One of the greatest gifts I cherish as a Canadian citizen is the collective joy to serve the community voluntarily, and to put something tangible back into the community.
In my several years of volunteering with many selfless and highly committed people through the Nigeria-Canada Congress of Manitoba (NICCOM), my passion to continue serving the less privileged has been fired up many times.
One such time was mid-May this year when a lady from Winnipeg South MP Rod Bruinooge’s office called to inform me that our community organization would be supported to host Multiculturalism Day and Canada Day. We had invested our personal resources in organizing these events in the past.
This year, the Department of Canadian Heritage provided financial support and NICCOM celebrated the Canadian Multiculturalism Day in grand style in the month of June with both federal and provincial ministers in attendance Heritage Minister Shelly Glover and Manitoba Multiculturalism Minister Flor Marcelino. Other dignitaries at the free event, which drew a large crowd included Elder Ogunnoiki, Officer Ogungbemi, Elder Opanubi, Elder Daodu, Keith Bellamy (chair of the Manitoba Arts Council and currently director of development of the Winnipeg Folk Festival), with Yisa Akinbolaji, an internationally-acclaimed visual artist.
It was a delight to see beautiful costumes, dancing steps and cultural displays by the Egbe Omo Yoruba Cultural Group along with Chinese performers, Irish dancers, the Ariya Afrika dancers, a fashion show and more.
"The 2014 July 1 Canada Day NICCOM event at the Assiniboine Park was a blast, as it gathered and fed over 400 individuals from various communities who proudly celebrate all we have in common including games, shows, free traditional food, family and children activities," said Kenny Daodu, chair of the organizing committee and Mr. Adegboyega Aiku, secretary of NICCOM, in a joint statement.
The event also commemorated the 150th anniversary of the Charlottetown and Québec Conferences, important anniversaries in Canadian history.