NAUGURAL MEETING OF NAUSDA
First invitation to some Uromi sons and daughter to have an umbrella organization in U.S. (No Response).
Those invited: [email protected]; [email protected]; Ralph Okojie, ([email protected])[email protected]
Subject: Unite for Strength and Progress.
Sent: Friday September 21, 2007 11;32 pm
My brothers and sister,
Hearty greetings to you and your families IJN. Of recent, some of you have suggested on different occasions, that it is imperative for Uromi brothers and sisters in U.S. to forge a unity and come together under one umbrella organization. This very noble idea, to me, is no coincidence. Rather, it is ordained that we join forces together for influence, empowerment, strength and achievement. To translate this conceived idea into reality, I propose, for your early consideration and necessary follow up action, that a tele-conference or meeting be held soonest in the first instance so that we can rub our minds together, work on the modalities and set up a movement that will be enduring and unstoppable in the quest of service to our dear people of Uromi. Please oblige me with your reaction/suggestions on this matter asap.
Thanks and God bless
Adams Ebhomielen (President, U.C.A., NY).
UROMI SONS AND DAUGHTERS: 1st MEETING: OCTOBER 17th, 2008
*Adams Ebhomielen *Ben Etiobhio *Charles Usigbe *Gregory Enaholo *Ken Ilenikhena *Sunday Odua, *Mike Enaholo *Theresa Enaholo *Napoleon Akhuemokhan *Fidelis Omigie, *Isaac Ehikioya and *Ignatius Iyere.
Introduction of Participants:
Participants introduced themselves under name, state of residence, profession and name of village in Uromi.
Mr. Adams Ebhomielen said the opening prayer.
Mr. Adams Ebhomielen (Moderator) welcomed the participants from different states in the U.S. to the teleconference meeting. He mentioned how overwhelmed he had been over the interest expressed by so many fellow Uromi sons and daughters from different areas of the U.S., to unite and come together under one body. He told the meeting how he had, just a little over a year ago, invited a few of us for a discussion on the issue but the response was not encouraging. He said that even though he had decided to shelve the matter, the call for this very much needed unity amongst us continued unabated; it was an issue that was not ready to go away. Hence he decided to try one more time and the effort has been more than rewarding. He thanked all those present, at this inaugural meeting, for their sacrifice of time.
Mr. Ebhomielen then stated the purpose of the meeting as follows:
1) To discuss the necessity for unity of the Uromi people in the United States.
2) He emphasized the advantage and effectiveness of a united group as opposed to individual contributions to the development and welfare of our people.
1. Participants discussed and unanimously agreed that there is need for an umbrella group for all the Uromi sons and daughters in the United States of America.
2. In unity lies strength. Speaking with one voice from here will get listening ears at home.
3. Discuss whether the group should be a profit or non-profit one.
4. Emphasis to be laid on the coming together of our members and children for the purpose of maintaining our cultural & traditional identity.
5. Composition: Different clubs or individuals to make up the group.
6. To serve as a pressure group.
7. Local clubs/associations free to pursue their individual projects and aspirations in Uromi.
8. Only the umbrella group will be responsible for embarking on projects and developmental issues in Uromi.
9. Frequency of meeting: Next follow up meeting in 2 weeks and thereafter, monthly.Participants enjoined to spread the information and inform other Uromi sons and daughters to be part of this group.
This discussion stage continues.
Adjournment: Friday October 30th, 2008 at 10pm Est.
Closing Prayer:The closing prayer was said by Mrs. Theresa Enaholo.
(Minutes taken by Mr. Sunday Odua).
Chief Anthony Eromosele Enahoro (CFR) From 1923—2010
(The Adolor Of Uromi & Okaku’o Of Edoland)
Chief Anthony Enahoro has been variously described as colossus, icon, patriot, courageous & incorruptible, the last man standing, the last of the titans, cerebral tactician with a highly organized process, foremost nationalist, liberator, visionary leader, emancipator, bright star, true mentor, elder statesman, legendary activist, example of all that is good & commendable of the golden era of the nation, tremendous leader, tremendous democrat, tremendous politician, the greatest of the great, super star, etc. etc. These were but some of the encomium outpoured on him in tributes when he departed this corrupt world to be with the Lord on December 15, 2010 at the ripe age of 87 years.
Born in Uromi, Edo State on July 22, 1923, Chief Enahoro was the eldest of the 10 children of His Esan parents –Chief Asuelimen Okotako Enahoro, (died in 1968) and Princess Fidelia Inibokun, nee Ogbidi Okojie (died in 1969). He was educated at Government School, Uromi; Government School, Owo (Ondo State) and King’s College, Lagos. His distinguished career as a journalist started at an early age, as he became the editor of Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe’s newspaper, the Southern Nigerian Defender based in Ibadan, in 1944. He was 21 at the time, which made him effectively Nigeria’s youngest editor ever. A record yet to be surpassed. He later became editor of Zik’s Comet in Kano (1945-1949), associate editor of West African Pilot in Lagos, and editor-in chief of Morning Star (1950-1953) As an editor he was an out spoken critic of the colonial authorities. Principled, stubborn & a bloody risk taker, Chief Anthony Enahoro was hardly arrogant despite his enviable qualities. He blended beautifully the diametric qualities of a revolutionary mind with strong democratic values. Before Independence, Chief Enahoro
had been in & out of prison 3 times as a result of his radical view to politics. The British colonial authorities jailed him for seditious incitements— 9 months for publishing investigative story exposing the misrule of the British colonialist in 1946, 8 months for writing an article condemning police brutality and asking black policemen to disobey the orders of their white officers and in 1948, when he chaired a revolutionary lecture titled: ‘A Call For A Revolution’ organized by the Zikist Movement. His attitude could be summed up in his words: “ I feel no sense of wrong or of injury. British history is, after all, full of prosecutions and imprisonments of nationalists. What did it matter? Prison is an occasional hazard for nationalists. Others would carry on, and if I come back, I should be with them again”. He served terms in Kaduna, Lagos, Enugu & other places. He was a thorn in the flesh of the colonialists.
Chief Enahoro dabbled into politics even while practicing as a journalist. He was foundation member of Chief Awolowo’s Action Group (AG) party, assistant general secretary, Action Group, 1951-1957, Secretary and chairman, Ishan Divisional Council; member, Western House of Assembly,1952-59; Minister of Home Affairs, Information & Midwest Affairs, Western Region, 1954-59. As minister, he was Instrumental to the opening of the Western Nigeria Television (WNTV), the first television station in Africa, in 1959. His creative fingers were deep in the apple pie of the Liberty Stadium, Ibadan, opened also in 1959. He helped in articulating his party’s social welfarism which included free education. He returned to Lagos in 1959 with Chief Awolowo & became a member of the House of Representatives and the chief spokesperson of the opposition on Foreign Relations and legislative affairs, 1959-1963.
In his days at the House of Representatives, Enahoro moved the first motion for Nigeria’s independence In 1953. The motion was laced with resounding denunciation of oppression and injustice, which reminds one of the weighty thoughts of such revolutionary icons as Fidel Castro, Nkrumah and Nelson Mandela. Although this motion which would have seen Nigeria attain independence in 1956, did not succeed, it ignited the spirit of nationalism in Nigeria. He was a Parliamentarian of excellence. He was described as probably the best parliamentarian in West Africa and one of the best debaters in the Commonwealth. On his debating prowess, Ige in his book on ‘People, Politics & Politicians of Nigeria’, wrote thus: “ Whenever Enahoro rose to speak, he was listened to with attention. He was a master in parliamentary procedure and practice. He had good delivery. He had style and he knew the thrusts and parrying of parliamentary debates. He had been sent to UK for a few months to study the parliamentary practice of the British Parliament and he made a good job of it. He knew Erskine May inside out. Nobody could have been a better mover of that historic first independence motion better than Anthony Enahoro”. He was a delegate to most of the constitutional conferences leading to the country’s independence on October 1, 1960. An orator, Enahoro was known as a diligent and hard working parliamentarian who spoke the truth, not minding whose ox was gored.
After independence, Enahoro, became one of the fist politicians to taste the bitter side of politics in a developing country and experienced a lot of deprivation. During the crisis in the old Western Region, he was detained along with his leader, Chief Awolowo and other AG members and charged with treasonable felony during the Awolowo coup trial. In 1963, he escaped to Ghana and the United Kingdom. He was the ‘Fugitive Offender’ who triggered days of debate in the House of Commons as he battled against extradition. He was, however, extradited and imprisoned for 15 years. He was in prison when the first military coup took place in January 1966. The Military Government of General Gowon released him in 1966. During the post-1966 crisis, Enahoro was leader of the Mid-west delegation to the Ad Hoc Constitutional Conference in Lagos. Under Gen. Yakubu Gowon’s government, he became Federal Commissioner for Information and Labour (1967-1974), and Federal Commissioner for Special Duties (1975). He was also president, World Festival of Negro Arts and Culture (1972—1975). He had a spell as one of the ablest advocates of Nigerian unity during the civil war (1967—1970) when he became the Federal spokesman and leader of the Federal Delegations to the Civil War Peace Talks in London, Kampala and Addis Ababa (1968—1969).
In the Second Republic, he was a member of the National Party of Nigeria between 1978 and 1983. Enahoro was co-founder and chairman of the National Democratic Coalition (NADECO), a pro-democracy Group that was opposed to military rule, and the annulment of the June 12, 1993 Presidential election.
He was also chairman of the Movement for National Reformation (MNR) as well as the Pro National Conference Organization (PRONACO) which agitated for the convening of the Sovereign National Conference (SNC) through which multiple ethnic nationalities will determine the future relationship among them. Enahoro often criticized the presidential system of government, regarding it as not truly democratic, as parties were relevant only during elections. It was one reason why he declined to run for the presidency in 2003, saying such consideration could arise if the country ran a parliamentary system of government. He also decried massive corruption inherent in the system which he said, had turned Nigeria into a massive kleptocracy. Ever an active participant in the democratic process, Enahoro was in the pro-democracy struggle in Nigeria between 1993 and 1999. In spite of his age, he took part in public protests and endured the violent reactions of the military authorities.
When Citizen Pini Jason asked Chief Anthony Enahoro in an interview under the ‘Chinua Achebe Foundation Interview Series’ why he was, at the age of 82 then, still in the struggle that he started about the age of 21, he responded thus: “ I have often said in answer to this question that the youth of my generation set out to struggle for freedom, modernization and democracy. As you know, we succeeded with freedom, we also succeeded, to some great extent, with modernization; but it is sad that Nigeria has had a deplorable record with democratization. We have failed. I consider it a betrayal of the dreams of my generation and colleagues– many of whom died in our struggle—to retreat. I refuse to believe that destiny has let me live so long in reasonable health for me to betray our struggle and selfishly confine myself to personal matters”
On his election as the first member of Ishan Division in the Western Region Legislature and elected member for Ishan at the centre, Chief Enahoro told the electorates that his immediate concerns were to secure amenities for his constituency and division and to ensure an equitable distribution of the amenities between the dominant Yoruba part of the Region and the Mid-west. He fulfilled this promise by the provision of pipe-borne water for the entire Esanland, establishment of the General Hospital, Uromi, tarring of roads, setting up of police posts and post offices and the eradication of guinea worm disease in the old Mid-west.
Chief Enahoro was conferred with the national honour of Commander, Order of the Federal Republic, CFR, in 1982.He was awarded honorary DSC by the University of Benin in 1972. He was installed the senior traditional chieftaincy, ‘Adolor of Uromi, 1958 and the“Okaku’o of Edoland”, in 2000. He received honours from Central Africa Republic, Senegal, Sudan, Uganda, Ethiopia, New York, Philadelphia, etc. He was the first African to play golf at Ikoyi Club. His publications include: “Zik: Saint or Sinner”? (Lagos, 1948); “Fugitive Offender” (Cassels, London ’65)
To our beloved son, Chief Anthony Enahoro, who fought for the nation’s independence with all that he had in him as a youth, who dedicated all his entire life to make Nigeria better, who never soiled his hands with inordinate lucre, who fought only for the general good but was rewarded with several prison terms, who fought a good fight and finished the race, who refused to retire to a life of rest & comfort because all was not yet well with the nation, who occupied the centre stage of popular struggle longer than any other, who dared the external / internal colonialists and military dictators, who has left behind an indelible footprint on the sand of time that will be difficult to surpass, we, the people of Uromi, Esan and Edoland, with pride in our hearts and gratitude to God, say to you:
‘Well done our jewel of inestimable value. You are no longer a fugitive. You are free at last for ever. May your soul rest in perfect peace with the Lord.
Compiled By Adams Ebhomielen
Chief Anthony Enahoro The Adolor of Uromi and Okaku’o of Edoland (July 22, 1923 – December 15, 2010)
2011 Taskforce Membership:
Mike Ehi Ayewoh, Adams Ebhomielen, Mike Ewah, Fidelis Okpebholo, Ernest Oboh, Ibhate (“Regina”) Imoisili, Tony Ehimen, Teresa Oriwo, Festus Ehizielen, Ken Ilenikhena, and Omonogie Etiobhio
Develop and sustain systems aimed at immortalizing significant memory and legacy of the late Chief Anthony Enahoro.
“Nigerians are very much conversant with the story of Chief Anthony Enahoro’s very energetic and resourceful campaign for Nigeria’s independence. To a very large extent, the hunger, zeal and desire for freedom and intolerance for oppression was drilled into the young Anthony Enahoro by the stories of his hometown [Uromi] struggle for freedom, independence from pre-colonial domination and oppression. Anthony Enahoro’s mother Inibokun Okojie was the second daughter of King Ogbidi Okojie, the late Onojie of Uromi, who was sent on exile to Benin and Ibadan by the British for his fierce and aggressive resistance to British rule. Anthony Enahoro is the Adolor of Uromi, and under the early tutelage of his maternal grandfather, Ogbidi Okojie (Ogbidi-gbada, Eziza, Okun-nonfi-no’Oboh) who was also Anthony Enahoro’s traditional godfather, combined with the master parenting of his father Okotako Enahoro (Oko-Utako Enahoro), the young Anthony Enahoro developed an insatiable and unquenchable hunger for freedom. Anthony Enahoro as a scion of the Uromi royal family was fully aware of the history of his hometown.” (Author by Anthony Okosun: http://www.nigeriavillagesquare.com/articles/anthony-okosun/jonathans-weird-and-bizarre-cabinet.html). For additional readings on Chief Anthony Eromosele Enahoro, Additional readings can also be obtained from Mr. Adams Ebhomielen’s special piece (http://WWW.uromiusa.com/Ehahoro.html) that is published in the NAUSDA, USA’s website.
Local (Uromi) Level of Planning:
NOTE: Development of the Specific Objectives will be based on the schema presented on pages 3 and 4.
It is very relevant to note that the active engagement of the NAUSDA, USA stakeholders and appropriate Nigerian citizens, within the USA and in diaspora, will be very essential in the development and implementation of the proposed specific activities and other components of the operational plan of work presented in this report. This Management By Objectives (MBO) approach of planning to succeed; based on the following components, constituted the operational segment of this purposeful plan:
a) Identification of specific activities needed to be implemented to achieve each specific objective;
b) Identification of appropriate individuals, within the USA, and in Nigeria to carry out the identified specific activities within each specific objective;
c) Timeframe needed to accomplish each identified specific activity to ensure successful accomplishment; thereby building elements of credibility and accountability within our strategic (Goal and objectives) and operational segments of a comprehensive plan. This segment of the strategic plan will be developed after the review and adoption of the document by the NAUSDA, USA Executive Council and Board of Trustees.
d) Measure and/or documented evidence of actual accomplishment of the defined and specific objectives. NOTE: Evidence of the successful actualization of the two specific objectives will include both process (formative) and end result or outcomes (summative) evaluations.
It is very strongly recommended by the Special NAUSDA, USA Taskforce on Immortalizing Anthony Enahoro that the Executive Council and Board of Trustees identify appropriate membership to be engaged in the implementation of the recommended plan for action. This “Implementation Team” or “Implementation Taskforce” will establish Timeframe and creative strategies to actively involve the identified Key Resource Persons and others (including NAUSDA, USA members and outside expertise) in the implementation of the strategic plan. This deliberate inclusion of membership of NAUSDA, USA and others will ensure buy-in and ownership of the NAUSDA, USA plan to immortalize Chief Anthony Enahoro at the local Uromi level.
It is very strongly advised that no member of NAUSDA, USA or others outside the organization, should implement any phase of the strategic and operational plans until the full document – as presented in this report – is reviewed and approved by the Executive Council of NAUSDA and its Board of Trustees. It is also advised that the contents and construct of this report are meant as a guide or blue prints of best practices for immortalizing Chief Anthony Enahoro. Although the recommendations by the Special Taskforce included brief descriptions of identified key Uromi sons and daughters to assist in the implementation of the project, the NAUSDA, USA Executive Council and Board of Trustees can include other resource persons to enhance its implementation.
The NAUSDA, USA Executive Council, Trustees, and general membership should view this document as their collective contributions to the overall public and private efforts germane to the development and sustainability of structures to pay lasting tribute to a man who had the audacity, intestinal fortitude, and the tenacity to advocate for political, social, cultural, cum
economic sovereignty from its British ‘colonial master’. Long live the memory of Chief Anthony Eromosele Enahoro. Long live the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Specific Objective I.1: Establish the “Anthony Enahoro Boulevard” in Uromi.
Specific Activities Needed to Achieve Objective:
I.1.1: Define the areas that will constitute the proposed Boulevard. Possible considerations include the following: Current Mission Rd to be renamed Tony Enahoro’s Boulevard. This will continue from Taxona Hotel through Onojie Palace, Okpujie Primary School, old Agbor Rd junction, Enahoro’s house to New Agbor Rd junction.
I.1.2: Survey the identified areas to allow for appropriate design and re-construction of the proposed boulevard. The Boulevard must reflect road construction that is inclusive of all best practices in civil engineering.
I.1.3: Market the advantages of a Boulevard named after an Uromi son who dared to advocate for political independence for Nigeria from Britain.
I.1.4: Design the Boulevard to reflect a triangle construction with very classy and visible signage in the middle with above name at both Taxona Hotel junction and New Agbor Rd junction.
NOTE: This is the major way to the town for commodity to the local market and downtown Uromi. Also travelers can easily see the sign; whichever direction they are traveling.
Conduct fundraising campaign to successfully re-construct the identified areas that would lead to the Boulevard.
Re-construct the road that will constitute the Boulevard.
Officially open the Anthony Enahoro Boulevard; with all festivities.
Specific Objective 2.2:
Erect a lasting and well maintained Anthony Enahoro Memorial Monument – to be inclusive of a giant marble statue within a beautifully-landscaped park or center – for the legendary figure in Nigerian political consciousness.
Specific Activities Needed to Achieve Objective:
Conduct a public campaign of the value of a credible and high quality monument erected in the name of an icon that placed the town of Uromi and Edoland in Nigerian and international political map. This campaign will include the creation of a neutral ground from which political thoughts will be expressed; dignitaries to Uromi can make speeches, laying of wreath, etc. The venue will also include opportunities to present history of Uromi and the role of Tony Enahoro in Nigerian political development.
Revisit the current Enahoro’s residence in Uromi and conduct a comprehensive feasibility study on how to incorporate the existing facilities and grounds in the proposed Memorial Monument. The feasibility study should also include associated costs – to include staff capacities, furnishings, archiving, educational and socio-cultural programming, etc.
Identify a professional to design the monument and associated structures.
Conduct fundraising campaign to successfully re-construct the identified compound and the marble monument and associated facilities and operating budget.
Construct the monument.
Officially open the Anthony Enahoro Memorial Monument; with all festivities.
REMEMBERING OUR FALLEN COMRADE
A TRIBUTE TO PROFESSOR MIKE UDEGBE
I met him for the first time, and unfortunately that also was the last time, in Baltimore, Maryland in 2012 during NAUSDA Convention, but I have heard the bell his name had been ringing, especially in the Academic circle and in our home town, Uromi. Tony Ehimen had introduced me to him as the President of NAUSDA at the hotel lobby on the first day of the convention. We exchanged brief pleasantry and he thanked the association for putting in place such programs for ourselves and for Uromi. He looked humble and down to earth. We both agreed to meet and talk more before the end of the Convention, but that did not come to pass. Professor Mike Udegbe devoted most of his life making positive contributions towards programs/activities within the four walls of the Ivory tower both at the academic and social levels. At the Ambrose Alli University, Ekpoma in Edo State, he served as Dean of the Faculty of Environmental Studies; Head of Building Department; Member of Committee of Senate , and Member of the Finance and General Purpose Committee of the same University’s Governing Council. He was a Patron to many Esan organizations at the University Campus.
He contributed significantly to the admission of many Uromi sons and daughters into the said University. He was an academic mentor and a source of inspiration to many Uromi, nay Esan students at AAU.
Professor Udegbe also had a consuming passion for issues that concern and affect Uromi and its people. He helped to oversee the construction of buildings in Uromi for many Uromi sons and daughters in the Diaspora in which he displayed honesty, accountability and credibility. When the Uromi Community Association in New York, now NAUSDA local chapter decided, about a decade ago, to renovate the Female Ward at the Uromi Central Hospital, Professor Mike was there to help oversee the execution of the project. After the 2012 convention, and based on his exemplary track record, members of NAUSDA unanimously appointed Professor Mike Udegbe a member of the Ad-Hoc committee to oversee the projects of water supply to Uromi Central Hospital and the Immortalization of Chief Anthony Enahoro program at Uromi. He was later nominated one of the Honorary Members of NAUSDA by the association for his distinguished and selfless contributions to the Uromi community. His Investiture was to be at the Chicago convention in August 2014, an occasion he had promised to grace. But before the convention, on an unusually chilly morning of April 14th, 2014, the chilling and devastating news filtered into the Uromi community in the US. Instinctively, I checked the calendar to re-assure myself that, that day was not April 1st, April fool’s Day. No, it was not. The news was true. Professor Udegbe was no more. The cold hands of death had snatched our Professor away from us so soon. Yes, too soon. A man who still had a lot to offer to his community and to humanity was gone and forever. His life was transient, like a streak of light from a meteor, or like the dew on top of the mountain.
Professor Mike Udegbe will be greatly missed by all those who know him, especially the young ones whose lives he touched immensely at the University within the short period he spent on this earth. We all love you Prof. and though gone, your memory lives on and will ever remain green in our hearts. To live in the hearts of those who love you is not to die.
Let us all remember his wife and the five children Professor Mike Udegbe left behind in our daily prayers.
By Ben Omon Etiobhio