VP’s Remarks At The 59th Independence Day Dinner & Gala Night
REMARKS BY HIS EXCELLENCY, PROF. YEMI OSINBAJO, SAN, GCON, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA, AT THE 59TH INDEPENDENCE DAY DINNER AND GALA NIGHT, BANQUET HALL, ABUJA, ON THE 1ST OF OCTOBER, 2019
Today is a day that we celebrate our nation and its great people. We celebrate the sterling labors of our heroes past, the sacrifices of so many that have enabled us be this great nation that we are. We recognize that we are here because so many paid the price. And that we are going forward because many are still making the sacrifice.
But this evening I also want to share with you, something lighter but as important, one of the unique attributes of the Nigerian person. I have described it as the “Nigerian Swag”, that uniquely confident way that makes us stand out everywhere and in everything we do.
So, look at this sport called Bobsleigh, (points to image on the screen), they thought only white people could do this because it is a winter sport. If you don’t have winter and snow in your country you can’t be a bobsleigh champion.
Well so they thought until the Nigerians came. At the Winter Olympics in Pyeong Chang South Korea, three Nigerian girls. Seun Adigun, Ngozi Onwumere and Akuoma Omeoga were the first Africans in Bobsleigh at the Winter Olympics. They raced into history in style and they ended it with dance! How else would you know that they are Nigerians?
The World Cup came in May 2018, but well before the World Cup kicked off, we had started winning. When Nike released the design of our jersey called “Naija” in February 2018, 3million people pre-ordered the Jersey for $90 a piece online, and eventually thousands of people lined up to buy it. It sold out in the stores within hours.
The jersey was lit, so lit that we won the first prize for the best dressed team, Peru came second and Belgium came third.
And then there is Anthony Joshua, as far as we are concerned, the best boxer in the world, not only is he a heavy hitter but he could also pass for a model. So much Swag!
How about the Nigerian wedding? It has become the toast of the world. Amongst other things, we are teaching the world that every wedding deserves a hashtag. #Baad2017, for Banky W and Adesuwa Etomi, #YemiDolly1989 or #DolYem1989. That’s me and my lovely wife.
Even the dramatic entrance of the bridal party. See the groom flying here in this video, (makes reference to video showing on the screen). Of course, the Aso Ebi also.
And they are learning our languages everywhere. See here (video reference), a kindergarten class in China where the children are learning Igbo.
Our contemporary dances have so much swag from Skelewu to Sekem to Shakitibobo, Shaku Shaku, and the most recently, Zanku. I am sure you all know how to “gbe se, gbe se”, to “gbe body e.”
It is now “gbe se, gbe se”, all over the world, (makes reference to image on the screen).
Nobody dances like us, it doesn’t matter whether you are the distinguished senator representing Kogi west or the distinguished senator representing Osun West, (video shows Senator Dino Melaye and Senator Ademola Adeleke dancing), or you are the richest man in Africa, (video shows Aliko Dangote dancing), or the President of Africa’s largest economy, (video shows President Buhari dancing).
We just love to dance, and our dancing has swag. Every Nigerian can dance, it doesn’t matter how old you are, we just have that rhythm, that swag, (video shows elderly women dancing).
And even if like President Obasanjo, you really can’t dance, you still have your own swag, (video shows former President Obasanjo dancing).
When it comes to fashion, we are the masters of style, from the “geles”, look at what Iya Rainbow is wearing on her head, (screen shows Iya Rainbow’s image) and of course the famous Madam Kofo gele (screen shows Madam Kofo).
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.
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.
The Agbada became a movement after the Merry Men Movie Premiere, with the Agbada challenge, (screen shows different images of people wearing agbada) and even the politicians have caught the bug, (image shows VP Osinbajo, former Governor Ambode and former Governor Ajimobi all wearing agbada).
Also featuring with his trademark black kaftan, the number one man with the swag, (makes reference to screen showing President Buhari) the PMB swag!
Happy Independence Day!