Every year in October, the Association of Nigerians in Northern Louisiana (ANNL), a nonprofit organization, hosts a special event to commemorate Nigeria’s Independence Day and to raise funds for charity. This year’s event will take place at the Monroe Civic Center on Oct. 20 at 6 p.m. The $35-tickets will be available at the gate. While the occasion serves as a reminder of the struggle for the country’s political independence from Britain, it is also used to raise funds to support community development efforts. Nigeria gained its independence from Britain on October 1, 1960.
For the past 12 years, this event is used as a fundraising initiative, enabling the association to actively engage in philanthropic activities in Northeast Louisiana.
Nigeria’s Independence Day celebration is an annual premiere fundraising initiative. This year’s celebration is more elaborate than that of any previous year.
It promises to be a fun-filled event that features an assortment of dishes and delicacies designed to give guests a taste of Nigerian-style cooking.
The occasion also features traditional dances. This year, guests will be treated to one of Nigeria’s most vigorous and acrobatic traditional dances called Atilogu., traditionally, performed by children.
Atilogu is one of the most popular traditional dances in Ibo tribe often featured at festivals and ceremonies.
A few of the traditional ceremonies’ features prominently include the New Yam Festival that celebrates the yam harvest to usher in a period of plenty, pre-farming ceremonies used to appeal to the gods for a fruitful farming season, Rite of Passage from adolescence to adulthood, conferment of chieftaincy titles, and at Christmas, to celebrate the birth of Jesus, the Savior.
There is also the Makojo professional live band and dance team that will entertain guests to a potpourri of musical specialties and traditional stand-up Nigerian comedies.
The group will engage in a wide mix of rhythms such as highlife music, a popular genre in the southeastern part of the country, juju music which is the mainstay in most of southwestern Nigeria, and Gospel music which permeates the entire country and has no borders.
With the percussion-heavy sounds, guests in previous years have become so captivated by the uniquely eccentric rhythms that they respond with dancing to the inviting free-style and easy-to-dance-to-Nigerian-kind of music.
Another major attraction is the display of Nigerian attire and artifacts. The attire, often modeled by individuals of all ages, provides guests an opportunity to view the colorful variety of Nigerian dress styles for men, women, and children.
Perhaps many are already aware that every Nigerian name has a meaning. The meaning can be derived from family history, cultural or natural events, or from the Bible. Similarly, every Nigerian artifact has a history behind it. Someone will be assigned to explain the meanings attached to the artifacts that will be on display.
Dr. Oladapo Lapite, M.D., president of the Association of Nigerians in Northern Louisiana, said that this year’s celebration is the most extensive and richest in terms of performances and foods to be featured. He also spoke about the organization’s determination to ensure that the guests get their money’s worth and more. Detailed information about the Association and its events can be accessed online at www.annl.org.