Published on 11 October 2018
Drums rolled out across the University of Sunderland’s city campus as international students marked Nigerian Independence Day.
In what has become an annual tradition at the University, music, food, speeches and students wearing traditional dress helped mark the day in colourful style.
The event is a key feature in the University’s multi-cultural calendar and is growing bigger each year.
Chidi Ahamuefula, Treasurer of the Nigerian Society, said: “This marks the 58th year of Nigerian independence and we are proud to be celebrating at the University of Sunderland.
“Through music and dance, speeches and celebration, we are bringing everyone together.”
Chidi was dressed in traditional Senato clothing, while others wore the Agbada – traditional to the western part of Nigeria – and the Ishi Agu, which displays a lion or lion’s head. Many of the women wore the Ashobi style of dress.
The event only further cements the close links between the University and the African country.
Earlier this year, we told how an international friendship agreement – or Memorandum of Understanding – between the University and Edo University, Iyamho, in Nigeria, could help provide a multimillion pound boost to the city.
University leaders in Sunderland say the partnership could bring in up to £2million a year to the city as Nigerian students get the opportunity to study in the region.
Nigerian student Bryan Pepple, President of Activities at the University, said: “This is all about celebration and vibrancy, about marking, every year, our independence in an event at the heart of the University.”
Sunderland has a significantly diverse international student community with a strong student support network of over 100 nationalities. It is already working with several academic institutions across Africa in countries including Ghana, Cameroon and Kenya.
Gabrielle Nwadinobi, 21, former President of the Nigerian Society, is currently studying Public Health at the University. She is hoping to go on to work for the United Nations.
She said: “This is an opportunity for everyone to come together, no matter where they are from, to mark this special day in the Nigerian calendar.”
Speakers at this year’s event included new University of Sunderland Vice Chancellor, Sir David Bell, as well as Nigerian politician and philanthropist Ugwumba Uche Nwosu and Osita Chidioka, a former Minister of Aviation in Nigeria.
Nigeria gained independence on October 1, 1960 through constitutions that were legislated by the British government. The new Constitution established a federal government system with an elected Prime Minister and a ceremonial head of staff.