The Trinidad and Tobago High Commissioner to Nigeria Wendell De Landro has said his country plans using its steel band music to boost cultural exchange between his country and Nigeria. He made this comment during a recent food festival in Abuja: Taste of the Caribbean. He said the high commission plans to introduce steel music in Nigerian schools. He said: “I thought it is best to highlight our Carnival by exhibiting two of our mas costumes which were used for the recent festivities in February 2019 and 2020. They are displayed here together with our steel pan (tenor pan) which is being played by a talented Nigerian. He will be playing calypso music (which is similar to high life music) and also contemporary Nigerian music. Plans are already in place to introduce the steelpan in schools and churches, in fact, the Nigerian National Orchestra is currently using the tenor pan with other African instruments to expand is repertoire”
De Landro also talked about the commonality and historical relationship between his country Nigeria: “Trinidad and Tobago is the considered the most heterogeneous island in the Caribbean and can be considered a melting pot when it comes to the cultural and ethnic make-up of its people. Nigeria although more homogeneous in its ethnicity may be considered similar to Trinidad and Tobago due to its cultural diversity with the various tribes here in Nigeria bringing with them, their own food, language, culture, practices and dress so too the various ethnic groups in my country blend into what I just described as a melting pot with everyone group participating in the cultural practices of the other group especially with food and even religious celebrations. We have descendants of Africans, Indians, Chinese, Lebanese, Syrians, Spanish, French, Portuguese, and British commonly referred to Trinbagonians living as one. It’s a good example of the words of our anthem which says “Every Creed and Race finds an Equal Place.
“Nigeria and Trinidad and Tobago have enjoyed 47 years of diplomatic relations beginning with our independence from Britain. Examples of our bilateral and cultural agreements are: tourism cooperation Agreement between Trinidad and Tobago and Nigeria; Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) in the field of health and medical services; Standard Bilateral Trade Agreement between Trinidad and Tobago and Nigeria; Bilateral Air Services Agreement and Draft Agreement on Scientific and Technological Cooperation.’
On Nigerian and Trinidad and Tobago cuisines, the high commissioner said: “Nigerian food is spicy like our Trinidad and Tobago food, there is a lot of similarity in your jollof rice when compared to our pelau. It is basically, a one-pot dish where a lot of different ingredients are blended together. Our callaloo soup is fashioned from your various vegetable soups. We use the same ground provisions like yams and cassava. Plantain is also a favorite with us. We enjoy the same types of fruits and vegetables as you because of the similar climate in the Caribbean.”