‘Canada @150 is aimed at promoting Nigerian culture’
Abi Goodman is the Executive Program Coordinator at OZ Consulting Firm, Canada and Managing Director of OZ Management in Nigeria. Proactive and innovative, the graduate of University of East London, UK, who has had successful trade shows and business summits in promoting the socio- economic relations between Nigeria and Canada, speaks with FUNSHO AKINWALE on the upcoming Canada @150 Anniversary
Who is Abi Goodman?
To the glory of God, I am the Executive Program Coordinator of OZ Consulting Firm, Canada and Managing Director of OZ Management in Nigeria.
What is the motivation behind Canada @ 150
On July 1, 2017, Canada will celebrate a milestone: the 150th anniversary of the coming into force of the British North America Act (now the Constitution Act, 1867) on July 1,1867. To celebrate with this feat, and deepen the friendship already existing between both countries and to also connect Nigerians living in Canada and those born in Canada to their cultural roots back home, Nigerians in Canada are organising a week-long event which will be facilitated by OZ Consulting Firm. The thrust of the event is to celebrate the anniversary with Canada through our cultural heritage and we shall be inviting through the Canadian Government and the organising committee of the event, prominent traditional rulers from the three major tribes in Nigeria.
Describe the cultural relations between Nigeria and Canada
It is quite good but there is still a lot of room for improvement. Recall that in 2015, the traditional ruler of a town of Ido-Osun in Egbedore Local Council of Osun State, Oba Aderemi Adedapo Sapoyoro, Alayemoore conferred a traditional chieftaincy title of Aare Agbasaga of Ido-Osun (meaning President of Culture Promoters in Ido-Osun) on the Canadian Deputy High Commissioner in Nigeria, Mr. Marcello Di Franco.
The conferment ceremony took place at the palace of the traditional ruler, and was well attended as it was witnessed by traditional rulers, chiefs as well as important dignitaries in Ido-Osun, neighbouring suburbs of Ido-Osun and across the State of Osun, members of the immediate family of the Canadian Deputy High Commissioner, friends and well-wishers from Nigeria, Canada and other part of the world. The conferment was in recognition of the diplomat’s efforts at strengthening the educational and cultural relationship between Nigeria and Canada. Building on this, we believe that the relationship can always improve and that is why initiatives like this are very important.
How beneficial will it be to the Nigerian community?
It will be a platform for the promotion of friendship, peace and good relations between both countries. An occasion to inform Nigerians in Canada about activities going on back home, the challenges, the opportunities and how they can be involved to uplift the nation. The event will generate excitements in the media, social, business and diplomatic circles for the promotion of positive media and projection of a positive image for Nigeria, which will help strengthen the case being made by the association of traditional rulers for the institution to be recognised and assigned a constitutional role in Nigeria. The event will also create an avenue for exporting skills through learning exchange program and attracting investors and business franchise through additional business networking event set up by the Tourism Industry Association of Ontario (TIAO) in Niagara Ontario.
What cultural values do Nigerians stand to gain from the event?
Traditional rulers are closer to the grassroots and have a special pride of place, respect and esteem accorded to the institution by Nigerians from all walks of life. The event will focus on our shared values and will connect Nigerians in diaspora who were born in North America or who have lived there over the years, back to their root as they celebrate with Canada.
Any confirmation and support from the traditional rulers and other special guests from Nigeria?
Confirmations are coming back slowly but very positive. We have confirmation and support from His Imperial Majesty (Dr.) Babatunde Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi, Ojaja II, Ooni of Ife; Oba Aderemi Adeen Adedapo Alayemore of Ido Osun and His Royal Majesty Igwe Sir Ralph Obumnemeh Ekpeh Okpalanakana-Ukabia the IV. Chief (Mrs) Nike Davies-Okundaye of Nike Art Gallery is also excited to be part of the event and supporting us with relevant information on Nigerian arts and culture. Kannywoods actor, Ali Nuhu and actress Rahama Sadau, will be leading other members of Kannywood to the event, where they will be meeting with the staff of the Ontario Media Development Corporation (OMDC) for exchange program. We also have the support of the office Special Assistant Creative Arts Development to Governor Nasir El-Rufai, Mrs. Halima Idris, in the area of showcasing made in Kaduna products. Adam Zango, Lanre Teriba, Nike Peller and top comedian, Akpororo, are some of the confirmed artists that will be performing live at the event. As I mentioned earlier, confirmation is slow but coming in positively.
Are there any Nigerian or Canadian Government organization or association supporting this event?
Certainly, we have reached out to all the necessary government agencies in both countries for support. We have the support of Nigeria High Commission in Ottawa, Office of Ramesh Sangha MP, Office of Harinder Malhi MPP, The Ottawa Tourism, The Tourism Industry Association of Ontario (TIAO), National Institute for Hospitality & Tourism (NIHOTOUR), Nigerian Canadian Association NCA-Ottawa, Office and many more.