Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Texas Court Settles Rift In World Igbo Congress

By Petrus Obi, Sun News Online

A court in Texas, United States has settled the three-year-old rift in the World Igbo Congress and thus paved the way for 2011 Congress coming up in Toronto, Canada, from September 2 to 5.

In a unanimous decision on July 19, from the Texas Fourteenth Court of Appeals, a three Justices Panel, consisting of Chief Justice Hedges, Justice Seymore and Justice Boyce, dismised Joseph N. Etoh’s appeal of Judge Steven Kirkland’s order of January 14, 2010, commanding Etoh, among other things, “to desist and refrain from acting as (an) officer of the World Igbo Congress Inc. (WIC)” and further ordered Eto and his cohorts “to pay all costs incurred in this appeal.”

In a statement, Chairman of the group, Ichie Onwuchekwe, recalled the event that led to the crisis: “Some time ago I made a statement that the events that occurred in Tampa, Florida, in 2008 will make our beloved World Igbo Congress (WIC) stronger. In fact, WIC has not only endured but has grown much stronger. The question has never been whether a man could stumble and fall down. The question has always been what happens after the man falls down and realises that he fell down; how quickly does he get up?

“ The World Igbo Congress is a unique organisation. It has waxed strong through thick and thin. Even during the “dark” hours, the organisation never missed a board meeting or an annual convention.”
He likened the challenges WIC faced to what happened to the Apex Igbo Organisation in Nigeria, Ohaneze Ndi Igbo, which was similarly challenged a few years ago. At that time, the president general of Ohaneze used to describe the Ohaneze problem as “distractions.”

“Finally, Ohaneze sought resolution in a court of law and the court restored order in the organisation. We are looking at the ‘light at the end of the tunnel’ in the legal tussle within WIC. The Fourteenth Texas Court of Appeals has re-directed us and we need to step back, reflect and refocus on the ‘ball’. For those who have called me and my WIC executive to ‘congratulate’ us on this matter, my response is that personally I see no ‘victory’ in this matter. Neither Joe Eto nor J.O.S. Okeke are enemies of Ndi Igbo. It is now time to rejoin hands and focus on our real challenges within the Nigerian context.

“I call on every Onye Igbo in the diaspora to show up in Toronto, Canada, during the upcoming WIC Convention from September 2 to 5, to re-align the Igbo focus, move the Igbo agenda forward and strengthen the process of healing within the WIC family.”

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