The Organization for the Advancement of Nigerians (OAN) was founded in 1989 by a group of concerned Nigerians to address the needs of Nigerians living in the United States.
OAN was established with the bold mission to promote and advance the cultural, civil, social, and economic welfare of Nigerians in the United States of America. As part of its mission, OAN works to further enhance the positive image of Nigerians in the U.S. and inculcate in Nigerian youth knowledge of Nigerian history, cultures, customs, traditions, values, and religions. OAN, arguably the most accomplished non-ethnic Nigerian organization in the U.S., has dedicated itself in the last years to burnishing the image of our beloved Nigeria in the United States, and address the negative stereotypes in the American Media.
By highlighting the positive contributions of the vast majority of Nigerians to the American society, OAN successfully convinced the American government and media to be balanced in their approach when dealing with the Nigerian community. OAN’s first major achievement came in 1990 when it successfully convinced U.S. banks to stop denying Nigerians banking services, because of their blanket stereotyping of Nigerian customers. Since its formation, the Organization for the Advancement of Nigerians has consistently engaged in vast array of work that impacts every aspect of our community, both in the United States and in Nigeria. It received its first proclamation from the New York City Council in 1992 and successfully lobbied the New York City Council to recognize Nigeria Independence Day at the City Council Chamber.
It has also become a very formidable political platform and loud voice against unpopular policies and political developments considered to be inimical to the vast majority of Nigerians. Thus, OAN had organized successful rallies and demonstrations in New York and Washington DC some of which were to protest the annulment of the June 12, 1993 election results, the Niger Delta oil-related crisis, and the unjust execution of the late Ken Saro-Wiwa.
The Nigeria Independence Day Parade
OAN started the Nigeria Independence Day Parade in the U.S. in 1991; and this annual event has grown to be the biggest and largest celebration of Nigeria’s Independence Day, outside our homeland. This year’s celebration will kick off with a welcome party on Thursday 4th October; a culture night follows on Friday, October 5; and the Colorful Nigeria Independence Day Parade will round it off on Saturday, October 6.
Organizers of the annual celebration invite progressive-minded governors, members of the legislature, business leaders, and politicians, based on their positive contributions to their constituencies and Nigeria. Prominent artistes from Nigeria are also engaged to entertain our youth: who proudly and boldly display their “Nigerian pride”.
The Nigeria Independence celebration in New York City brings Nigerians from all walks of life and inter-generational groups together in the course of planning and celebrating their homeland. Thousands of Nigerians and friends of Nigeria from all over the world come to New York City each October to celebrate Nigeria. An estimated 30,000 people were at the 2011 celebration.
This celebration is funded by patriotic Nigerians and businesses serving the Nigerian community. While we welcome contributions from private individuals, businesses and government entities, we intend to keep our Independence Day celebration as a privately-run event.
The Organization for the Advancement of Nigerians continues to embrace innovative strategies aimed at fostering unity and cooperation among Nigerians in the belief that, if united, we can effectively address issues impacting our community and our country.
For more information about OAN and its activities, visit www.oanweb.org