Got Ogbono? The Nigerian Independence Parade

I was all set for what I thought would be a real downer of a parade.  I expected to almost revel in how minor an event it would be.  But the Nigerians ended up coming through with a pretty good parade.

Last year, I had accidently run into the parade on my way home from some wanderings and had been entranced/bemused by the display.  I had seen a series of flatbed trucks packed with people just bouncing to some loud music; most of them didn’t even have any banners on the flatbeds.  The parade moved incredibly slowly and I had done my grocery shopping at one point and when I came out, the parade had barely moved.

And I expected just about the same this year.  But that wasn’t to happen.  This year, I went out a little early for the parade and found myself a good spot around 47th.  The parade was on 2nd Avenue and the cops had blocked off about half of the street (lengthwise) and still let two lanes continue on.

The parade was to start at 1pm.  Well, that time came and went and all that I was seeing were me and the cops.  There was a flow of Nigerians (discernable from their green and white clothing) heading northward, where the parade was to begin.  A perverse part of me started to think that perhaps that was the parade…just an occasional group of one or two or five people on the sidewalk.  That would have been even more low-key than last year.

At 1:25pm, it was still just me and the cops.  Amazing.

 At 1:30, I started to hear some music in the distance and people started to line up at the barricades.  By 1:45, I’ve seen the beginning of the parade.  The parade started 54th Street, so it had taken them 45 minutes or so to get 6 blocks…if they had started on time.

Finally, they arrived.  This is the only Manhattan parade that I’ve been at the very beginning and not seen the cops on horses.  Nor were there any politicians; although that’s happened a number of times.  But they did have the other staple:  the dignitaries.



Of course, I haven’t the slightest idea of who any of them are.  But this guy looked pretty impressive.


It was interesting that a lot of the Nigerians were happy to pose for photos during the parade.  I have to admit I liked that a lot.  Usually, marchers are caught up in what they’re doing or talking with their friends or even talking on cell phones.

There were a number of different groups that came through.  None of them were slickly produced or had expensively created stuff.  Here are a couple of examples.



 The parade had one marching band.  I don’t know if they had any direct connections to Nigeria as one of the members handed me a card when he saw me taking pictures.  The band is called the “Pan-American Marching Band of New York”.  Nevertheless, they were good and loud; and that counts for a lot in a marching band.



But they did have some company that looked very Nigerian.


The parade was reasonably long, but the highlight of the parade came with the MoneyGram float.  They were playing some loud recorded music and, during a pause in their slow progress, some of the float riders decided to dance.  It was great!






 And I’d be remiss not to mention that the parade did have another standard item in the parade:  men in skirts.  Okay, these guys cheated by also wearing pants, but I think the streak of every parade having some men in some sort of skirt does continue.


 There were a number of other floats and groups and the like.  But one of the more interesting items about the parade was, as usual, the crowd.


As parade viewers go, this was a pretty diverse set of people.  But I think the key is that most of the Nigerians on Second Avenue during that perfect Saturday afternoon were actually in the street marching with their countrymen.

An aside:  just before the parade started, a woman had come by to find out what was going on.  I told her about the parade and how I had expected it to be a poorly executed and viewed parade based on what I had seen last year.  I think this caught her attention and she stuck around for most of the parade.  She’s with a well-known foreign policy thinktank (in a staff support role) and may simply have had a sympathetic reaction to such a pronouncement.  Instead, she got a pretty good parade and she was actually very supportive of the groups that were marching past.  (My apologies for leading you astray.)

And finally:  ogbono.  I dunno.  It was on a shirt that I saw.  Apparently ogbono is a type of nut that Nigerians use to make a variety of their staple foods.


Explore posts in the same categories: Events, Manhattan, Mid-town, Parades

8 Comments on “Got Ogbono? The Nigerian Independence Parade”

  1. […] why they weren’t holding it in Queens.  (On the other hand, I don’t think many Nigerians live on Second Avenue, but their consulate is there and is probably a hub of their social network.)  Nevertheless, I […]

  2. asidere duke Says:

    ogbono is a kind of slippery soup, that we relish in nigeria.

    • Jitendra Says:

      hello there and thank you for your information – I have denefitily picked up anything new from right here. I did however expertise some technical points using this web site, as I experienced to reload the site a lot of times previous to I could get it to load correctly. I had been wondering if your web hosting is OK? Not that I’m complaining, but sluggish loading instances times will often affect your placement in google and can damage your quality score if ads and marketing with Adwords. Anyway I am adding this RSS to my e-mail and could look out for a lot more of your respective exciting content. Make sure you update this again soon..

  3. asidere duke Says:

    what happened to good governance in our country nigeria? we need to answer this question. the world should help the clowns who rule nigeria please……..

  4. asidere duke Says:

    the price of justice is pretty high in nigeria. look at the flawed elections we had in 2007, till nov. 2008 we are yet to sort out the appeals . as we say in nigeria na waoh……

  5. asidere duke Says:

    its christmas all over the world. yet in my part of lagos nigeria.we have not had light for a few weeks….. the previous government spent 16 billion dollars tryiny to sort out our power problems…. the world should help nigeria……

  6. asidere duke Says:

    we have an incompitent president. he did not win the 2007 elections. he knows. obasanjo knows. iwu, the lunatic inec boss knows. the world should help Nigeria

  7. Oxana Says:

    You have made me one glad woman. Stumbled on your site as I searched for notritiun choices for Nigerians, only to find you! I love to exercise but have had problems finding substitutes for the Caucasian fat burning meals I have come across. My interest is in the fat loss recipe bible. Is it ready now? What will it cost me? Keep up the excellent job,the Nigerian public owes you a great deal of thanks. Here’s mine: THANK YOU!!!!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: