On Friday, October 8, 2021, the Prince Phillip House, London played host to an august occasion – the first of its kind in the annals of the Nigeria-Britain Association (N-BA) in the United Kingdom. It was the inaugural Independence Day Celebration of the Association
commemorating Nigeria’s 61 st Independence anniversary, in partnership with SCIB Nigeria and Co., NEM Insurance Plc, Eleganza Group of Companies, United Bank for Africa, FCMB Bank UK Limited, FBN UK and Leventis Foundation.
L-R: Vice Patron of the Nigeria-Britain Association (N-BA), Philip Hall, OBE; President of the N-BA, Abimbola Okoya; Nigerian High Commissioner, London, Ambassador Sarafa Tunji Isola; and former British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Sir Philip Thomas, KCVO, CMG; during the N-BA event held at the Prince Philip House, London to commemorate the 61st Independence anniversary of Nigeria, on October 8, 2021.
The event was highlighted by music and art exhibition and organized in collaboration with Ade
Bakare Couture, London, with support by Sonia Nwora – Queen Mercillina, Obaseki Solicitors,
Lady Marlene Okolie and Stella King.
Attendees at the event who were mostly Nigerians in the diaspora were serenaded with the
performance of contemporary music. Also, there were artworks on display, which took the
Nigeria diaspora community on a psychological journey home. Remarkably, the event
channelled Nigeria’s cultural diversity and the unifying power of music to Nigerians and Britons alike.
In a keynote address, the President, N-BA, Abimbola Okoya, noted that the duality of the
nationality of the Association necessitated the Independence Day celebration in the United
“This is the very first event we are having in the UK, after 52 years of the existence of the N-BA. So, this is really a big landmark event for us and we are hoping that this is going to open a floodgate to many more engagements and events that we will have here in the UK. It is also
going to celebrate with Nigerians and friends of Nigeria in the diaspora,” she added.
Speaking on the new strategic direction for the N-BA known as The Big I.D.E.A (Inclusivity,
Diversity, Empowerment, and Agility), Okoya said that “the mission of the N-BA is actually to
create a platform through several events organized by the N-BA or by different organisations in Nigeria, the United Kingdom or any other part of the world,” adding that “When people come together, they meet, they network and they are able to forge true partnerships. For example, the organization has supported me all through the way in a lot of amazing projects in the last 12 years and I have also met a whole lot of friends in the N-BA as well.
“So, what we are looking at is to forge true friendship, foster cultural diversity through engagements and ensure that there is integrity in the heart of what we do and that we care for the next generation.”
In his address, the Nigeria High Commissioner in the United Kingdom, Ambassador Sarafa Tunji Isola, while appreciating the historical role played by Britain in the birth and unification of
Nigeria expressed hope in Nigeria’s potential to attain greatness and remain united in spite of
the challenges it is plagued with.
“Looking at our history, as of today, we owe Britain a lot of our gratitude, because there wouldn’t have been any entity like Nigeria. Whatever greatness we have today is as a result of that decision by Britain to unify us. Yes, we have challenges in our country but I am yet to see a country without challenges. Nigeria has the potential to be greater. I challenge you all here to take up the opportunity to make Nigeria greater and to strengthen the relationship between Nigeria and Britain. When other countries have challenges, they stick together,” he said.
Speaking on the sidelines of the event, the Vice Patron of the N-BA, Philip Hall, OBE described the occasion as extra special, noting that it was the first time the Association has held in the UK.
“As Vice Patron, I was honoured to be part of the celebration which hopefully will be the first of many as we promote the very special relationship between Nigeria and the UK,” he added.
The N-BA remains committed to strengthening ties between Nigeria and Britain, along with the collective vision of the founders of the Association to create an identity that reflects the bond of mutual understanding, cultural exchange, and friendship between Nigerians, Britons, and members of the Commonwealth towards a common good. Guests at the event included
representatives of the Nigerian and British governments, artists, diplomats and corporate
organisations. Thus, the event provided a platform to appreciate Nigerian and British arts and
the diversity in their cultures.
The Nigerian Independence Day Celebration afforded members of the Association and other
partners the exclusive platform to connect, promote their brands and network to develop
mutually beneficial relationships among the dynamic community comprising institutions,
corporates, diplomatic representatives and global entrepreneurs.