A popular R&B singer in Nigeria once sang, “Ain’t No Party Like the Lagos Party.’’ That was quite true of the last Independence Day Party at the Residence of the US Consul General F. John Bray in Ikoyi. The peaceful lagoon side residence was besieged by the invited guests drawn from the creative community as well as members of the diplomatic corps.
The security checks were expected-starting point was the restriction of vehicular movement in front of the residence of the Consul General. It was a course of wisdom to choose a pair of shoe with moderate heels as the invitation email didn’t offer a clue as to the cocktail nature of the party or the soil texture at the venue.
Lush grasses covering soft soil, food stands, gas burners, tempting arrangement of ice cream cones, empty but inviting wine glasses and huge burger piles would welcome every new guest arriving at the venue. There were just a few cane chairs for those who might not like standing for too long. For those who couldn’t get a seat, the better option was to dance. Naturally, the party was a nice mix of both American and Nigerian themes especially in food and clothing content. It was no surprise to see the consulate officers caught in the aso-ebi fever; they were mostly dressed in blue Ankara-inspired dresses. A brief display by the Marine Security Guard signalled the beginning of the show while Yinka Davies, Nigeria’s own singer joined the list of musicians who have performed the American national anthem, “The Star-Spangled Banner’’. The soulful composition had been performed by the likes of Whitney Houston, Lady Gaga, Jennifer Hudson, Beyonce, Diana Ross, Jordin Sparks, Christina Aguilera and a host of other goose-pimples provoking singers in history. Davies finished off with her rendition of the two stanzas of the Nigerian national anthem while others sang along in the spirit of patriotism.
For the Consul General, Bray, it was an evening of gratitude to the Lagos team who made the show possible.
“I’m very happy that most of our friends could join us this evening to celebrate United states of America’s 242nd Independence Day. My part this evening is pretty short. I’m here to thank all the people that made this possible. An event like this is only possible with the hard work and support of many. “I’d like to thank the staff most of whom are departing Lagos and will be missed. As you know Lagos is a vibrant commercial hub in this country. And so, many American companies in residence continue to support this event,’’ he said. Asides the mentoring talk, another highlight of the evening was the performance by the Sharp Band. The band dished out loads of Nigerian cover of popular American songs and generated some tangos on the dance floor.