WELCOME ADDRESS BY THE CHAIRMAN OF THE CARETAKER COMMITTEE,
BEN. OMON. ETIOBHIO AT THE LAUNCH/FIRST NATIONAL CONVENTION IN DALLAS, TEXAS.
August 13th - 15th, 2010.
Ben Omon. Etiobhio
Chairman, Caretaker Committee
My fellow Uromi people, Ladies and Gentlemen,
on behalf of the Caretaker committee of the National Association Of Uromi Sons And Daughters USA, I welcome you all to this historic event at this august period in Dallas, Texas , the traditional home of the Cowboys. The event is historic because this is the first time in America that all Uromi sons and Daughters are gathered together at one venue in fellowship with a view to engaging in deliberate discussions on issues which concern and affect them here and their home town, Uromi.
Before I go further, please permit me to register my profound appreciation to all whose contributions made this event possible today. My immense thanks go to Elder Adams Ebhomielen for initiating this journey when he sounded the clarion call about a year ago, to all Uromians in the US that the time has come to come together and begin a dream for ourselves and for our home town. I salute you Sir. I shall also express my deep gratitude to my fellow members of the Caretaker Committee for their commitment, and their strong and active faith in this cause which I very much believe prompted their cooperation with me throughout this period. To the members of other committees and individuals who have worked tirelessly to make this day a reality, I also say “IBHA OBULU” Brothers and Sisters, the mission of NAUSDA is clear and unambiguous. Our objectives among others are to create a forum for social and cultural fellowship among Uromi indigenes in America where we can discuss and rob minds on common issues affecting us and our families, and share our challenges and experiences here in the US to the benefit of all members. This National Association will also coordinate and complement the efforts and activities of all local associations, organizations and individuals in the US whose aims and objectives are geared towards the development and progress of our home town, UROMI. Hence the theme of this first National Convention is aptly termed ‘TOGETHERNESS FOR PROGRESS’. However, let me hasten to add that this association is purely non political as clearly spelt out in its Constitution. It will not and does not intend to participate in political campaigns nor endorse candidates for any political office anywhere.
Brethren, our home town , Uromi , for some time now has been plagued with a myriad of problems ranging from almost non existent Healthcare Delivery system, to a very deplorable situation in the Education sector, and lack of portable drinking water . Other infrastructures have also suffered neglect; neglect that is indefensible by those in charge. With these situations confronting our home town at this period of time, it is my belief, ladies and gentlemen, that we have a choice; either to come together and plough the ground or let the weeds continue to grow. The presence of all of you here today convinces me beyond all reasonable doubt that we have all decided to go with the former choice. For this I thank you all. Therefore, as we all gather here today to re-unite with our brothers and sisters, re-establish old friendship, meet with new friends, and fellowship together, let us also resolve to chart an attainable and sustainable program that will light up the hope of our people at home. This is my challenge to all of us this afternoon. I am not unaware that there are some other associations or groups that also have programs aimed at addressing some of the problems within Uromi and Esanland in general. The aim of NAUSDA should be not to compete or get into conflict with these groups but rather to collaborate with and also complement their efforts with a view to making a difference collectively in the lives of our people at home.
As part of the efforts to move forward, the association will this afternoon elect the members of the first executive committee to lead us. Brothers and Sisters, as we move forward, who leads us at this time is less important than what leads us. Let us not lay emphasis on who leads us, but rather let us focus on what leads us; the conviction, the energy, the devotion, and above all, the faith we all bring to what I will call here, if you will permit me, ‘This Great Moral Enterprise’ which we are embarking on. I do not want us, after socializing for this couple of days, to retreat to our individual comfort zones and forget about this dream. We must not abandon this dream lest we abandon our people to hopelessness. God Forbid. We must come together to do something. The time to act is now because there is an immense and painful longing for the basic amenities and necessities of life by our people at home.
In conclusion, Brothers and Sisters, and as we formally launch this association today, I hereby call on the best that is in every Uromi son and daughter here this afternoon to support and identify with this our noble cause. Let us make our collective commitment the rallying point through which we must lend a hand. With optimism, Brethren, let us look forward and not back, let us look up and not down, let us look out and not in, as we all come together to lend a hand. What we need is the will, courage, faith and a little sacrifice here and there. All these and with prayers and God’s guidance I hope we shall make it.
While I wish you all successful deliberations, I hope you will enjoy the beautiful weather of Texas.
Thank you and God bless you all.
God Bless Uromi.
Ben Omon. Etiobhio
Chairman, Caretaker Committee