Pomp as Korea Celebrates 2019 National Day

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Olawale Ajimotokan in Abuja

The Republic of Korea spared no effort by feting its guests at the Congress Hall, Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Abuja, in commemoration of this year’s Korean National day and Cultural Festival 2019.

Over 700 dignitaries attended the event that was hosted by the Ambassador of the Republic of Korea to Nigeria, Lee In-tae and his wife.

The Senate President, Ahmed Lawan; the Minister for Woman Affairs, Mrs. Pauline Tallen; the Minister of State, Mines and Steel Development, Dr. Uchechukwu Ogah, members of the diplomatic corps, top government functionaries, captains of industries and a host of other dignitaries were in attendance.

The star of this year’s edition was Yaemer – an acappella ensemble composed of vocalists and singers from the Seoul Institute of the Arts.

They combined a wide variety of genres with an acappella style and created a unique mix of grand, cute, soulful and joyful songs.

The Yaemar group performed covers of Lion King medley, Man in the mirror (by Michael Jackson), Believer (by Imagine Dragons), One Candle (by G.O.D), Boy in Luv (by BTS) sandwiched by Bigvic’s Highlife performances.

Afterwards, the Yaemer group and Bigvic jointly performed the Nigerian evergreen song, One Love (by Onyeka Onwenu) to the thrill of the audience. After the performances, guests were treated to a buffet of Korean cuisine.

Ambassador Lee thanked the guests for gracing the occasion to celebrate the foundation of the Asian country.

He traced the history of the Korean foundation to when the heavenly prince came down to earth for his love of mankind and married a woman, who bore him a son named Dankun. This son eventually built the first nation of the Korean people, with an ideal to “benefit all mankind.”

Lee said that since then, the Korean people have strived to achieve this ideal by building friendly relations with other countries.

He said that despite a history full of difficulties, particularly in the last century, when they fell victims of colonial repression under Japan, followed by the Korean War, where many died from hunger and poverty, the country has grown in strength.

“Yet, we worked hard and grew strong. We became one of the largest economies in the world, and achieved stable democracy. And now we are trying to achieve peace and prosperity on the Korean Peninsula. For us to succeed, your strong support for our efforts is necessary. Despite the hardships of our history, Korea has become close friends with many countries, especially Nigeria,” Lee said.

Korea and Nigeria established diplomatic ties in 1980 and share many things in common. Both suffered imperialism and civil war, but also share their love for music dancing and spicy food.

“Since we have so much in common, I am confident that Korea and Nigeria will go hand in hand towards the path of peace and prosperity. These similarities have made us good friends.

“To strengthen our friendship, I have been trying to enhance our cooperation not only in political and economic areas but also in area of education and culture. In this regard, my embassy has organised various cultural events like K-Pop contest and Taekwondo competition. At these events, I was so impressed by their passion,” Lee said.