28th, Houston will join Nigerians all over downtown to mark this country’s national day and showcase a rich people and culture, International Guardian gathered. October is officially Nigeria’s Independence month because this country, the most populous in Africa, gained independence from Great Britain on October 1, 1960.
Thus, celebrating Nigeria’s 59th Independence in a city–one of the most diverse in the United States, stands to promote and advance the cultural, civic and social welfare of this community. Studies show that Nigerians are the single largest contemporary African immigrant group in the United States. In addition, the city of Houston is home to the highest population of Nigerians outside of the country.
In an interview last month about the Nigerian Parade, Ms. Anukwuem told International Guardian that “Nigerians are known for their extravagant flair and this event should be no different. So, along the parade route, there will be various cultural groups, associations, and schools marching to showcase their group and display their culture through song, dance, and fashion. Also, attendees will be entertained with special dance presentations from specific groups.”
Currently, a preview of the Nigeria Masquerade Exhibition is in progress at City Hall leading up to the annual parade. According to Ms. Anukwuem “this Exhibition be held all through celebration from September 30 – October 2 at the A.D. Players Theater in the Galleria area.”
The amazing all green-white-green illuminations will appear at dusk, reflecting all the highway bridges. Noted Anukwuem, “We want Houstonians to share with us, our colors, our passion, and our rich culture.”
After an amazing 2018 colorful parade showcasing the Nigerian Culture, Houstonians are desperately looking forward to a 2019 replication at the same location–the Root Memorial Square Park near the Toyota Center. Ms. Anukwuem said that the “Green-White” illumination vigil on the sunset of September 27 will signal the beginning of this great celebration.
Downtown Houston endorsed the parade platform as a city event–thus allowing the Nigerian community to showcase, share, as well as educate the population on the greatness of her art and culture. Ms. Anukwuem said “First-timers would see a street-wide celebration highlighting this West African country in a unique way. Vendor booths representing various businesses displaying artifact, costume jewelry, fashion, cookery, and even books will be on site.”
The last parade was a blast. Downtown wore a distinctive look as a procession of cultural groups decorated in different traditional attires and costumes strolled the streets in utter astonishment, sending onlookers bananas with stunning displays.
■ The parade will start promptly at 10 AM but the Festival ground is open at 9:00 AM. Guests are encouraged to come wearing traditional attires. Information for group registrations can be found at nigeriaculturalparade.com. or call 832-452-7784.