Chief (Mrs.) Chizoba Nwachukwu is the President of Ndikelionwu Diaspora Daughters Association (aka Ugojeremba). She spoke to RUTH ORJI on the one year anniversary of the association. Excerpts::
Madam, you are the President of Ndikelionwu Diaspora Daughters Association. What does it connote?
Yes, I am the Founder/President, Ndikelionwu Diaspora Daughters Association. Ndikelionwu is a town in Orumba North Local Government Area of Anambra Sate and Ndikelionwu Diaspora daughters is an association of all daughters of Ndikelionwu community married outside the town, i.e. in communities that are not their birth place. Such communities may be in Anambra State, Igbo land and or other states in Nigeria or anywhere in the world. Let me tell you that the formation of this association was inspirational.
The association, in fact, was conceived by me in a vision in the wee hours of 10th January, 2020. Then, Ndikelionwu was bereaved of their king, a first class monarch, His Royal Majesty, Eze Prof. Vincent Chukwuemeka Ike, Ikelionwu XI, and the leadership of the town fell on the President general, Sir Edozie Obasi.
I took the message of my vision to him and other stakeholders which specifically was to rally as many daughters of the ancient Aro community as possible married outside, who will accept to be members and being guided with the vision to collectively give the little they can to the socio-economic development of the town and embark on business ventures beginning in the community, our father land.
Thereafter, I went on to raise the curtain by setting up an online information management system because of COVID-19 and began reaching out in earnest for membership, mobilisation and support. Gladly, this paid off roundly in the successes we have recorded today.
So, the association was formed as a rallying point for all Ndikelionwu daughters married outside the community. It is, in fact, God’s call on all of us to remember this land where He first rooted us in our earthly journey and where we were first groomed, nurtured, trained and brought up before being given out in marriage.
It is a call to get united and join hands in the development of our great and dear ancient Aro community, Ndikelionwu (aka) Umuchukwu, our land of birth.
And for purposes of clarity, I want to state here that Ndikelionwu Diaspora Daughters is one association that is not in conflict with the Umuada group, neither is it in opposition to this revered group.
Rather, it is a special call in a new dispensation to compliment with other groups in the town for the overall socio-economic development and progress of Ndikelionwu.
Can you tell us what the organisation has been able to do for the well being of Ndikelionwu community in the last one year?
You know we are still a young association, barely a year old. But within this one year, in spite of the COVID-19 pandemic which affected every facet of the national economy, we have been able to commission our local transport scheme, aimed at alleviating the challenging transportation needs of our people in the villages and beyond. We have one shuttle bus now operational which we hope to increase in due course.
As it stands, a shopping centre – “Eagles Shops and Things” has taken off in the town and is supporting her business environment, selling things at very cheap rates. I invite you to go and shop there. By these investments, as little as they are, we are trying to offer assistance to the community in the belief that a journey of thousand miles starts with a step.
Madam, from what you have said so far, I think they are challenging for the young association. What are the challenges you have faced since the formation of the association in the last one year?
Honestly, this association has a constitution which guides the members and what we do. It is from this constitution that we derive our authority. That is to say that everything I said we have been able to do in the last one year was done under the ambit of that constitution. But that is not to say that we have no challenges.
First is the challenge of leading a vast group of women with diverse backgrounds, learning, orientation, and exposure scattered in many countries of the world. For instance, we have our members in the United States of America (USA), countries of Europe, Asia, Africa and almost every state in Nigeria. It has not been an easy task to galvanise the different shades of opinions from such diverse backgrounds.
The second challenge is that of not holding non virtual meetings in this new normal brought about by the coronavirus pandemic, hence our meetings are held online over the internet, involving quite some expenses in cost of data and keeping our phone devices functional at all times.
Thirdly, there is the challenge of membership mobilisation. We are all not together as we are all over the world. Yet efforts must be made to scout for membership. As at today, we have 232 members. Again, there is this challenge of funding the association towards achieving its objectives. It is quite herculean. You must also know that starting an organisation from the scratch without existing structure – administrative or otherwise is bigger challenge in itself.
We are all in this country and we know that the COVID-19 pandemic that has ravaged the world is still a problem. The association has had its share of the effects of the pandemic – such that most of the restrictions, duties and protocols it imposed on the young association are glaring.
Also, I discovered in the last one year of my leadership of this association that it is somehow difficult to aggregate human behavior, perhaps because of the differing backgrounds from where we came, such that some members who may not even be abreast with the philosophies of the association will always want to pull you down. Some people said that it is the way of women; but I don’t quite believe it.
In spite of this, however, there is the challenge of inspiring members of the association to align with the role of achieving its stated aim and objectives. This by extension involves community development, which is very cardinal to our mission and vision of forming the Ndikelionwu Diaspora Daughters.
Finally, I found again that these shades of opinion among members and the people who hold these opinions are far from the vision, aim and objectives of the association, a situation I found makes them less committed to its ideals.
That is why I had wished that our late traditional ruler, the erudite scholar and novelist, prof. Chukwuemeka Ike is still alive. Nonetheless, I wish to extend my gratitude to my husband, Prince Nwachukwu, HRH, Igwe Joseph Ajodo of Egashi Ukwa, Ven. Rex Kanu, Chief (Barr.) Ekeneme Ike, (Dike na OgbaOgu-Ndike), Mr. Chikezie Orji, Chief (Barr.) Tagbo Ike, Engr. Udo Okereke, Chief Okey Okereke, Hon. Ifeanyi Nwankwo (Oroma Igbo), Prof. Chimelu Nwankwo, Sp Donald Nwankwo (Rtd), Sir Sopuluchukwu Nwafor and a host of others, who encouraged this association to stand.