A celebration of Nigerian cultural wealth was held in two of Germany’s biggest cities last Saturday (22 July).
In Berlin, Nigeria’s ambassador to Germany, HE Yusuf Maitama Tuggar, hosted German officials, members of the diplomatic corps and other guests at the 1st Annual Nigerian Cultural Day. The event featured speeches, an art exhibition, a fashion show, a literary fair and plenty of music.
In his speech, Alhaji Tuggar said the Day was initiated to showcase the rich cultural heritage of Nigeria through arts, music and culture as well as literature, fashion and film. The annual event seeks to expand relations between his country and Germany, he added.
The ambassador used the occasion to address the issue of African works of art in the possession of European museums and he called for their return to their original owners. The objects, which were forcibly taken away in the first place, were important for the cultural identity of their owners, the diplomat explained.
Far away in Munich at the same time on the same day, the Nigerian community in Bavaria played hosts to the ‘Nigeria Cultural Feast and Meritorious Awards 2019’. The event also showcased Nigerian culture through its music, fashion and artworks.
Minister Mohammed Anka, who represented Ambassador Tuggar, praised the initiative of the Nigeria Community Bayern Germany (NCBG), organizers of the event, for putting together the cultural festival. The envoy said cultural diplomacy had become one of the most important ways to promote closer ties among nations.
Many distinguished individuals, including Nigerians and Africans living in Germany, were honoured at the event for making a positive impact in their different spheres of endeavours.
Among those conferred with the 2019 NCBG Awards were three members of the executive committee of NIDO Germany, comprising Dr RosaLyn Dressman, President; Engr. Femi Awoniyi, General Secretary; and Dr Vivian Chioma Timothy, PRO. Other recipients from the NIDO family were Hon. Kenneth Gbandi, Chair of the Central Executive Council of NIDOE, and Mr Kazeem Ojoye, former Financial Secretary of the organization’s German chapter.
Hamado Dipama, a pan-African and anti-racism activist, Chief Andy Onyeme Okolo, an entrepreneur, and Mr Sandro Sacco, the CEO of Sacco Reiseservice, the popular travel agency in Germany, were some of the other recipients.
Mr Emmanuel Onyeme, president of NCBG, praised Mr Sacco for always supporting the Nigerian Community morally and financially and especially for being interested in their welfare. The travel agent donated two return-flight tickets to Nigeria that were raffled and won at the event.
In her speech, Dr Timothy, who represented NIDO Germany at the event, thanked NCBG for recognizing the efforts of the body to promote the interest of Nigeria. For her and other recipients, the award was a “higher call to greater service to the community”. The award-winning artist and a resident of Bavaria herself singled out Mr Emmanuel Onyeme and Mr Kennedy Onyeke for special praise for “their tireless efforts for the Nigerian community in the state”.
It’s an unusual coincidence that two major events dedicated to the same cause, this time the promotion of Nigerian culture, would take place on the same day in Germany. This caused some murmurings in the community but at the end of it all it turned out to be a blessing.