‘It reminds us of the day we could stand on our own’

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Nigerian students at the U of R celebrate their independence

Maureen Mugerwa
Contributor

Nigerian students at the University of Regina celebrated 51 years of independence in their country Oct. 1 at the Performing Arts Center.

Though the West African nation has had human settlement within its borders since at least 9000 BCE, it wasn’t until Britain consolidated the northern and southern protectorates into a single colonial state that Nigeria took on its name and its modern borders. As a result of British colonial influence, Nigeria’s 36 modern states have always had a diverse ethnic group living within their borders, the largest groups being the Hausa, the Igbo, and the Yoruba. In the mid-20th century, after a century and a half of British rule, the people of Nigeria began moving toward self-government. On Oct. 1, 1960, Nigeria gained its independence from the United Kingdom.

Though decades of military rule would soon follow the nation’s gambit for independence, Nigeria has ostensibly been a democratic nation since 1999, running a largely corruption-free election in 2010. It’s one of the most populous countries in Africa and is also known for its rich economy, now one of the fastest-growing in the world.

Victor Guredam, a U of R [insert year, major] student who was the chairman of the organizing committee, was proud to celebrate this day with his fellow Nigerians and all other different cultures in attendance.

“It reminds us of the day we could stand on our own,” he said, adding that celebrating the day brings all Nigerians together, even though they may be from different places and parts of Nigeria.

Nigerian students on campus are far from home, and this day brings them together with people they can relate to and remind them of home.

“We might be from different tribes, but we are seen as one” Guredam said. He added that every Nigerian should be proud of their country and celebrate the day of their independence, because this is the one day they can all meet and come together and show how proud they are of their country.

The celebration included Korean dancers, Latin dancers, a fashion parade, a dance from a Nigerian group, cultural-traditional wrestling, goodwill messages, traditional Nigerian food, and the cutting of the independence-day cake. An after-party was held with DJ B-Fine, hailing from Toronto, and DJ Blaze of Regina. They kept the crowd dancing to the sounds of Nigerian music.

The day allowed people to experience the culture of Nigeria and its people. 

“It was a great day,” Guredam said. “I was blown away.”

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