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Ugbajo Itsekiri USA Holds Successful 2019 Convention in the Washington, D.C.-Baltimore Area

WASHINGTON, D.C., USA –  During the Labor Day weekend, the U.S. diaspora members of the Itsekiri nation from the Federal Republic of Nigeria, West Africa had their 2019 convention in the Washington D.C.-Virginia corridors.  The convention, which was graced by the King of the Itsekiri nation, His Royal Majesty Ogiame Ikenwoli I, popularly known as the Olu of Warri, also brought together hundreds of delegates, participants, other invitees and well-wishers from all corners of the United States.

His Royal Majesty King Ogiame Ikenwoli

The Itsekiri National Association Washington Baltimore CMSA Inc. under the leadership of Ms. Dorothy Uwanikone, a trained attorney and IT program manager, organized and hosted the weekend-long convention under the auspices and guidance of Ugbajo Itsekiri USA.

According to officials and the group’s website, Ugbajo Itsekiri USA Inc. is a non-profit organization registered in the United States with headquarters in Washington, D.C.

Currently consisting of ten regional affiliates from various states in the United States, Ugbajo Itsekiri USA Inc.’s mission is to promote the Itsekiri culture and tradition, custom, and heritage as well as unity and cordiality among Itsekiri people.  The organization also facilitates peaceful coexistence between the Itsekiri people and their host communities in the United States of America as well as with their neighbors in Nigeria; supports and promotes social and economic development for Itsekiri communities in the homeland.  All members of the organization’s regional affiliate associations are Itsekiri.

Ugbajo Itsekiri USA Inc. and its affiliates are also  publicly funded charitable organizations that provide humanitarian services in Nigeria and the United States.

The 2019 well-attended convention was more than a display of pageantry and fellowship among members of the Itsekiri Nation resident in the United States.  It was predominantly a celebration of the Itsekiri culture and an opportunity to promote and guarantee that the values and culture flourish among the diaspora descendants and the U.S. born generations of the Itsekiri population growing up in the United States, according to officials.

The occasion also showcased the distinctive fashions of the Itsekiri people in addition to exhibiting knowledge of the Itsekiri homeland.

The theme for the 2019 convention was Building Wellness and Healthy Communities.   The goal was to raise funds to assist the Ugbajo Itsekiri USA, Inc. maintains its agenda as well as advance its ongoing development and humanitarian efforts in Delta State, Nigeria.  

On Saturday morning, day two of the convention, delegates, participants and other invitees, as well as well-wishers, were updated on the mission of Ugbajo Itsekiri USA Inc. and the present issues confronting the Itsekiri people in the homeland.

According to an official release, events such as the Labor Day weekend convention has, since 1997, raised over $500,000 dollars to fund Ugbajo Itsekiri USA’s development support efforts at home and abroad.  Among project undertaken at home in Nigeria include but not limited to a medical sight restoration project that helps  patients with sight problem regain their sight; access to clean and safe drinking water that provide communities with clean water; and support for education that provides academic scholarships for students in need. 

A release from the organization says the impact of the Ugbajo Itsekiri USA Inc.has facilitated the restoration of sight for over 3000 patients who had cataracts, ensured that over 130,000 people have access to clean and safe drinking and provided educational opportunities for 80 students in STEM fields at various universities in Nigeria with opportunities for further education abroad.

Ugbajo Itsekiri USA Inc. continues to highlight three core development activities.  These include water project, medical supplies, and educational scholarships.  The organization also markets the Itsekiri nation region and Delta State, Nigeria as a business-friendly zone for foreign investments and tourism.  

The Itsekiri Nation is located in Delta State Nigeria between Edo State and Bayesa State

During the convention, the organizers paid tributes to several prominent personalities and descendants of the Itsekiri nation and Delta State. Those recognized included His Royal Majesty King Ogiame Ikenwoli I and Delta State Executive Governor Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa.   Others included Ugbajo Itsekiri USA Inc. National President Mr. Kingsley Onuwaje, Vice President Rebecca Isa Graham, Secretary-General Eddie Goddey Ejuwa, Assistant Secretary-General Oduore Ojo, Financial Secretary Lucky Omire Mayor, Treasurer Jemine Okotie Yesin, Publicity Secretary Atutumama Okotie, Patron Professor Orisegbemi O. Omatete, Patron Eyisan Omagbemi, and Patron E. Nunu.

Others were the leaders of the Ugbajo Itsekiri USA regional affiliates. They included Mr. Toju Ekwejournor- Etchie, president of the Northern California-San Francisco affiliate, Mr. Tunde Johnson, president of the Denver, Colorado affiliate; Mr. Toritse Uwejayan, president of the Chicago, Illinois affiliate; Mr. Robinson Omasan, president of the New York/New Jersey affiliate; Mr. Alex Besidone Taire, president of the SouthernCalifornia affiliate; Mr. Felix Asagba, president of the Dallas, Texas affiliate; Mr. Feed Boyo, president of the Houston, Texas affiliate; Ms. Dorothy Uwanikone, president of the Washington Baltimore affiliate; as well as Mr. Emmanuel Ejutse and Ms. Evelyn Batey, both of whom head other affiliates.

To learn more about the Itsekiri people of Nigeria’s Delta State, Ugbajo Itsekiri USA Inc., the Itsekiiri National Association Washington Baltimore CMSA Inc., visit https://www.ugbajoitsekiriusa.org/.   To collaborate or support the mission of the Ugbajo Itsekiri USA Inc, contact Ms. Dorothy Uwanikone, president of the Itsekiri National Association Washington Baltimore CMSA Inc.

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Ben Mabande

Ben Mabande is a researcher and senior contributing reporter with Globe Afrique Media.

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