Members of the law school and the Nigerian High Commission post for a photo
From left: Professor Evaristus Oshionebo, Dean Ian Holloway, Mrs. Olawunmi Asekun, His Excellency Mr. Adeyinka Asekun, Professor Gideon Christian Adrian Shellard, for the University of Calgary

July 11, 2022

Grad program success leads to visit from Nigerian high commissioner

Viral tweet connects law school to Nigerian high commissioner in Ottawa, His Excellency Mr. Adeyinka Asekun.

When Faculty of Law dean Ian Holloway tweeted at the 2022 spring convocation ceremony in May, he had no idea his tweet would go viral, let alone result in a visit from the Nigerian high commissioner in Ottawa, His Excellency Mr. Adeyinka Asekun

Among the law school’s class of 2022 were nine graduate students, all from Nigeria. Holloway’s tweet included a photo of the names of the students as well as a mention of the Government of Nigeria. The tweet has had more than one million impressions, 5,100 retweets, and resulted in a number of stories on Nigerian media about the event.  

“I never expected the tweet to take off like it did,” says Holloway. “It was really meant to show the great relationship between UCalgary Law and Nigeria, and a testament to our world-renowned research expertise and our great graduate programs.” 

The tweet sent by Ian Holloway that garnered international attention.

The tweet sent by Ian Holloway that garnered international attention.

After convocation, the Nigerian high commission office reached out to professor Gideon Christian after seeing him on one of the Nigerian national news broadcasts about the event. The high commissioner wanted to congratulate the students on their success during his visit to the city for the Calgary Stampede, and Holloway suggested an event at the law school to showcase where the students earned their degrees.  

On July 9, His Excellency, his wife Mrs. Olawunmi Asekun, and two officers from the high commission, Mr. David Apiran and Mrs. Amaebimo Daniel Tarila were treated to a traditional Stampede breakfast with students and faculty at the law school, and were white-hatted by Holloway.

Since 1950, Calgary has been proudly presenting white cowboy hats to visitors, dignitaries and guests. When someone is presented with a white hat it means they may have come to Calgary as a visitor, but are leaving as a friend. The ceremony involves presenting participants (delegates, visiting guest speakers, VIPs) with a white hat, followed by administering the traditional Calgary white hat oath. 

“We are visiting to celebrate and acknowledge the Nigerian students, to appreciate the Faculty of Law and the university for allowing the students to thrive and achieve what they have accomplished,” says Mr. Asekun.