Nigerians living in the U.S. have converged on New Jersey to celebrate the 12th Annual Nigerian Sports and Cultural Carnival organised by the Nigerian Sports and Cultural Organisation.
The carnival featured the Yoruba board game ‘ayo’, football, table tennis, chess, draft, dancing and musical performance, awards presentation, etc.
Nigeria’s consul general in New York, Lot Egopija, who led the staff of the consulate general to the carnival, pledged to use cultural and sports carnivals to unite Nigerians living in the U.S.
Mr Egopija explained that the consulate general would participate and partner the organisers to strengthen the bond of friendship among Nigerians in the diaspora.
“We will continue to elaborate on our efforts to support our nationals in New Jersey and other states within the jurisdiction of the consulate general,” the envoy noted. “This is a mandate that we have, and we will continue to provide consular services to our nationals. We will continue to make sure that every Nigerian gets the service he or she deserves.’’
The Nigerian diplomat affirmed his support for the sustainability of the carnival and thanked the organisers for the initiative.
Mr Egopija said he looked forward to an expanded carnival in 2022 when the consulate general would be more involved and urged the participants “to remember that we are Nigerians marching towards one destination even as we relax and enjoy the event.”
The co-founder of the organisation, Anozie Ugenyi, stated that the primary objective of the carnival was to bring Nigerians out once a year to relax with their families and loved ones.
“Upon our research, we found out that two things that bring Nigerians together are sports and culture. Nigerians love sports, and they love to enjoy themselves, especially in an atmosphere that reminds them of their cultures,” Mr Ugenyi explained. “This carnival has brought Nigerians together since 2008, and we have celebrated it annually ever since then except in 2020 when the COVID-19 disrupted the plan.”
He added, “People come from all walks of life, and people who are friends of Nigeria are here. Also, we have the soccer teams representing the diversity of Nigeria.”