On Nov. 9, UNT’s Nigerian Student Organization [NSO] held “The Tour,” a showcase about the good and bad of Nigeria. “The Tour” consisted of a presentation of facts, videos, dance, song and drama that all centered around Nigeria as a nation.
NSO president Sumayyah Ismail said “The Tour” showcased issues such as corruption, sexism and sexual abuse in Nigeria. They specifically represented these issues through a drama which portrayed a therapy support group discussing the trauma they had been through in the workplace, at university and from family due to traditional or misogynistic values.
“It was important to have this showcase to show people that Nigeria has its good and bad just like any other nation, but the Nigerian people have a hopeful heart,” Ismail said. “Although we have come a long way as a nation, we still have a long way to go.”
Nyeneime Inyang, NSO public relations manager and historian is originally from Akwa Ibom State, Nigeria. Inyang said the NSO put out casting calls and held auditions for all the potential performers. The performances also included spoken word poetry and two songs sung about Nigeria.
“By the end of this event, we hope to educate the students on this campus on how to interact with Nigerian students,” Inyang said. “Our mission statement is to be a ‘home away from home’ for Nigerian students, so this event will act as a bridge between Nigerian students and the rest of the UNT student community.”
Kehinde Joseph Fakuade, NSO vice president and public health major said that a month and a half ago, the executive members prepared an outline of what they wanted the showcase to be. He said that they came up with ideas for what they thought would be essential for the event such as dance, drama, singing and any other form of the arts.
“My involvement with this showcase had to deal with the preparation of the NSO dance team and coming up with some new choreographies for my dancers to learn and perfect prior to that major day,” Fakuade said. “As dance coordinator, it’s in my best interest to make sure that any new moves I personally bring to the table [are] doable and comfortable for my dancers to learn so that the show can be a stellar one.”
At the event, the NSO dance team portrayed traditional Nigeran dance, complete with accents of white face paint. Earlier in the presentation the African Student Organization [ASO] also showcased a performance of traditional African dance.
Ismail said that planning the event was far from easy. She said the most difficult part was coming up with the program and trying to recruit people for the performances.
“In the end, everything worked out fine, and I’m very thankful for that,” Ismail said.
Fakuade said that oftentimes, people have this ideology that Nigeria can only be looked upon in a negative light due to their poor government and corruption issues they face. However, he said, that is not always the case.
“Nigeria, indeed, does have various amazing factors attached to it, such as good food, exquisite clothing, unique tourism sites and much more,” Fakuade said. “The purpose of this showcase is to have people understand that any country is more than what you perceive it to be and you shouldn’t be quick to judge it or speak wrongly of it.”
Though assembling the showcase required a lot of hard work and preparation, the members said that it was all worth it for the organization they love. Fakuade said that the NSO is a more family-based organization that makes others feel a sense of belonging and like they are being loved and welcomed with open arms.
“I love my organization so much, and I wouldn’t want to change it for the world,” Fakuade said.
Inyang said she hopes that their showcase enlightened the audience, comprised of both Nigerians and non-Nigerians, about the achievements and setbacks of Nigeria.
“The media usually pushes a particular narrative about Nigeria which is not necessarily accurate, so with this event, we hope to show the audience the reality of life as a Nigerian in ways that the media or a Google search will not be able to depict,” Inyang said.
Featured Image: The ASO (African Student Organization) dance team members perform at The Tour, a showcase displaying Nigerian culture at UNT on Nov. 9, 2019. Image by Bertha Smith