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Now in its second year, and in recognition of how passionate Nigerians are about the Independence celebration based on how widely celebrated it is by millions of Nigerians at home and in the Diaspora, the Independence Gala Dinner and Community Excellence Awards are the newspaper’s annual flagship events. While it commemorates Nigeria’s independence as a nation, it also celebrates excellent achievements of individual Nigerians and corporate Nigerian entities in different fields of endeavours in the South Africa society. Also, it celebrates Nigeria-South Africa relationship as well as other friends of Nigeria by recognizing Nigeria-friendly individuals and organizations. The need for the event is also necessitated by our commitment to encouraging and honouring leadership excellence and development initiatives among top political leaders and private decision-makers in Nigeria.

The event is also inspired by our commitment to telling the Nigerian success stories in the Diaspora with specific focus on spotlighting Nigerians who are making positive impacts and contributing to the development of their host community. The event is seen as an important communication tool to showcase the best of Nigerians in Diaspora and diverse Nigerian cultural heritage to our host society and the rest of the world. At the international front, it is aimed at bridging diplomatic gap between Nigerians and other nations in South Africa.

Finally, the need for the event is a necessity considering the increasing growth of the Nigerian Community in South Africa. This can no longer be over-looked considering the financial potentials it commands. Estimated records by the Nigerian Consulate in Johannesburg presently puts the Nigerian population at more than 400,000 with more still arriving as stated by the Nigerian Consul General Okey Emuchey MFR. Other sources have been quick to state that the Nigerian population in South Africa is more than a million people. Nigerians all over the world are known to be passionate about their identity and patriotic to anything Nigerian, this astronomical population and hunger in taste for anything Nigerian has been a major reason that births this event.

This year, the awards categories increase from 11 to 35, giving recognitions to other important aspects of Nigerians social and economic life in South Africa. The awards ceremony also beams searchlight on our homeland, Nigeria; it will honour Leadership Excellence at national and local levels. Nominations and final winners will be coordinated by a committee comprising of eminent Nigerians in South Africa in conjunction with our editorial board.