Friday, December 28, 2018
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had the privilege of hosting Nigerians United in Nebraska's annual Christmas party last Saturday. It was lit! Not because I hosted it, nor because I spent two weeks cleaning, setting up, and harassing my kids. Rather, it's because this group of Nigerians, SHOW UP. Once they commit to something, they put their energies and resources into its successful execution.

I proposed hosting the event as part of a wider strategy to bring the independence celebration to Omaha which is larger and has higher number of Nigerians, than Lincoln. Once the executive then the general membership agreed Omaha should host the party, they were fully committed. I posted the menu and ladies grabbed what they'd cook. Moi moi, ogbono soup, pepper soup, fried rice, and chicken checked off the list. A week to the date, only a few items remained unassigned. The men were levied $20 each for drinks. We were on a roll.

On Saturday, folks began showing up bearing savory dishes at 4:00 pm. By 5:00, our president was ready to go. After a slight delay for a key member bringing 25% of our dishes, prayers were said, food was served to our brood of youngsters (and we have many as with every Nigerian gathering), and the DJ was dropping it hot. At its height, we had seventy people - Ogoni, Igbo, Yoruba, Edo, and affiliated Nigerians - eating, drinking, dancing, and making new friends.

Absent was the backbiting, cliques, and whingeing that sour such get-togethers. Also absent was lackluster leadership whereas no one knows what to do nor take ownership of what needs to be done. Nobody hogged the limelight, and none complained about things while being unwilling to lift a finger to effect change. Instead, people focused on extending goodwill.

The top grades awarded to Nigerians United is not simply because of a great end of year party, but a cumulative of interactions with the group and a comparison with others. They show up for picnics, Independence Day celebration, charity donations, etc. While the cohesiveness of the group has a lot to do with leadership, it is also about followership. Leaders are willing to cast the vision and seek buy-in. Members are willing to buy-in and run the vision. No lip or eye service and no babysitting of grown folk. People simply do what they say they'll do. They show up. So refreshing.

Thank you, Nigerians United in Nebraska!