Below is a transcript of the speech, for a pdf copy of click here.
Aja mo kin aghan. Oma Iwere dede mo kin aghan.
Representatives of the Olu of Warri, HRM Atuwatse II, Warri Council of Chiefs and the Governor of Delta State, Dr.
Emmanuel Ewetan Uduaghan; Patrons, Board of Directors and Members of the National Executive Committee of
Ugbajo Itsekiri USA, Inc., Sponsors, Distinguished Delegates and Honorable Guests, good morning. Kindly allow me to present to you our performance report on activities over the year, the current state of our organization and
some look forward.
Our legacy projects are the scholarship and water projects. Ugbajo continues to contract the Education Committee
of the Itsekiri Leaders of Thought (ILOT) to conduct the selection examinations. Ugbajo Itsekiri USA, Inc. awarded
academic scholarship to ten students at a ceremony in Warri on Sunday, April 6, 2014. The Itsekiri communities of
Aja-Igba, Orugbo and surrounding villages were visited on two occasions by the Publicity Secretary, Mrs. Rebecca
Isa; once with the President of Agura Iwere Itsekiri Association, Dallas/Fort Worth, Mr. Joseph Maku, and the
Financial Secretary, Mr. Lucky Omire Mayor on a second occasion. They found that the solar system for the AjaIgba project has been out of commission for a long time. Reports on the trips were submitted to the Board of
Directors as directed. It has also been reported that the Jakpa water well continues to produce saline water and
not potable. While the results are mixed, we have gained valuable experience for future projects.
Ugbajo Itsekiri USA, Inc. is seventeen years old. During this period, affiliated regional organization membership has
grown. We are engaged in several projects in Nigeria with tax implications. Over the same period, the US Internal
Revenue Service (IRS) requirements for non-profit organizations doing business outside the US have evolved.
Advances in technology have been mindboggling. Furthermore, majority of the general membership is questioning
members’ welfare and benefits. Ugbajo must therefore adapt to the new environment and realities.
Accordingly this administration has constructed a new website with the most updated features to serve multiple
purposes: raise funds year round targeting corporate sponsors, enhance communication between Ugbajo, its
regional associations and Itsekiri everywhere and promote Itsekiri interests globally. We will no longer rely solely
on monies raised from membership dues and annual conventions for operations and project funding. A newsletter
which features news from the regional organizations, the Itsekiri homeland as well as pertinent issues in Nigeria is
a component part of the website. Special thanks to the Publicity Committee.
Ugbajo Itsekiri USA, Inc. is a not-for-profit, public charitable corporation under Section 501 (c) (3) that is subjected
to defined and specific rules and regulations. The 501 (c) (3) and Byelaw has provided valuable information to our
governing bodies and addressed questions regarding record keeping, foreign accounts, member welfare programs,
etc. Based on their research and consultation with professionals, we are going through the process of opening an
account in Nigeria, which requires incorporation in Nigeria. The account will be controlled 100% by Ugbajo Itsekiri
USA, Inc. Once achieved, we will no longer use companies such as Western Union or Ugbajo members travelling to Nigeria to settle our financial obligations.
Last year we had an Ugbajo’s Health Booth at the convention. This year we explored opportunities to partner with
a non-profit group in the Miami area to provide health screening but our efforts were unsuccessful. However, our
interactions with the organizations have been a valuable experience. Our long term goal is to expand our programs
into a yearly health fair in Itsekiri homeland. We are already discussing with medical professionals in Nigeria to
realize this goal.
Ugbajo Itsekiri USA, Inc. is a corporation and must be run like one. Record keeping and reporting standards
required by the statute are lacking. Audits, approved by the Board for the purpose of reviewing our practices and
recommending remedies, were not performed. As a public organization, Ugbajo’s financial activities must be
published. As of June 30, 2014, Ugbajo is worth over $200,000. It is well positioned to pursue its goals
aggressively, and your organization is healthy and in good financial standing.
Lastly, I thank the Ugbajo Board of Directors and the Executive Committee for their support and working tirelessly
for the Itsekiri Nation. Special thanks to Mrs. Patricia Animashaun, the hosting President, and the entire members
of Oma-Iwere Itsekiri Association, Miami for their hard work preparing for this 17th Annual Convention. I must also
express my gratitude for the support of our guests from Nigeria and elsewhere, we appreciate your continued
trust in Ugbajo Itsekiri USA, Inc.
Long Live Ugbajo Itsekiri USA Inc.! Long Live the Itsekiri Nation!
Dr. Fabian Oritsebemigho Iwere