Vice President Yemi Osinbajo says Nigeria’s 59th Independence Anniversary is an occasion to remember the prices paid by the country’s founding fathers.
Professor Osinbajo stated this at the 2019 Independence Day Dinner and Gala Night held at the State House conference centre, Abuja on Tuesday.
He said sacrifices and labours of the past heroes enabled the people to have the great nation called Nigeria today.
“We celebrate the sterling labours of our heroes past, the sacrifices of so many that have enabled us be this great nation that we are, we recognise that we are here because so many paid the price and that we are going forward because many are still making the sacrifice,”Professor Osinbajo said.
It was an evening that had the vice president’s wife, Dolapo, President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila and Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, and ministers in attendance.
Former first lady, Mrs. Maryam Abacha, former Chief of General Staff, Lieutenant General Oladipo Diya (Rtd), and former Vice President, Namadi Sambo also attended the dinner.
Professor Osinbajo used to occasion to speak on ‘one of the unique attributes of the Nigerian person,’ which he described ‘as the Nigerian Swag: that uniquely confident way that makes us stand out….everywhere and in everything we do.’
He illustrated this with video clips highlighting the exploits of Nigerian-born British boxer, Anthony Joshua, the participation of Nigeria’s Seun Adigun, Ngozi Onwumere and Akuoma Omegoa as first Africans in Bobsleg at the Winter Olympics in Pyeong Chang South Korea and Chinese children learning Nigeria’s Igbo language at a kindergarten.
The Vice President also spoke on the Nigerian swag as expressed in fashion, music and dance.
“Our contemporary dances have so much swag from skelewu to sekem to shakiti bobo, sakusaku and the most recent, Zanku.
“Nobody dances like us….it doesn’t matter whether you are the distinguished senator representing Kogi west or the distinguished senator representing Osun West…When it comes to fashion, we are the masters of style. Nigerians brought Ankara to mainstream fashion.
“So, Nigerian designers are making waves internationally with the infusion of Ankara in their collections. And the likes of Lisa Folawiyo, Mackie O, Andrew Iyamah, Kenneth Ize, Mowa Ogunlesi, have been featured in Vogue and other international fashion magazines and events such as the New York fashion week,” he explained.
Professor Osinbajo said; “the Nigerian-American designer Ena Udemba designed Beyoncé’s drop dead gorgeous Ankara outfit.
“Today the whole world is wearing our Ankara, from Michelle Obama, Rihana and Kim Kardashian.”
It was an evening that had a keynote address delivered by the Chairman of Board of Directors of the AFREXIM Bank, Professor Benedict Oramah.
His address titled ‘Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement: Creating One Africa’ highlight the benefits in the continental free trade area, which Nigeria has joined.
He said the AfCTA would provide a platform for Africa’s self-reliance because it would lead to industrialisation on the continent.
“The AfCTA represents the first major move by Africans to towards economic independence.
“It creates an unprecedented opportunity for Africa to finally take its destiny in its own hands; to sound a death knell for a culture of dependency, foisted on us by history,” Professor Oramah added.
The Secretary to the Government of Federation, Mr. Mustapha urged Nigerians to work together to build a new nation.