The Nigerian Missions in South Africa hosted the Nigerian Community, members of the Diplomatic and Consular Corps, Host Community Officials and other well wishers of Nigeria to mark the 61st Anniversary of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
The event was hosted at the Consulate General of Nigeria in Johannesburg for and on behalf of the High Commission, the Defence Section and the Consulate General, held on 2nd October 2021.
This was disclosed in a statement by the Nigeria Consulate General, Johannesburg, where it noted that the carnival-like event saw in display the rich cultural heritage of Nigeria, and a congregation of individuals who had unwavering faith and belief in Nigeria.
The High Commissioner of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to the Republic of South Africa, H.E. Muhammad Haruna Manta, in a remark, wished Nigeria well at 61, and urged Nigerians to learn to complement the government in the task of nation building.
He reeled out some of the achievements of the current administration, adding that the government was unrelenting in tackling the security challenges and infrastructural deficit in the country.
The High Commissioner expressed optimism that together, more can be achieved for the good of all Nigerians.
The Consul General, Consulate General of Nigeria, Johannesburg, Hon. Abdul Malik Ahmed remarked that the independence anniversary remains a unique opportunity to celebrate Nigeria’s heroes past and rich future.
He advocated that Nigerians continue to reflect on the sacrifices of the founding fathers of the country while ensuring that their labour is not in vain.
Hon. Malik observed that the challenges of nation building are not peculiar to Nigeria alone and enjoined Nigerians to explore constitutional provisions in addressing issues of national development instead of resorting to unlawful means.
Professor Larry Obi, a one time Deputy Vice Chancellor, in two South African Universities, Walter Sisulu University and the University of Fort Hare, spoke on COVID-19 pandemic and counseled all attendees to support efforts to stop the pandemic in its track by availing themselves of the vaccination.
In their various goodwill messages, guests at the event highlighted the sterling virtues of Nigeria, its leadership role in the African continent and in particular, its contribution to the fight against apartheid in South Africa as well as emancipation of the black race.
Ms. Ndileka Mandela, the eldest grandchild of Nelson Mandela, remarked at the occasion that the role Nigeria played in the fight against apartheid and colonialism in Southern Africa has been downplayed, and called for robust engagement among the youths of both Nigeria and South Africa to deal with challenges of xenophobia.
The anniversary celebration also featured raffle draws organized by two Nigerian companies, Homebaze Restaurant and MJF travels, owned by Chief Ken Ayere and Mrs. Bukky Eniola respectively.
Homebaze offered a dinner for two in any of its three prestigious restaurants in Johannesburg and Pretoria while MJF travels, a renowned travel agency offered a free return ticket from Johannesburg to Lagos.
The event further provided a platform for promotion of African unity and brotherhood as well as peaceful coexistence with the host country.
It was spiced with cultural performances from Nigerian groups, colourful Nigerian fashions and cuisines.