Communique of the
Third National Symposium of the Igala Association, USA

The third in the series of the annual symposium of Igala Association Inc., USA was successfully held at the conference hall of the Points of Light Foundation, downtown Washington, DC from August 31st to September 1st.

As stated in the announcement and build materials leading up to the symposium, the theme of this year's gathering was UNITY AND SOLIDARITY. Consequently, discussion sessions and activities all centered on strategies for achieving unity and solidarity among Igala sons and daughters of diverse background, scattered across the United States. Symposium participants came from near and far places such as Washington DC, Maryland, Virginia, Pennsylvania, New York, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Ohio, South Carolina, Alabama, Michigan and Georgia.

The two-day gathering, which was ably moderated by Dr. Andrew Zekeri (Auburn, AL) took several far reaching decisions with a view to:

1· forge a greater sense of unity among Igala sons and daughters living in North America, in order that one person’s problem will become the problem of all of us; and by so doing reach out to one another for solutions;

2· foster a greater sense of commitment and enthusiastic participation in the activities of the young association;

3· Strengthen the association in all ramifications, and engender a greater sense of belonging among ourselves.

To achieve these goals, the symposium, among other things, increased membership of the board of trustees from two to six. The new members are: Ms. Ramatu Sule (Columbia, MD), Dr. Aaron Baba (Cincinnati, OH), Dr. Andrew Zekeri (Auburn, AL), Dr. Sule Ochai (State College, PA). They are expected to join the existing two members (Mr. Alloysius Ocheni and Dr. Yakubu Momoh) to give the association new impetus and fresh lease on life. 
Similarly, mild changes were done to the executive council, while new offices were filled. The post of Internal Auditor which was held by Dr. Aaron Baba prior to his appointment to the board of trustees was taken up by Mr. Joel Jaja (South Carolina), while Mr. John Shaibu was made the Assistant Public Relations Officer (PRO). To cap the changes, Mr. John Ojih (Rhode Island) was appointed National Coordinator, to foster this agenda of unity and solidarity among our folks. Per constitutional provisions, all other EXCO members remain intact until the next symposium.

Talking about next symposium, it was resolved that the DC/Maryland/Virginia region should continue to play host until such a time when other branches/regions are well entrenched to undertake the task of hosting and organizing, which everyone admitted is not exactly a tea party. The date for the 2003 edition will be communicated to members in due course. The newly constituted board of Trustees was charged with the task of putting together a Symposium Committee, which will take the responsibility of organizing the 2003 symposium.

Recognizing that core Igala values were fast eroding, and that Igala language itself was fast losing its purity, the symposium resolved to encourage activities that will promote our values such as encouraging our people, both young and old, to speak as much Igala as possible in the conduct of the symposium.

Held with great pomp, panache and spice, the gathering was made particularly Igala-friendly with the introduction of exclusive Igala activities such as Ita (proverbs), Akpo (exchange of trenchant banters with morals and wisdom, as well as Ohiaka/Ohiala (fairy tales).

The symposium was also spiced with a presentation on business ideas with the emphasis on sharing business ideas by Igalas, and promoting them. Such a venture was started this year with emphasis on real estate business. It was, therefore, resolved that the Association will post any business by Igalas on its website, if such is made available to the Public Relations Officer and Assistant.

The symposium, while recognizing the financial constraints on members, resolved to continue with the association’s main ongoing project, which is the establishment of a library/resource center at Prince Abubakar Audu University, Anyigba. However, it was emphasized that the financial aspect of the project should not deter new members since they are not obligated to pay towards it. Indeed, it was made clear that contributions towards the project are not mandatory levies, but strictly voluntary donations which members should pay at their convenience. It was also reiterated that the drive for books, teaching aides and other material contributions should be stepped up. It was resolved that the availability of such materials should be communicated to the National Secretariat in order to make arrangements for the shipping.

The symposium also recognized and applauded the importance and achievements of like-minded organizations such as Ufedo club, Igala Students Association (ISA), the Igala Association (UK group) and Ateko club, as well as other such groups based both in the ancestral homeland and elsewhere. It was resolved that as time goes on, and opportunities present themselves, our association will seek to engage in collaborative efforts with these organizations to bring about the positive transformation of Igala land, which we all crave. The symposium also recognized the work of the Igala Summit, which started last year, and we encourage every Igala to attend the second annual summit coming up in December 2002 at Anyigba. (Please watch out for the announcement).

The executive council was charged to liaise with the board of trustees to examine emerging issues, which are not adequately addressed by the constitution and come up with acceptable resolutions in the weeks ahead for amendment.

For more information about the Third Annual National Symposium, Igala Association, Inc (USA), the Constitution, and other related materials, write to: Igala Association, USA, P.O. Box 29029, Washington, DC 20017.

Sam Alfa, Ph.D., President

Abu Acheneje, Secretary.


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