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End of Year Message

Ani bu ofu – we are one

Ndi be ani nno ni oooo; Ochia, mazi, ogbukea, idenu, nwaonaku, anamaa, ogbuagu, ogbuefi, friends nno ni ooo. You are all welcome.

My people, you know, being asked to be the president of our great association is like being asked to snug the queen. It is a great honour, but nobody wants to do it. It is a hot seat. Our people are very passionate about what we believe in, so thank you ever so much for according me the privilege to lead this great association of ours.

The clue to this speech is in the title, ani bu ofu – we are one.

Over the years we seem to have drifted apart. I think of my beloved Oguta with nostalgia; I remember an Oguta where we were all one; the Oguta where we trooped in and out of each other’s houses with almost reckless abandon; the Oguta where we were our brother’s keepers and looked after each other, land of pride and joy, land of the gorgeous meandering blue lake, land where all were cherished for who they are, a land unique precisely because of the diversity of our people, culture and experience.

Recently this cannot be said of Oguta any longer. My beloved Oguta has lately being polarized by individuals with different agendas; most of which are individualistic and does nothing for the Oguta community at large. Lately, we hear a lot of stories that were hitherto alien to Oguta people. We hear and see a lot of what we used to ascribe to “ndi Igbo isu”. In order words, things we thought were beneath us or we could simply not see ourselves aligning with. A divide and conquer mentality has engulfed Oguta, making the interest personal and no longer communal.

Our beloved Oguta has been split across many divides. This same faction and the feeling of not being carried along is what has resulted in the apathy we today get from some quarters of our community. This is happening back home in Oguta, but is slowly creeping into our UK community. Things are no longer at ease, but luckily have not fallen apart yet. This administration is determined to do all it can to prevent this organisation from gravitating towards the precipice.

Let us start by remembering that we are one family. We are therefore calling on those of us that have been offended in one way or another; those of us that have become cynical about the association; those of us that feel that our interests have not been addressed. I ask you to please forgive and come back to your brothers and sisters. Ndi be ani shi na, iwe nwanne ana erudi na okpukpu.

I know we all want to see a change from the business as usual; a change to a more progressive approach, where your feelings matter. So I ask you to come back home into the fold, rekindle your commitment to the association and let us together rebuild our association to one where we all feel proud to belong to.

There is a massive movement back home with the Oguta patriots. They are determined to change the face of Oguta and bring it to a much deserving place. We must join hands with our brothers and sisters back home to rebuild our Oguta. Oguta is our only common home.

Starting from here, we want to encourage more progressive communion with our people. You would have noticed the names on the tables. These are the names of the 27 villages in Oguta. Today, we are announcing the new way of hosting our meetings. Meetings will now be hosted by villages.

We are revamping the association’s website to make it more interactive with chat room and billboards. The idea is to create an avenue for people to continue to interact with one another, even outside our bi-monthly meetings. There will be sections to cater for a variety of needs; whether it is that you just came into the country and need advice on immigration, jobs, medical, registering with a GP. There will be a section for culture, where our rich culture will be shown off. We are also looking at incorporating some basic Oguta language lessons to cater especially for our kids who are born here.

Ndi be ani, enough of sitting on the fence and complaining; enough of the apathy shown by some quarters. You must choose to be invoked. How many of us will sit and complain if our cherished possession were set ablaze, and not try to rescue it? I guess none of us will do that. We all profess to loving Oguta Ameshi. Obodo girigiri, so why do we think it’s right not to get involved and rescue our association and our town? Enough is enough. This is a clarion call to all of us to stand up and be counted.

You see, at a very difficult time for America, lots of people where struggling to make ends meet, the civil rights movement was in full swing, many where discontent and disillusioned with the state of the union. It was then that a newly elected president, JFK in his inauguration speech challenged his fellow Americans to contribute in some way to the good of all, when he implored them to “Ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country,” So fellow Ogutians, I Implore you with the same spirit and vigour to ask not what you association or town can do for you, but what you can do for your association and town in this time of need.

And our duty as a group is not to the UK association alone, but to the Oguta community at large. Our duty is not to preserve the status quo, but the preservation of peace, unity and freedom amongst our people both here and in our beloved motherland, Oguta.

We do not need extreme or faint-hearted measures, so let us not be so petty when our cause is so great. Let us not quarrel amongst ourselves when the future of our association and our beloved town is at stake. Let us stand together, shoulder to shoulder, with renewed vigour and confidence in our cause. Let us stand united in our heritage of the past, united in our hopes for the future and united in our determination to ensure that our association and our beloved town will know peace and unity.

I urge everyone of you to get involved. We all have a lot of things in common, one of which is our love for our beloved Obodo girigiri. We are incredibly proud of our Oguta. So we must decide to show our love to our community. How do you show love to somebody? You show love by your actions; by the things you do and say to others. Of course there will be times when we disagree, there will be times when we make each other unhappy, there may even be times when we walk out on each other. As siblings, we argue and fight sometimes, but you don’t severe ties with one another because of that. So I encourage you to show your love to our community; get involved and together, hand in hand, step by step, we will change Oguta UK association and Oguta in general.

A few people are working very hard for many of us. Let us try and reverse the trend; let us make sure that many of us will work hard for a few and eventually, all of us will be working very hard for all of us. Oguta is for us, by us.

A big thank you to all those who contributed their time and money to make this party successful.

Thank you to Dr. (Mrs) Ursula Ngwu for the wonderful way she led proceedings on the night.

Mr Tony Chinedu Onumonu for his pictures and video and for always being there whenever needed.

Mr Paul Ezebuike Ohanyere for his continued assistance and support.

A special thank you to the Xmas organising committee members who worked tirelessly to make sure we had a blast on the day:
Ogbuefi (Mrs) Ogochi uzokwe
Mrs. Christy Adesola
Ms. Milly Nwadiaro
Mrs. Claudia Nzeribe
Mrs. Monique Anene
Mr. Sammy Davis Nzeribe
Mr. KO Azogu
Mr. Amechi Ahanwa

The executive members, OJ, NT, Ifeoma for rising to the task and continually putting the interest of Oguta Ameshi first. I’m proud to serve in the same executive with you guys.

We are aware that as the executive, we are always considered as a city upon a hill – the eyes of all people are upon us. And that is why we are committed to making a change. There are still some vacant executive positions, so I encourage you all to come out and take up the positions. We want to have a full executive.

In 2005, a newly elected senator Obama gave a speech to Knox College graduates. In the speech, he greeted both friends and enemies, for he did not believe that everyone in the hall was a friend. I end my speech today by saying this, that I recognise that not everyone here are convinced about my leadership; I recognise that there are still some doubters amongst us; and that’s OK. So I say to you, that I am determined and focused on the tasks of taking this Association to where it should be. I am lucky to have a team of equally focused individuals who buy into the idea that we are one and are stronger together. Therefore let us all join hands together and make our great association what we want it to be.

Ndibe ani, as a people, We are all caught up in an inescapable web of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever effects one directly effects all indirectly.

Ani bu ofu.

God bless us all.

Merry Christmas.

Val Anene