IGALA ASSOCIATION, USA
ANNUAL CONFERENCE, CINCINNATI , OHIO
(SEPT. 1ST & 2ND, 2006)
Recent advances in science and technology, which have brought about the reduction of the world community into the so-called "global village", have been hailed as positive developments for mankind. But such developments have also adversely impacted minority cultures such as the Igalas, with the result that cultural indices such as language, family values, character and civic development have witnessed sharp declines in recent times.
These observations formed some of the resolutions made by Igala sons and daughters living in North America who met recently on the sprawling campus of Xavier University, Cincinnati, Ohio under the aegis of Igala Association, USA.
The annual conference which had the Governor of Kogi State, His Excellency, Alhaji Ibrahim Idris, in attendance also noted that rather than close the gap, these recent technological developments have widened the gap between the world's rich and poor. And to alleviate the situation, the conference reminded Igala patriots from all walks of life, especially those with means to step up to the plate and become agents of change, which Igala land desperately needs at this time. The task of giving Igala patriots a foothold on the world, and a fighting chance of success in life is one that must be approached with every bit of energy in us.
The conference noted that on the world stage, the African continent stands out for the uniquely deplorable condition of her people, so much so that even kids from other continents recognize her beggarly status, but within Africa, Nigeria, despite her enormous resources lags tragically behind other less endowed countries and economies. And what is worse is that among Nigeria 's ethnic nationalities, Kogi state and Igala people occupy an unenviable position in economic, social and political standings.
The conference also noted that, while it may be true that successive leaders of our people both at state and community levels may have failed us, we, as regular citizens and followers have also let ourselves and communities down. Some of the ways in which the conference said individual Igala patriots and groups have let the community, include our failure to demand accountability and commensurate service from those who rise to positions of leadership and authority in our name.
Also noted in very strong terms is the fact that, rather than consolidating the cultural values and foundation handed us by our foreparents, we have increasingly grown to become a people in perpetual search of identity. The conference also observed that while quality education remains elusive to a critical mass of our people, quite a handful of our compatriots continue to distinguish themselves in different spheres of life, while bringing honor to our land.
Attended by a motivated array of Igala patriots resident across the United States , Canada , the United Kingdom , Germany and Nigeria , the conference resolved that there was no substitute for inspired, honest leadership backed by an informed citizenry, if the task of reversing the pathetic state of the Igala nation is to be achieved.
The association resolved to get down to work in ernest on a concrete project that will benefit people resident in Igala land, preferably in the area of Agro-industry. The secretariat of the association was mandated to constitute a panel to advise the full house on the best way to approach this.
Incidentally, the man at the political helm of affairs in Kogi State , His Excellency, Governor Ibrahim Idris was in attendance. The conference noted with some praise and encouragement the efforts of the Ibrahim Idris-led administration to provide much needed infrastructures such as roads, pipe borne water, electricity and medical care for the citizenry. The praise followed a laundry list of achievements read out by governor, to the credit of his administration. Though, a much anticipated question and answer session between the governor and members of Igala Association, USA did not hold, the concerns and frustrations of members of the Igala diaspora was conveyed to the governor through the leadership of the association.
The governor praised the efforts of the founders and members of Igala Association, USA for their commitment and determination to seek solutions to the myriad problems confronting Igala land. The conference also praised the efforts of members of the Ohio delegation, which not only organized the conference, but also provided the food and other facilities that made participation worth the while of the participants. In particular, Dr. and Mrs. Baba, our chief hosts, as well as Mrs. Theresa Edoja and family, the Umar Abdullahi family, the Anthony family, the Ebikwo family and Sunday Onoja (all residents of Ohio and Indiana) were praised for giving of their time and money. Indeed, all the participants were praised for giving selflessly of their money, time, spirit, love and other resources, which no amount of money could have bought.
In particular, the heroics of the president of the association, Dr. Sam Alfa was singled out for praise, as he continues to work tirelessly to lay a solid foundation for the still fledgling association. As a result, he was returned unopposed as the president of the association for another term. Also given the mandate to serve the association for another term is the vice president, Mr. Joseph Attawodi, while Abu Acheneje stays on as Secretary General. The position of Treasurer is now however held by Mrs. Bridget Abuh, as the former holder of that office, Ms. Achenyo Idachaba decided to step down. The former Financial Secretary, Mr. Amade Abalaka is now the PRO/social secretary, while Mr. Ibe Michael Ogu becomes the new Financial Secretary.
Like the previous year, the constitution was not ratified either, hence the election was held to have a care-taker group for a year pending the final ratification of the constitution. The constitution committee was charged with the mandate of completing the assigned task of getting a working constitution for the Association, hence the admonition to get any suggestion for amendment to them for inclusion.
There was also a huge cry and desire to begin to put into action all that have been discussed and suggested from year to year. With the little contribution from the levy of $200, there was the desire to start a project at home, even if it is on a small scale. That way, we can begin to be identified with such a project. Some of the suggested projects include agro-industry, etc. It was strongly noted that we should desist from sectionalism when such a project is underway, in order to allow for full commitment from the Association, as long as the project benefits Igalaland. Like in the past, we were reminded that we should attempt to do things at home to look towards self-sufficiency of our people.
It was also resolved that, with the great enthusiasm demonstrated for the annual conference, we should begin to charge a minimal conference fee from henceforth in order to offset the cost of the conference. We were encouraged to know that our commitment must also reflect our pockets.
It was also resolved that, with the meeting be referred to as "Conference", and no longer "Symposium". This was in concert with the nature of the gathering that was beginning to be more like a conference.
The regional coordinators were encouraged to continue more to reach out to the Igala sons and daughters in their regions to increase the membership. The effect of their efforts could be seen in the attendance at this year's conference. Similarly, everyone was encouraged to reach out to others.
It was also resolved that we need to continue to work on unity among us, as we cannot achieve anything unless we work together. It was more of a reminder of what out logo says: Udama Ch' Ukpahiu. Achieving this includes: being tolerant of one another, and reaching out to one another. To this end, participants were encouraged to view occasional friction as a necessary step towards progress, instead of an end to progress. Friction should be seen as a stepping stone or traction to move forward, not backwards or fall.
The issue of keeping Igala culture and customs alive was resounded at the conference. This calls for involvement of our children in our meetings through some educational programs and other activities that will continue to be of great interest to them to look forward to such gatherings from year to year.
Below is the roll call of those who participated in this year's symposium:
His Excellency, Alhaji Ibrahim Idris ( Kogi State )
His Honorable, Mr. Isaac Onuh, Esq. ( Kogi State )
Mr. Yakubu Y. Abubakar ( Kogi State )
Mr. Paul Attah ( United Kingdom )
Mr. Simon Ali ( Germany )
Dr. Sam Alfa ( Maryland )
Mrs. Fatima Alfa ( Maryland )
Dr. Aaron Baba ( Ohio )
Mrs. Pauline Baba ( Ohio )
Dr. Andrew Zekeri ( Alabama )
Mrs. Lilian Zekeri ( Alabama )
Dr. Michael Idachaba ( Missouri )
Mrs. Deborah Idachaba ( Missouri )
Mr. David Shaibu ( Maryland )
Mrs. Mary Shaibu ( Maryland )
Mr. Ogu Idakwoji ( New York )
Mr. Amade Abalaka ( Massachusetts )
Mr. Joseph Attawodi ( New York )
Mr. Joel Jaja ( South Carolina )
Mrs. Regina Ijaja ( South Carolina )
Mr. Chris Okolo ( New York )
Mr. Ameh Okolo ( Kentucky )
Ms. Achenyo Idachaba ( Virginia )
Mr. Abu Acheneje ( Maryland )
Dr. Yahaya Abuh ( Florida )
Mrs. Bridget Abuh ( Florida )
Mr. Idoko Abuh ( Florida )
Ms. Ramatu Sule ( Maryland )
Mr. Ibe Ogwu ( Massachusetts )
Mr. Sunday Onoja ( Indianapolis )
Mr. Sonnie Ebikwo ( Indianapolis )
Mrs. Deborah Ebikwo ( Indianapolis )
Dr. Martin Uwodi ( Illinois )
Mr. Mohammed Opaluwa ( Illinois )
Mr. Yahaya Ayuba ( Illinois )
Mrs. Rekiya Ayuba ( Illinois )
Mr. Moses Amodu ( Illinois )
Ms. Theresa Abah Edoja ( Ohio )
Mr. Umar Abdullahi ( Ohio )
Mrs. Fatima Abdullahi ( Ohio )
Mr. Gordian Igwilo ( Ohio )
Mr. Joseph Attawodi ( New York )
Mr. Dominique Ugbeda ( Georgia )
Mrs. Ludmilla Ugbeda ( Georgia )
Mr. Daniel Emah ( Georgia }
Dr. Paul Ocheje ( Canada )
Mrs. Winifred Ocheje ( Canada )
Mr. John Ojih ( Rhode Island )
Mrs. Amina Osagie ( Michigan )
Dr. Augustine Osagie ( Michigan )
Mrs. Teresa Taggert-Uwaifo ( Texas )
Mr. Anthony Augustine ( Ohio )
Mrs. Celina Augustine ( Ohio )
Mr. Reuben Ukwela ( Ohio )
Rev. Anthony Agbali ( Missouri )
Mr. Augustine Ayeace ( New Jersey )
Mrs. Ejura Ayeace ( New Jersey )
Mr. Aminu Abdullahi ( New Jersey )
Children in attendance
Ojochoka Anne Alfa
Ojodale Ephraim Alfa
Ojogbane Stephen Alfa
Susan Onechojo Baba
Matthew Ilemona Baba
Victor Ojonugwa Baba
Matthew Iko-Ojo Idachaba
Joshua Egahi-Ojo Idachaba
Faith Aye Idachaba
Onuche Abubakar Ayuba
Austin Osagie, Jr
Samuel Alfa, PhD, President,
Abu Acheneje, Secretary General
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IGALA ASSOCIATION USA
P. O. Box 7932 Largo
Upper Marlboro, MD 20792.
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