The idea was preposterous. In 2016, Seun Adigun, Ngozi Onwumere and Akuoma Omeoga were not bobsledders. Like most Nigerian American young adults, they were hard-working, high-achieving college students, who applied steely determination to every
goal they set -- primarily academics, but also, in their case, competitive running. Yet when they heard that Nigeria had never had an Olympic bobsled team, they set a goal to learn to bobsled, raise funds, qualify and compete for Nigeria in the 2018 Winter Olympics, showing women on both sides of the ocean that even preposterous dreams are possible. In the next two years, they succeeded. "Impossible is nothing," exulted Omeoga, celebrating a victory that reflected the strengths of three amazing young women, but also the culture of excellence in which they were raised.
An astonishing 63% of Nigerian Americans over age 25 are college educated, nearly twice the rate of Americans in general. The secret to their success, it seems, is in hard work, close families, and a cultural background that values higher education. In fact, the first major wave of Nigerian immigration during the 1960s to 1970s began with the Nigerian government sending promising students to the U.S. to be educated. Unfortunately for Nigeria -- and fortunately for the U.S. -- many decided to stay, becoming the beginning of a highly educated and hugely successful new segment of American society.
Annual festivals serve as a gathering point for the Nigerian American community, and can be a great introduction to their culture. At the Nigeria Cultural Parade and Festival of Houston, Texas, become immersed in the sights, sounds, and tastes of Nigeria.
In New York city, the popular Nigerian Independence Celebration is a three day annual extravaganza, complete with parade, family culture night, traditional food, and exciting Afro-Beat artists.
Kporie njem ahu!