9th November 2023

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By Olumide Ogunlade

In France, every July 14 is a day of pleasant remembrance, deep appreciation and celebratory moods. It marks the commemoration of the famed French Revolution of July 14, 1789 (otherwise known as the Bastille Revolution) and emergence of a new France where freedom, fairness, friendship, and forwardness are core national values and practices.

Ambassador Blatmann during her remarks.

For the French at home and across the globe, it is a day of immense cultural, and historical importance and brings along with it a deep sense of eternal indebtedness to their gallant men, women and leaders who fought hard and paid the supreme sacrifice to ensure that French Republic becomes a stronger nation and global envy.

The annual anniversary is usually marked with fireworks, military parade, glee & gaiety and displays of national colours in the country’s capital and nationwide. This year’s event in Paris also witnessed colourful celebration as friends and partners of France including Prime Minister Modi of India (being this year’s invited chief guest) gathered to rejoice with President Macron and France government. Nigeria, a longstanding friend of France was not left out of the yearly anniversary commemoration as it witnessed a colourful 234th National Day celebration.

The Independence Day function held at the Alliance Française de Lagos venue saw huge turnout of French nationals and eminent personalities from all walks of life including diplomats, businessmen & women, govt. officials, Civil Society Groups, media representatives and friends of France in Lagos and surrounding states. The programme commenced with the singing of the national anthems of both countries followed by the various remarks read. The Ambassador of France, the event Chief Host, H.E. Mrs Emmanuelle Blatmann in her opening speech expressed her deepest appreciation to the teeming crowd who turned-up for the occasion despite their busy schedules and the various event sponsors.

The elated and elegant Ambassador reeled out the tremendous gains France and Nigeria relations have produced over the years, noting with pride the deep connection between President Macron and Nigeria. She stated with excitement that France is the first country that hosted Nigeria’s new leader, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, and gave assurances that the France Mission in Nigeria under her leadership is continually committed to taking the enviable relationship enjoyed by both nations to greater heights.

The Head of Mission at the France Embassy in Abuja also mentioned during her speech that France is a significant trade partner of Nigeria in the sub-Sahara and the burgeoning commerce and bilateral cooperation between the two countries in the areas of culture, music, education, security & defence, environment, Agriculture, manufacturing and people-to-people engagements amongst others remain unwavering and growing. The convivial Ambassador who spoke interchangeably in French and English and a bit of some of Nigerian dialect urge all stakeholders of these friendships to continually strengthen the cord and sustain the bond. She also used the occasion to appreciate the unforgettable diplomatic assignment of Consul General Monmayrant.

Following the Ambassador’s speech, Mrs Laurence Monmayrant, (the immediate past) France Consul General, France Consulate General in Lagos, also thanked the numerous guests in attendance and particularly, the Governor of Lagos State, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, ably represented by the Secretary to the State Government for being a wonderful host and treasured ‘Consulate Friend and Partner’

Mr Olumide Ogunlade (ANIM Editor-in Chief) with Former French Ambassador in Nigeria H.E (Mrs) Blatmaan

Mr Olumide Ogunlade with Lagos State SSG Mrs Hundeyin

Former Consul General Momayrant & formers Ambassador to Nigeria Mrs Blattmann

Mrs. Monmayrant, a valued friend of Nigerian youths and Acclaim Nigeria International Magazine’s (ANIM) promotional partner, also used the opportunity to informed invitees that though painful, an exciting 4 years of busy, meritorious, eventful and impactful Tour of Duty has come to an end and her successor is now taking over.

The humble, friendly and highly productive personality, an Envoy Per Excellence with accomplished track-records, whose tenure contributed massively to the growth and visibility of France in Lagos and surrounding states also enumerated the accomplishments of the Consulate General under her headship. She thanked the dynamic and lovable Consulate staff for their unflinching support an urge them to keep the unity, devotions and Forward France spirit on.

Lagos State Government represented by its SSG, Ms. ‘Bimbola Salu Hundeyin, a graceful and respected public officer in her remarks during the reception thanked the France Mission in Nigeria, headed by Ambassador Blatmann, its Lagos leadership and the France Team in Nigeria for the admirable working relationship with Lagos State. She also used the opportunity to highlight the importance of the Bastille Day celebrations cooperation and achievements recorded and the current works going-on between France and Lagos state, expressing the government’s development readiness and commitments with the mission and other foreign missions in Nigeria.

The National Day reception was colourful, it was an evening of friendliness, jollity and plenty to eat and drink. The venue setting adorned with France national colours and insignias added to the glamour with glasses clicking, and audience dancing to varieties of music playing.

Kudos to the France Mission in Nigeria for hosting a remarkable reception in Lagos.

Acclaim Nigeria International Magazine covered the event.


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