Heritage Bank Plc has partnered the Office of the Senior Special Adviser to the President on Diaspora and Foreign Affairs and the Lagos State Government to organise the 2017 Diaspora Festival Badagry with the theme, ‘’Door of Return Ceremony Badagry.”
The festival, which held recently in the ancient town of Badagry, was hinged on ‘’The Door of Return Ceremony’’ and cultural displays.
The Door of Return Ceremony forms the ideological basis of the festival, which symbolises the emancipation of the black race as well as an expression of the Diaspora string and affiliation to African culture and heritage.
Describing the event, a statement by the bank read in part, “It was also an advocacy programme that raised awareness about the continuous fight against oppression, neo-colonialism and enslavement and represented a symbolic boat trip by notable black persons in the Diaspora (emigrants, descendants of slaves and leaders of thoughts) where the boat convey them to the ‘Point of No Return’ in Badagry, which is the door way through which slaves were charted away as chattels to the plantations in the Americas, with the intention of never to return to their homeland again.” The lender said the two-day event featured carnival procession, boat regatta, fishing competition, dark era procession, Diaspora dinner, beauty pageant, fashion show, cultural displays, heritage site visits, heritage night, the festival market, international music, concert and talent hunt.
It noted that the event was attended by senior officials in the Presidency, traditional rulers, corporate bodies and tourists from far and near.
Speaking on Heritage Bank’s involvement in the programme, Mrs. Ozena Utulu, a member of the Brand Management and Compliance Unit, said the lender partnered the organisers of the fiesta because the event promoted the African heritage and culture and resonated with what the brand stood for.
She said, “Heritage Bank speaks and is proud of the African cultural heritage, which is the essence of who and what they are.”
She added that the bank was committed to Africans in Diaspora because when they returned, they would need a financial institution to bank with and Heritage Bank would be there to care for them.
The Senior Special Adviser to the President on Diaspora and Foreign Affairs, Mrs. Abike Dabiri-Erewa, who declared that the ‘Door of No Return’ made popular during the transatlantic slave trade in Africa, had become the ‘Door of Return’ to Africans in the Diaspora through Badagry.
She also noted that the development would showcase the African continent to the world in good light and on a positive note.