An address by the 2011-2016 IPAI President Mr. Saul Onyeuku during the 2013 IPAI Convention.
Mr. Chairman, invited guests, ladies and gentlemen. On behalf of the executive members of the Igbere Progressive Association International (IPAI) I welcome you to the 5th biennial conference or Ezumezu here in Houston, Texas.
I want to personally thank all the elected officials, the board members and all the chapter presidents who have devoted their precious time and efforts pro bono to keep the aims and aspirations of IPAI on focus. In a society where time is “really” money we must not fail to appreciate these sacrifices.
IPAI came into existence in 2007 with these objectives: To provide an opportunity for all Igbereans in the diaspora to socialize and interact with one another. To create an avenue through which our children and grandchildren can identify and appreciate their heritage, fraternize with one another for enduring networking opportunities. And to carry out charitable activities that benefit our people at home and in the diaspora. These objectives are not simply a destination but a journey that will take the collective effort of all involved. A journey that will continue to test our determination to duplicate in the diaspora, what our parents and grandparents achieved back home when they formed Igbere Welfare Union (IWU) many decades ago. A journey that nonetheless will be worth our time and efforts when fully realized.
When I took over as your president few things were high on my agenda. One is to focus more on what brings us together and less on what divides us. Find new avenues to generate revenue. And continue to support and improve on the charitable endeavors that IPAI has undertaken. We have seen progress on these fronts. Many chapters have seen an increase in membership. Payment of membership dues is not yet where it needs to be but has improved remarkably in some chapters especially the Pacific and South-east chapters. We will continue to find creative ways to increase the financial profile of IPAI.
The community health centers in Igbere have started receiving their monthly financial support to help them with the necessary medications for the community. There was a lull in that activity for a couple of months to help resolve concerns regarding transparency. To this end, we employed the services of our town crier to help disseminate information to the communities. How far this will go to allay our concern is yet to be determined. There are now a total of five community health centers receiving our support.
They are: Amankalu, Amiyi, Onu, Okafia, and Umunsi. Amankalu is the newest addition to the number of community health centers in Igbere currently receiving our support. We still support our children who are college bound with scholarship and recognition in the presence of their community for an outstanding high school career. We had three recipients in the last Ezumezu in Los Angeles and expect the same or more this year.
As a non-profit organization IPAI depends solely on your kindness and goodwill to fulfill its obligations. I therefore appeal to our invited quests and everyone who graced this occasion here in Houston to align their interest with IPAI and donate generously. I like to thank Texas chapter especially the planning committee for all their hard work in making this Ezumezu possible. May I also remind everyone here that another major reason why we came here is to have a good time. So enjoy yourselves and when you leave may God grant you travel mercy back to your respective destination.