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Nigerian Canadian community celebrates its own

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MP Steven Fletcher (Charleswood, St. James-Assiniboia, Headingley) is pictured at the NICCOM three-header event on Oct. 4, 2013 at 
Norberry-Glenlee Community Centre.

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MP Steven Fletcher (Charleswood, St. James-Assiniboia, Headingley) is pictured at the NICCOM three-header event on Oct. 4, 2013 at Norberry-Glenlee Community Centre. Photo Store

It's not every day that I have the opportunity to meet a Member of Parliament.

At the Nigeria Canada Congress of Manitoba "three-header" event, held at Norberry-Glenlee Community Centre on Oct. 4, MP Steven Fletcher (Charleswood, St. James-Assiniboia, Headingley) was not only witty but also charming and insightful in his touching keynote remarks.

He added life and spice to the event, bringing greetings from Prime Minister Harper and thereafter narrated the story of how he hit a moose with his car — an accident that eventually forced him to be wheelchair bound.

Fletcher had people laughing as he told how, during an election debate, he had said that, while he was paralyzed from the neck down, what his constituents could not afford was somebody who is paralyzed from the neck up.

He was elected, and the rest, they say, is history.

At the NICCOM three-header event — so-called because it combines a Nigerian independence anniversary celebration with scholarship awards and community achiever’s awards ceremonies —six scholarship awards were given to post-secondary students while four eminent personalities received community leadership awards.

Recipients included Chief Abiola Ajimobi, governor of Oyo state in Nigeria; Devon Clunis, chief of the Winnipeg Police Service; Beatrice Watson, the 2013 YMCA-YWCA Eira (Babs) Friesen lifetime achievement award recipient; and elder Jim Ogunnoiki, a long-time community leader within the Afro-Caribbean and the Nigerian communities.

Mayor Sam Katz and Lt.-Gov. Philip Lee sent in special greetings to NICCOM, participants and awards recipients.

The dynamic Egbe Omo Yoruba of Manitoba cultural group and Ariya Africa put up excellent performances.

Speaking on behalf of all award recipients, Watson was full of praises for the insight of NICCOM leaders in giving out awards to achievers in the community as well as to outstanding students in academics and community service.

Over 50 Fort Richmond residents were at the event, volunteering their time and talent.

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