2013 Nigeria Indie Parade in New York – Chairman Sends Note of Appreciation

See Coverage of the 2013 Nigeria Independence Parade in New York

Dear Members:

This is usually the most difficult message I have to send every year. It is even more difficult this year because you knocked it out of the park!!! Just like our Cultural Night show was sold out on Friday, New York City Police Dept is now telling us that Dag Hammarskjold Plaza (Park) cannot contain our crowd anymore. Despite the fact that we are still more than $20,000 in deficit, you truly turned New York City, the Big Apple and capital of the World, green-white-green on October 5, 2013. Nigerians, I am so proud of you and I say congratulations for a super successful parade this year. 


First, I thank Almighty God for his blessings on us and for granting us a very successful parade this year. Yes, we prayed to God for a successful parade, including a good weather. Our prayers were answered. God allowed this year's parade to surpass all previous parades in every aspect: According to the report, tens of thousands of Nigerians and friends of Nigerians were on the parade route and the park dancing and waving green white green in celebration of Nigeria's 53rd Anniversary of Independence from Britain. We finally shut down New York City. Second Avenue, one of the busiest streets in New York City, was covered with green white green. The music was blasting and one can hear the usual voice of Sumonu Bello-Osagie roaring all over Manhattan: " Nigerians, kwenu; Nigerians! raise your flags." And CAC, Absolute Faith and Winners Chapel's  floats were all jamming really hard on the parade as never before. And there was the "Ati De" float trying to knock off Big Moose and UnderDaRock float from their spot and gave Big Moose the biggest challenge since the inception of the parade. Even the Nigerian National Athletic League's float refused to be over-shadowed. The parade route was full of exuberant Nigerians, young and old from everywhere in the world. Every nationality was a Nigerian on Second Avenue on that glorious Saturday. It was a blessed day for NIGERIA. And O God, we thank you and we praise you for your kindness and mercy, for not forsaking us and for not putting us to shame. Thank you God. All praises and adulation belong to you for this year’s super successful Nigeria Day Celebration.

 Attendees at Nigeria Independence parade being entertained


Second, I thank all the members of the Nigeria Independence Day Parade Committee, Inc. for giving me the opportunity to be the chair of this patriotic group of Nigerians. I thank you for your cooperation. I thank you for putting up with me and the leadership of our Organization. I thank you for your hard work throughout the year to make this year's parade the best we have ever organized. I thank you for your selfless service to Nigeria, the Nigerian community and, more importantly, our children. I thank you for being on the streets giving out fliers while other Nigerians were looking at you as if you have nothing better to do with your time, or that you were paid by the Government of Nigeria to do it. I thank you for your dedication. I thank you for your prayers and fasting for the success of the parade; and I thank you for the different roles that each and every one of you played at the parade route, vendor stands, stage for performers, cultural night, welcome party and after party. As I said before, you are the best group of Nigerians anyone can hope to work with. And I am indeed very lucky. 


Starting from our marshals/coordinators, Ganiyu Abu (a man who is willing to sacrifice all he has for the love of his country),  Most Special Apostle (Dr.) Afolabi Aiyedun (the best General Secretary any organization can hope to have) and Alhaji Raheem Banire (a diehard member of the Parade Committee), to all the parade marshals - Dr. Olatunde Olusesi (who also emceed at the festival), Mazi Agwu Agwu  ( our indefatigable vendor enforcer and VP of the Igbo Asso), Jide Okunnubi, Chima Nwankpa, Richard Iyasere   (our stage enforcer this year), Prince Arusi Obi, Chairman Caretaker Committee of Anambra State Association, USA, Wasiu Bello, Yemi Ade to our vendor coordinators - Mrs. Omotade, Tunde Bakare, Bukky Adesokan, Sumonu Bello-Osagie; to our media coordinator, MSE Solomon Adelaja; to our program coordinators - Solomon Bakare ; to my deputy -  Mrs. Antonia James; to our masters of ceremony - Dr. Olatunde Olusesi, Sumonu Bello-Osage and Lola Olayoku; to our receiving guests, immediate past president of OAN, Michael Adeniyi, Mrs. Victoria Omotade (mother of OAN) and Alhaji Raheem Banire. I am very grateful for your hard work and for making this parade a big success. 


I like to thank the President of the Organization for the Advancement of Nigerians (OAN), Solomon Bakare, for his outstanding contributions to the success of this year's parade. You did not only only step up to fulfill your responsibilities as the president of the most dynamic and progressive Nigerian organization in America, you also contributed your time and money to the success of this year's parade. You handled some very challenging tasks this year, and your outstanding performance during the preparation and execution of this year's parade is unparallel. I truly cherish your suggestions and advice during the planning of the three-day celebration.   


I like to thank the chairman of our governmental outreach committee, Michael Adeniyi, for his selfless service to the Nigerian community and for making the site for the parade possible. Without Michael's continuous pressure on the Police Department, the Mayor's office and other governmental agencies, we would not have been able to secure the venue and all the necessary permits for the event. Despite the fact that you reside in the outskirts of New Jersey, you still find time to serve your community. No wonder people say that OAN leaders are a different breed of Nigerians. Michael, we say a big “thank you” for your dedication. You are certainly a blessing to our community. God shall bless you and your family. 


I am really at a loss on how to thank my good friend and my brother, Ken Osho, for his hard work this year. In addition to your daunting task of raising funds for this organization, you assumed another difficult responsibility of putting together the parade booklet for this year. And you performed the two roles wonderfully well. You combined the power of prayer with your aggressive fundraising style to reduce our inadequate fundraising; and just like last year when all hope seemed to be lost as to where we would get money to fund this parade, Ken took our fundraising committee to another level. With prayers and his aggressive fund raising campaign, Ken was able to generate the funds for this parade.  Even though we are still over $20,000.00 short, the deficit could have been much bigger. You are certainly a great blessing to our community. I can only pray that God will thank you for us. He will shower  His blessings upon you and your family. AMEN.


Well, here comes the hardest part of my thank you message. It is even interesting this year when I looked back to see how Francis single-handedly guided our youths to plan and execute (without any adult involvement) this year's Cultural Night event. While the success of last year's Cultural Night was beyond everyone's expectations, this year’s success was beyond the community’s imagination. It is the most  successful Cultural Night we have had since the project was made part of the Nigeria Independence Day Celebration. Well, Francis did not put on his Chinese hat this year; rather, he donned the hat that he was given in his ancestral village in the Eastern part of the Nigeria when he visited in July this year. Seriously, how do you begin to thank someone who is so committed to the development of our youths that he will do anything humanly possible for them? How do you thank someone who spent his money, time—I mean many sleepless nights—working on how to make each year's parade successful? How do you thank someone whose goal is to make people around him better?  Francis, the best teacher and mentor for our youths. Francis, my best friend, my confidant, a member of the board of directors of OAN; and, I will proudly add: “I am the luckiest person in the world to have met and known you!”  Only God can reward you for all your efforts to make us proud Nigerians.  You are not just a great blessing to our community; you are a tremendous inspiration and a great role model to the young men and women of our community. We cannot repay you for what you are doing; but we know that God in His infinite mercy will bless you beyond your imagination. God will not leave you and your family alone anytime. God shall continue to shower His blessings on you and your family. And for those of you are afraid that Francis may go into some sort of early retirement, be rest assured that as long as we have Nigerian youths, which we will have forever, Francis is not going anywhere. The temptation is just too much for him. The mere thought that he may be deserting or abandoning our youths or his crusade to make Nigerian community in the USA better will too much for him to swallow. Thusly, let us pray for long life and prosperity for him and his family.


I like to thank the Chair of our Nigerian Organizations Outreach Committee for his hard work to make the attendance at this year's parade grow beyond every expectation. Your efforts to reach out to all Nigerian Organizations and your unrelenting effort to secure the participation of Oyo State Government at the parade are worthy of commendation. We are truly grateful to you, Prince Arusi Obi and the entire members of your committee. Your aggressive out-reach efforts this year yielded an impressive result.
I like to thank the young men and women who made our tasks this year much easier to accomplish. We are particularly fortunate to have the most dynamic, dedicated, selfless and patriotic youth worked with us this year. Like father like daughter, Queene James, we love you more than ever. I am sure you took the leadership style of your mother (my deputy). Seriously, you continue to amaze me. Your ability to coordinate the activities of OAN and NIDC Youths is not only remarkable, but also superb for someone of your age and experience. You are definitely a positive role model to your fellow Nigerian-Americans. May the Lord bless you and answer your prayers. Likewise, I like to thank our 2011 Miss Nigeria Independence Day Parade, Lola Olayoku, our 2010 Miss Nigeria Independence Day Parade, Nkem Ejoh, our 2009 1st Runner-up Miss Nigeria Independence Day Parade, Koju Sosan, my beautiful girls, Rolanke Olowofela, Stephianie Ohikuare, Bisola Olabiran, Yetunde Osofisan, Yetunde Olofin, Azjza Abolarin and my boys Tunde Adeyinka, the best DJ in town, and Gene  Nwankpa, we love you and we are very proud of you. You are the reason why Francis is still coping with us. We pray that God will continue to keep you, bless you and protect you. We love you dearly.
I like to thank our religious leaders for their support and prayers. Starting from Special Apostle Olagbaiye, who is the Chair of the Religious Outreach Committee, to Rev. Kayode, Ven. (Dr.) Emeka Nwigwe, Rev. (Dr.)  Abel Famubode, Bishop (Dr.) John Famodimu, Most Special Apostle (Dr.) Gabriel Kassim, Rev (Dr.) Olugbenga Famojuro  and Rev. Timothy Adelani. May God continue to use you for His works.
I like to thank Christ Apostolic Church 1st in the Americas under the leadership of Rev. (Dr.) Gbenga Famojuro, and Absolute Faith in Jesus Christ International Church under the leadership of Bishop (Dr.) John Famodimu for their financial supports and their beautiful floats on the parade route every year. May God continue to bless you. Amen
We are particularly grateful that The Winners Chapel under the leadership of Pastor Ajayi Daniel Adeniran was able to join us this year with their beautiful float while blasting "there is no King like you" song along Second Avenue. You are one of the reasons why this year's parade was so successful. We pray that the good Lord will bless the leadership of the church and the entire congregation. Amen. We hope that other churches will emulate your patriotic move next year.
Wao! you have really come! Your float as well as your costumes was really a winner on the parade route.  And then your beautiful girls and the way they were dancing on the parade route almost over-shadowed the Big Moose and UnderDaRock float this year. You are certainly one of the reasons why this year's parade is still the talk of the town. Please come and join us to plan 2014 Parade. I am sure we can learn one or two things from your organization on how to make the parade the biggest in New York City.  

I like to thank all Nigerian organizations who came out on the parade route to make the event successful.  New York has never seen anything like this before.  Starting from Esan Association women cultural dancers and their beautiful traditional dresses, to the Canaan Sisters from Cross Rivers State, to the Umuandandi Igbo in Diaspora, to the Stilt dancers from Maryland, to the Nigerians in the US Navy, to the Nigerian Professionals in the New York City Transit, to the Modakeke Progressive Union, to the Regional Council of Nigerian Muslims, to the Christ School Ado Ekiti Alumni Association, to the Igbo Youth Movement, Igbo Women Association, to the Lagos Elite Club, to the People Liberty Forum, to the Nigerian Unique Club, Nigerian Nurses Association, League of Nigerian Women, Edo Youth Movement, Akwa Ibom State Association, and other Nigerian organizations at the parade route. We thank you all and we pray that God will continue to bless you.
We thank all our corporate sponsors, City University of York (CUNY), We are particularly grateful to Okenfe Lebarty for delivering CUNY to us every year.  We thank Moneygram for its financial support. Our special thanks to Arik Airline, not only for its financial support to the parade but the good work it is doing in our community as well.  We thank Alhaji Opetubo for his yearly generous donations. Thank you for the trust and faith you have in our organization. We thank all our individual donors, especially Most Special Apostle (Dr.) Gabriel Kassim, Rev. Abel Famubode, Pastor Timothy Adelani and Special Apostle (Dr) Babajide Olagbaiye for their generous donations every year. We also like to thank Oliver Mbamara, Esq., Obinna Nwoke and Rasheed Yusuff for their generous donations this year. We thank our member-organizations for their donations: Absolute Faith, Christ Apostolic Church, 1st in the Americas, Christ Apostolic Church, Manhattan, Celestial Church of Christ Region "A" USA, Olumo Progressive Association NY/NJ, Nigerian Nurses Association, Ngwa Development Association.  We would not have been able to do it without your financial support. We are still over$20,000.00 in deficit. We are appealing to you to help us close this deficit. You can make your donations through our PayPal by logging onto our website atwww.oanweb.org. May God bless you all.

We like to thank all organizations with floats on the parade route: Starting with the Organization for the Advancement of Nigerians that led the parade with its beautiful float, to Christ Apostolic Church 1st in the Americas, City University of New York and its beautiful float with Nigerian students in the CUNY system, to Absolute Faith in Jesus Christ float, to The Winners Chapel, to Arik's float with its exquisite design this year, to Moneygram float, to Nigerian National Athletic League's float, to A ti De float and its beautiful costume girls and of course the Big Moose Entertainment and UnderdaRock float. What can we say?  You guys did it again this year with your elegantly decorated floats. We thank you very much.
We thank all the government officials who were present at the parade. We thank the wife of the Vice President, Mrs. Namadi Sambo, for her distinguished presence at the celebration. We also thank  Mrs. Rebecca Oyedeji, State Senator Perkins, Mayor of Harlem, Councilman Robert Jackson, our Nigerians city council candidates, Dr. Omotosho and Rev Kayode and the rest of our marshals and grand marshals for their presence along the parade route. You definitely add value to the parade. Special gratitude to Ambassador, Prof., Ibrahim Gambari, former Under-Secreatary General at the United Nations, who flew down from Florida on a short notice, to celebrate Nigeria with this compatriots.
I thank our Ambassador, Habib Baba Habu, the Consul General of Nigeria for his support and suggestions during the planning of this year's parade. We appreciate your open door policy to our organization as well as to all Nigerian organizations within your jurisdiction.   
We like to thank those organizations, churches and mosques that hosted one or more of our meetings: Christ Apostolic Church, First in the Americas, Regional Council of Nigerian Muslims, Christ Apostolic Church, Manhattan, Absolute Faith in Jesus Christ International Church, Celestial Church of Christ, Nigerian-American Muslim Integrated Community (NAMIC) and the office of the Consul General of Nigeria. We are very grateful for your hospitality. Without you, it would have been difficult to plan this year's parade. 
We like to thank Bode Aluko and Tobi Ayanfodun for their hard work and beautiful design of our parade booklet this year; and Most Special Apostle (Dr.) Afolabi Aiyedun for his dedication as the General Secretary of the NIDC. May God bless you and your family. Special thanks to Ganiyu Abu, Solomon Bakare, Solomon Adelaja, Solomon Adelaja Jr (for spearheading a reach out effort in his neighborhood),  Alhaji Raheem Banire and Sumonu Bello-Osagie for their outstanding performance at the parade route, reviewing stand and at the stage. We like to thank Dr. Olatunde Olusesi for his enormous contributions to the success of this year's parade. We are very grateful for your service.
I like to express our profound gratitude to Yinka Ayefele and his band for accepting our invitation to be on the parade route and for performing at the stage without charge, unlike some other artistes from Nigeria. You are indeed one of the reasons why the parade was so successful this year. May God continue to bless you.
We like to thank both the local and international media organizations that covered the parade. We want to express our profound gratitude to Deji Balogun of the Lagos TV  who travelled from Nigeria to cover all the three-day events. Likewise, we like to thank Mr. Moses Adedeji and his team at New Africa Broadcasting Network for promotion of the celebration. May God continue to bless you all.
Yes Nigerians, you shut down New York City on Saturday, October 5, 2013. We want you to shut down the State next year. The planning for 2014 will start very soon. I am appealing to all Nigerian organizations to join us in the planning of 2014 Independence Day celebration. Let us continue the momentum we have this year. And with God on our side we will triple the number of people on the parade route next year. For more information, please call Chair of the Outreach Committee, Dr Olatunde Olusesi at 646-729-4791 or visit our website at www.oanweb.org
We are appealing to you to assist us in paying off the $20,000 debt we incurred this year. All donations will be recognized. Our revenue and expenses will be made available to all members during our first meeting. You can either send us your check or go to www.oanweb.org to make your donations. May God bless you.

Once again, thank you Nigerians for painting NYC green-white-green, Happy Independence.  If your name or organization is not mentioned here, please forgive us, it is not intentional. May God bless you; may God bless Nigeria.          



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