Nigeria’s 52nd Independence Anniversary Kicks off with a Flag Raising in Newark

Kwabena Opong


Consul General Habib Bala Habu hoists Nigeria's flag to usher in the country's 52nd Indpendence anniversary

The African Commission of the Newark Municipal Council joined Nigerians Monday October 1 for a flag raising ceremony at the City Hall to commemorate the 52nd independence anniversary of the African super power.

It has become customary for the Mayor’s African Commission to celebrate the independence anniversaries of the various African countries represented in the Newark Municipality with a flag raising ceremony.

Among the dignitaries who addressed the event was Councilwoman Mildred Crump who asked for a minute’s silence for the late Congressman Donald Payne, Sr. The veteran Congressman and friend of Africa died in March this year. She told the audience about her planned visit to Nigeria and her love for Nollywood which she described as making Hollywood cringe. Ms. Crump told about a school her organization adopted in Lagos where they send material to help the students attain higher standards of achievement. She expressed her gratitude for being made an honorary Nigerian.

Hon. Donald Payne, Jr. also spoke about his father’s contributions to the African continent through his advocacy for the continent at the Congress. He wondered if he could match his father’s expertise on Africa, but vowed to continue from where Donald, Sr. left off. He stated that he was “glad we had the opportunity to host you here in the City of Newark, the third oldest city in the United States of America,” and expressed his city’s appreciation for the contributions being made by Nigerians to “this city, this state, to this country.” He mentioned in particular, a city official of Nigerian decent, Mr. Ade Afolabi as someone who had been known for his diligence and fairness in his services to the city.

“I’ll just end with thanking everyone for the warmness and the condolences my family has received during the most troubling time in my life.” Donald Payne, Jr. said in reference to the passing of his father in March, this year. Referring to his next assignment as a congressman, the current President of Newark Municipal Council said he was going to Washington with mixed blessings, because had his father lived, he would not be going and added that he accepts the responsibility and challenge.

Nigeria’s Consul General in New York, Hon. Habib Bala Habu began his presentation with a recall of late President Yar ‘Adua’s insistence to visit late Congressman Donald Payne, Sr. during a trip to Washington, DC against the advice of one of the president’s officials. Mr. Habu also recalled that together with Congressman Payne, Sr., President Obasanjo decided to launch Nigeria’s 2020 economic vision, which is projected to make Nigeria one of the 20 largest economies by the year 2020. “The development of Nigeria is connected and interwoven with your family,” Consul General Habu told Donald Payne, Jr. As a result of the economic measures taken with the late Congressman, the debt ratio of Nigeria now is less than 20 percent of the country’s GDP and the lowest of any country in the world. He added “The richest African is a Nigerian, so Nigeria is not a country of potentials; we are a country of promise and prosperity because whatever you invest in Nigeria you will get your money back.”

He spoke about an American investor who invested 50 million Naira in a farm in Taraba State. Within four years, he got back his 50 million and is making more profits. The consul general disabused the minds of the audience about the preponderance of the 419 scam and said Nigeria like all other countries also has its fair share of crooks and social issues and problems. There are a lot more honest and hardworking Nigerians than the discredited ones.

He invited Nigerians in the Diaspora to consider bringing in their expertise to help move the country forward. The Nigerian community in the United States is among the most educated and therefore a great asset to their country.

Following the flag raising ceremony in Newark, NJ, a parade was held in New York on 3rd Avenue to commemorate Nigeria’s country’s 52nd independence.


Posted by on Oct 18 2012. Filed under top stories. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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