New York-based Institute of International Education stated that in 1926 there were only three documented Nigerian students in United States universities. That number swelled to an astronomical number of 22 in 1944. Over the years students arriving in the US were sponsored either by their parents and relatives either in Nigeria or in the United States through some form of University financial aid. Late 1970s and 1980s experienced a large influx of Nigerian students and soon rose to top six in the number of foreign students in the United States. After studies, many returned home, the 1980s Nigeria’s economy began declining at a tragic rate, many Nigerians remained in the United States and obtained citizenship. After becoming citizens many Nigerian Americans brought their relatives into the United States. According to 1990 census figures, there were approximately 91,688 people of Nigerian ancestry living in the United States. Nigerians in 1990 were 91,688 and in 2000 in had grown to 165,481. Today it is estimated that over 5 million Africans now live in North America.
According to the US Census Bureau, Nigerians are the most educated ethnic group in the United States. Nigerian immigrants have the highest educational attainment of any immigrant group in the United States, with higher levels of completed education than East Asian Americans, who had been stereotyped as a model http://www.absoluteastronomy.com/topics/Model_minority minority.
For over a century, Europe was the preferred address for Africans outside of Africa. Recently North America, principally US and Canada have become the new frontier for Africa. In migrating to this new land, Africans like other immigrants brought with them their cultural endowment that has tremendously shaped the characters of Africans as it relates to their sensibilities and folkways.
Nigerians who came into the US in the ‘60’s, 70’s, come as independents or on Federal scholarships and were scattered all over the continent and have little or no desire to form associations. These Nigerians, as they increased in number and were becoming concentrated in some cities in the US began to entertain a need to form association.
SAN was formed in 1991 as a non-profit 501(c)(3) national association by a group of well-meaning and patriotic Nigerians led by the late Dr. Newton Ekpo, its first president and later its first BOD (Board of Directors) Chairman as a way to reposition, and bring meaning to Nigeria’s coat of arms: “unity and faith, peace and progress” to all Nigerians in our new found home here in the Sacramento region of this great state, California. This was premised with the understanding that there is a need to forge unity, faith, peace and progress amongst all Nigerians and friends of Nigeria to showcase Nigeria’s huge, diverse cultural heritage with all.
And as such, SAN continues to wax stronger in pursuit of these laudable and achievable goals as we continue to forge and bring value to our families, friends and the wider community we serve.
The goal of SAN is to make it a resource for new Nigerian immigrants, to bring families together, provide medium where our growing children and young adults can relate to each other and also, as a medium to keep the family unit stable through programs offered by, and sponsored by SAN.
Before Nigeria’s independence in 1960, in the early 1914 through the amalgamation of Nigeria as a civil entity, Nigerians had tendencies to move to the regions of the country that was perceived to have more job opportunities. These migrations became also prevalent in our newly acquired homes here in northern California, although, which is a different environment to what attains back in Nigeria; not just culturally but legally as well. It provides us a predictable legal environment and guaranteed property rights.
WHAT WE ARE DOING AT SAN, AND CONTINUE TO IS ENGAGING IN ACTIVITIES THAT FURTHERS OUR ADAPTATION TO OUR NEW ENVIRONMENT, AMONG OTHERS:
- By having the National Association serving as resources and support group to new immigrants in our found community
- Offering programs to protect family structure
- Becoming a viable community rather than individualistic behaviors we currently engage
- Establish businesses and form business partnerships
- Provide support to the man so he remains a solid father and the pillar and head of his household regardless of his income status
- Provide strong support to the woman so she remains a strong mother and pillar of her household
- Become a political force in our community by electing one of our own to Council, Assembly, House of Representatives, Senate etc
So, if you aren’t yet part of this success story called SAN, now is the best time to do so for SAN as the only viable, pioneer umbrella association of Nigerians can, and continues to make things happen.