Presidents Address at Italy 2016 Summit 1.0

Akparawa (Elder) Monday Etokakpan, JP

Akparawa (Elder) Monday Etokakpan, JP

AN ADDRESS BY THE INTERNATIONAL PRESIDENT OF MBOHO MKPARAWA IBIBIO, AKPARAWA (ELDER) MONDAY ETOKAKPAN, JP, FCIL, ON THE OCCASION OF THE 1ST IBIBIO SUMMIT IN ITALY AND THE INAUGURATION OF BOLOGNA CHAPTER ON SATURDAY, JUNE 25, 2016 AT VIA DEL BATTIFERERRO, 2 BOLOGNA ITALY.

PROTOCOL,

  • INTRODUCTION

It gives me utmost pleasure to address you at this triple header and epochal occasion of the 1st Ibibio Summit in Italy, the berth in Bologna, Italy of Mboho Mkparawa Ibibio and induction of new members of Mboho Mkparawa Ibibio today.

2.0     BRIEF HISTORY OF MBOHO MKPARAWA IBIBIO

Mboho Mkparawa Ibibio (MMI), the largest socio-cultural organization in Nigeria was established on August 1, 1987 in Calabar, Capital of Cross River State, as it was then, out of which Akwa Ibom State was carved one month after MMI was born.

May I remind us that Ibibio had, until a few decades ago, a generic definition of the Mainland part of the then Cross River State. This is why the legendary Ibibio Union was established by the people of core Ibibio, Annang and Oron today the three dominant ethnic groups that make up Akwa Ibom State.

MMI at 29 is standing tall having been mid-wifed by eight past presidents who have each successfully done their bid to raise the status of Mboho through varied initiatives, talents and visions. As the 9th International President I have the singular honour of inaugurating in a short while from now the newest Chapter and proceeding to induct the newest set of members.

From the humble beginning of 12 members in a small apartment, Mboho has grown to become an internationally recognised body of over 20,000 members in 55 chapters across four continents of Africa, Asia, Europe and North America with Bologna, Italy set to become the 56th Chapter.

Mboho Mkparawa Ibibio is today housed in her Headquarters in an ultra-modern Community Centre in the prestigious Udo Udoma Avenue, Uyo. Mboho is now a proud proprietor of a group of schools catering for Nursery, Primary and College needs of our youth all of whom are comfortably accommodated in MMI’s purposed-built facilities in Idu, Uruan Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State.

Our members have served, and are still serving, in various capacities in the academia, private and public sectors at State, national and international levels.

We are strong in the United States and Canada with 5 vibrant chapters and still counting. We are very strong in the United Kingdom where we have 4 strong chapters. We will be heading soon to South Africa to inaugurate yet another off-shore Chapter. And we have not ceased expanding our foot prints in Nigeria as Warri Chapter is set for inauguration this year.

Mboho Mkparawa Ibibio’s achievements in the areas of advocacy for good governance, philanthropy, mass mobilization, education as well as activism for justice and equity are far too many to itemize in a short address such as this.

We are also very active in the drive for empowerment of members through robust partnership and collaboration with governments at all levels and through our initiated ventures and programmes such as the Mboho Microcredit Scheme, Mboho Farms and Mboho Cooperatives. Presently we are promoting a more ambitious model namely The Mboho Microfinance Bank. We are confident that blueprints from veteran bankers amongst us will ensure that our Mboho Micro Finance Bank will be there to meet our twin needs of returns on investment and empowerment of members who often stand in genuine need for affordable credits. We urge you to invest seriously in the Mboho Micro Finance Bank which is set to take off any moment from now.

3.0    OUR VALUES, OUR STRUCTURE, OUR MODUS OPERANDI

As a cultural organization Mboho Mkparawa Ibibio goes to great lengths to project, promote and protect the rich cultural heritage of the Ibibio nation.

We understand that language is a body of words and the systems for their use common to a people who are of the same community or nation, the same geographical area, or the same cultural tradition. Taken together a people without their own unique and peculiar language cannot talk about their own unique and peculiar culture and can therefore not talk about their own identity.

A people’s culture nay identity is honed, nurtured, studied, appreciated and preserved in that people’s language.

This underscores the prime place that Mboho Mkparawa Ibibio accords the teaching and propagation of the Ibibio Language amongst Ibibio people wherever they may be on the surface of the earth. This is particularly relevant to you in the diaspora given that our cultural identity, as our mother tongue, is at the risk of being subsumed and going extinct in the face of the cultural mix and interactions that you and your younger generation are having to cope with.

Mboho Mkparawa Ibibio holds high personal discipline, honesty and integrity as non-negotiable values.

Mboho Mkparawa Ibibio is a membership organization which operates a unitary constitution in which authority flows down from the International Headquarters to the local chapter through the High Commission to the Chairman of the chapter.

Every member belongs to a chapter. All assets, tangible and non-tangible, at the chapters and Headquarters are held for the organization through the Board of Trustees.

The International President is vested with the responsibility for the day to day running of the organization and he exercises this function through the afore-stated representatives subject to the provisions of the constitution and with oversight by the Central Working Committee. Please do well to always consult your constitution regularly for greater details to remain guided at all times.     

4.0     PARTNERSHIP WITH GOVERNMENT

Mboho Mkparawa Ibibio is a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) but we have over the years found government as a veritable partner and we make bold to say that this partnership has in part enabled us to achieve some of our set objectives as I listed earlier. For example our group of schools, our Microfinance Bank, our cooperatives all have to operate within the ambits of the laws and regulations stipulated by the governments.

Such fruitful collaboration easily comes through in the choice of our theme for this Summit namely Akwa Ibom State: Africas Emerging Destination for Tourism and Investment. As you know our hard-working Governor, His Excellency Mr Udom Gabriel Emmanuel shortly after his inauguration had enunciated a 5-point agenda of Wealth creation; Economic/Political inclusion; Poverty Alleviation; Job Creation and Infrastructural Consolidation/Expansion.

Mboho Mkparawa Ibibio as a proactive organization was one of the first organizations to appreciate the DA’ KKA’ DA philosophy of the administration of His Excellency, Mr Udom Gabriel Emmanuel, as we see this initiative as a mass movement for the rebirth of our dear State. The DA’KKA ‘DA initiative is a timely ideology to galvanize Akwa Ibom people for social revival, moral regeneration and economic emancipation.

We are pleased to posit that already, a larger majority of our people at home and in the diaspora have imbibed the DA’KKA’DA consciousness and have risen to the faith of greatness. We have risen beyond biases, ethnicity, religion and gender; we have risen to chart a new course of greatness for ourselves and generations to come. I enjoin you to do the same.

More than anything else it is the congruence and alignment of our theme with the State Government’s policy thrust that can possibly explain the interest and high power presence of government functionaries in this Summit. This is aside the fact that all of the administrations officials here present are in their own rights inducted members of this great organization.

OUR GRATITUDE TO NIGERIAN HIGH COMMISSION IN ITALY

Ladies and gentlemen, I cannot end this address without expressing our heart-felt gratitude to The Nigerian Ambassador in Italy, Her Execellency, Mrs Margaret Meshioye for her exceptional and outstanding support and encouragement, moral and material towards the success of this Submit. We pray the almighty God to bless and reward her with rapid promotion and favours even as we solicit more of her motherly love and assistance to Mboho Mkparawa Ibibio and Ibibio Nation here in Italy and anywhere else her duty post will take you.

5.0     MBOHO UNITY SCHOOL

The Mboho Unity Schools (MUS) remain the cornerstone of our development programme. As an off-shoot of the iconic Ibibio Union, we in MMI maintain that education is the surest way to empower, emancipate and equip a people to attain self-actualization. As you would agree good quality education is not cheap anywhere. This is why the MUS has remained the single largest consumer of our financial resources.

As you would imagine resources for the upkeep of these schools are mainly from donations of cash, equipment and materials from members all over the world.

So as you come on board today please always think and ask about what you can do to assist in further development of the Schools. No gesture is too small.

Do not start by asking what Mboho can do for you for in service we find reward.

It is gratifying that these interventions have been yielding the desired results as the students have been doing excellently well in all external examinations of Junior and Senior Certificate categories returning 100 percent pass rates.

6.0     CONCLUSION

Mboho Mkparawa Ibibio is glad to have you join the train today. You have today made history as the pioneer set of Ibibio patriots in Italy. We salute your commitment and we appreciate your courage.

However, I urge you not to relent in the drive for good quality membership.

And as you nurture it to grow please be aware that this chapter may someday out-grow you in terms of resourcefulness, ideas and sheer caliber of members. Please do not do anything to truncate or stunt its expansion through your actions, inactions and utterance. Rest assured that like the 12 sons of Ibibio who started MMI in 1987 history will always remember you for your pioneering efforts and the spade work and great sacrifice you have made in giving life to this organization in Italy. This is noble enough.

 

Therefore I hereby challenge you to go to work to ramp up your membership strength in Bologna and to establish more chapters in Italy in a not-too distant time.

 

It is of utmost importance to enjoin you to continue to be good ambassadors of Ibibio race in all that you do or engage in while in this land of sojourn.

Hold out high in this country the noble values of hard-work and be law-abiding bearing in mind that yours is an economic mission.

 

Do not hesitate to seek Akwa Ibom State government’s collaboration in bringing back home opportunities for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) in order to contribute to the development of your mother land.

My administration will continue to support you in all of above endeavours even as we will continue to maintain our open doors for objective and useful suggestions and criticisms.

May I at this point acknowledge and place on record the hard-work of the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Diaspora Affairs, the High Commission and chapters in UK and all the about-to-be-inducted members for making this day happen.

Yak isong adot ukana.

May God bless Mhoho Mkparawa Ibibio.

Akparawa (Elder) Monday Etokakpan, FCIL, JP.

International President,

June 25, 2016