Getting to Know IPAI: A Historical Perspective – By Ukaegbu Ukaegbu

Igbere Progressive Association International Inc. (IPAI) is an organization of Igbere citizens in Diaspora by Igbere people and for Igbere Community. This organization was formed when Igbere citizens’ residents abroad (outside Nigeria) held a general meeting at Houston, Texas, USA; on September 3, 2005. Delegates at the general meeting were from different regions of United States of America and United Kingdom including State of California, Georgia, Nebraska, New York, Maryland, Washington DC, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, North Carolina, Texas and London (UK).

After the decision to form an international organization was made, the delegates proceeded with discussions on the official name of the new non-profit entity. Various names were suggested including: “National Igbere Progressive Association”, “World Igbere Progressive Association”, and Igbere Progressive Association International, Inc. However, delegates overwhelmingly voted for the name “Igbere Progressive Association International, Inc.” as the official name of the new entity.

More so, delegates at the meeting created a caretaker (temporary) government called “Caretaker Committee” (CC) that was charged with the responsibilities of running the new organization until its first executive council is elected. The CC responsibilities include but not limited to drafting the organization’s constitution and by-laws, officially registering the association and defining the mission and vision of IPAI. A 13-member Caretaker Committee were nominated by delegates present at the meeting and accepted by the house.

Also, at the general meeting, delegates voted unanimously for the IPAI Conventions to be held every two (2) years. Thereafter the Caretaker Committee was charged with the task of deciding which IPAI Chapter (Branch) that would host and the location (the City) where the next convention will take place. Dr. Ugwa Kalu Ogbureke and Engr. Peter Anyaogu Imaa served as the Chairman and Secretary of the Caretaker Committee, respectively.

In accordance with their assigned responsibilities, the Caretaker Committee drafted the IPAI  Constitution and organized the subsequent convention which took place at Atlanta, Georgia, USA and was hosted by Southeast Chapter of IPAI on September 1 and 2, 2007.

Election of First Officials (2007)
During the Townhall Meeting segment of the convention, the draft constitution was extensively debated, amended and then adopted and rectified by the delegates at the Atlanta 2007 convention. Consequently, the first executive council was elected as follows: Michael Awa (Executive President), Saul Onyeuku (Vice President), Ukaegbu Ukaegbu (General Secretary), Leonard Ibeka (Publicity Secretary), Emeka Ejieke (Financial Secretary) Ezinne Ogbureke (Treasurer) and Okorie Uzor (Provost).

IPAI Convention 2007
The Atlanta 2007 convention was a phenomenon in all respects. Igbere people demonstrated resilience, showed extraordinary commitment and dedication, made unimaginable sacrifices and exhibited great patriotism to Igbere. To those who understand the logistics involved in organizing such an event, it was unthinkable that the convention of such magnitude and success could be organized within two months.

This well attended Ezumezu featured Igbere citizens from across United States, Canada, United Kingdom and Sierra Leone and Nigeria. The former Governor of Imo State, Commodore Amadi Ikwechegh was the Special Guest of Honor. Also, the former Governor of Abia State Dr. Orji Kalu delegated Chief Smart Ukoha to representative him at the occasion.

Highlights of the occasion during the banquet party include speeches from special guests, swearing-in ceremony of newly elected officers, traditional dances like Ohuwa dance by Igbere women, Ikperikpe dance by Igbere men, buffet dinner and fund raising.

Purpose of IPAI
The primary purpose of IPAI is to promote charitable, educational and scientific activities, and to develop and operate community based services for Igbere people. This is aimed at securing for Igbere citizens the same basic rights as all citizens of the world.

The fundamental statement of philosophy among others which IPAI uses to pursue the stated purpose is: “To work towards better quality of life in Igbere and the community or residence by providing such amenities like health care, portable water, electricity, roads, scholarship, sports, etc.”; “To encourage and support development and progress of the community”.

IPAI Website:
The IPAI’s website was launched on July 9th, 2007, during the period of Caretaker Committee. The website was designed, developed and managed by Ukaegbu Ukaegbu.

Basically, the objectives of establishing IPAI website are enumerated below:

  1. To promote unity and solidarity among Igbere citizens across the world.
  2. To provide a forum for interaction of members by promoting mutual cooperation, respect and
    unity amongst members of the association.

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