BY SHAMAN MOMOH
The above was what respected Nigerian director and producer, Kunle Afolayan posted on his Instagram page on Monday, June 27, 2016.
Afolayan had proceeded on a trip to Calgary, an Alberta city in Canada after being invited by Olori Olufunmilayo Adedeji, for the grand opening of her Olori Theatre Entertainment and Promotions, a film and live theatre company. He evidently fell in love with the city, and on the request of his host, a Calgary White Hat ceremony was organised in his honour.
The White Hat Ceremony is a long-standing tradition in Calgary, a symbol of the Western hospitality and good cheer which the city shares with visiting guests. This tradition dates as far back as 1950. But it is nothing more than just a gesture for guests visiting the city. It definitely has nothing “chiefy” about it and it comes with no title. Just a certificate to remind you that you are now an honorary Calgarian. That is like saying you are a honorary Lagosian.
Kunle Afolayan’s mistake might just be an honest one. Or one soaked in ignorance, but it did mislead the hundreds of thousands of people who follow him on his social media handles. We were fooled too, we should have cross-checked. The title Afolayan has claimed for himself is one even the Mayor of the Canadian city cannot claim.
Findings show that the same welcome he got is extended to about 5,000 people annually. If you are visiting the city, your host can request the ceremony to be held in your honour. It’s that simple!
A person of Afolayan’s calibre shouldn’t be the one found guilty of such pedestrian error. He is simply an Honorary Calgarian. Nothing more.