As Irish Americans and people across the globe prepare to celebrate Saint Patricks Day with Guinness, parades, funny Leprechaun Hats, Shamrocks, and much much more its worth taking note that the Irish have stretched their tentacles to nearly every last corner in the world, including believing it not, Nigeria!!
In 1961 when Ireland opened its first embassy in Lagos Nigeria, Irish Bishops resident in the country officially named Saint Patrick as the Patron Saint of Nigeria. But the Irish presence in the country goes back generations with iconic Irish Nationalist Roger Casement having served as consular in Calabar Nigeria in the 1890’s. Casement seen in Nigeria a lot of the same oppression that was being perpetrated against the natives in his homeland and this was said to have influenced him when he later embarked upon his crusade against colonial rule.
In the 1920’s Irish Priests established a holy order in the country which was setup to spread the word of god, but what the Priests hadn’t bargain for was that the Guinness that they took over from Ireland would begin to spread like wildfire as locals fought pitched battles over who would consume the drink.
Eventually the Guinness craze became so extreme that the local population unsatisfied with the standard 4% alcohol content invented their own version of the drink which came with a whooping 7.5% alcohol. Over time, Guinness has become the most popular drink in the Nigeria, and remarkably enough, their current rate of consumption outstrips even the Irish.
There also has been a long history of trade between the two countries, and records show that the dairy trade alone to the African Country was worth €140million to the Irish Economy in 2015. Irish Minister Simon Conveney has previously been on record for stating that he hopes that trade to Nigeria will increase to as much as €600 million.
Nowadays there is an ever increasing Nigerian population in Ireland with many of them proving to be very industrious and innovative in the business sectors.
One such man is Emeka Ikwukeme who hails from the southern part of Nigeria, but has resided in Ireland over 15 years. Emeka's entrepreneurial is clearly demonstrated by his invention of a totally unique Tax App which promises to hone in on whatever tax deductions you’re entitled to and the App also has the ability to do all of your payroll work for you.
Emeka tells me with a cheeky glint in his eye that, “From now on people will be paying their taxes with a smile.”
Its quite clear that the long bonds that join Ireland and Nigeria together are set to deepen and in future we can expect much more integration between the two nations. And so with the big day on the horizon, I think it’s time to raise a pint of Guinness in toast to Saint Patrick the Patron Saint of Ireland……… and Nigeria!!