A celebration of culture event — Ohanaeze Ndi Igbo Ancestry and Town Hall Meeting, sponsored by Nigerian Igbo social and cultural group Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide through it’s North American chapter was hosted at the Smithsonian National Museum of African Art (Arts & Industries Building (AIB)).
It was held Saturday July 29, 2023 under the theme “Securing Igbo Land through Economic Empowerment and Development” attended by an estimated 200+ guests. According to the organizers, the event which was inaugural was hosted with the aim of “focusing on the economic development of Igboland through collaborative efforts of Igbo sons, daughters and others in North America and the global communities”.
In his speech, Chief Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu, the President General of Ohanaeze Ndi Igbo Worldwide commended the leadership of Ohanaeze Ndi Igbo Worldwide and North America for their joint effort in organizing the event. The keynote speaker, Dr. Kingsley Moghalu was introduced by Jude Mbionwu. His speech reflected the importance of involving with the Igbos in the diaspora as a way of preserving the tribal heritage and unity.
An Igbo cultural display was performed by Lilycent Ogbuagu, and a historic ancestry induction ceremony was carried out by Chief Iwuanyanwu. Two inductees were admitted to their Igbo heritage at the esteemed event.
The first inductee, General William Ward is a retired United States Army three-star general who served as the inaugural Commander of United States Africa Command from October 1, 2007 to March 8, 2011.
The second inductee, Dr. Emmit McHenry is the founder of Network Solutions, Inc., one of the early internet domain services providers. He’s a pioneer of the internet known as “the creator of .com” phenomenon. Dr. McHenry created a complex code which allowed easy access to the internet and email services.
The induction was followed by a colorful display of Igbo cultural masquerades to grace the occasion. The event had its concluding program with its Town Hall Meeting. Each speaker in the panel had five minutes to discuss selected topics relevant to the growth and survival of the Igbo people globally.
The panel agreed on the social-cultural group’s vision of setting up investment funds needed for building new, and improving existing economic infrastructures in Igboland, including seaports, airports, mega city metropolis, intra regional rail system, security infrastructures, power generation and distribution, agriculture, healthcare, education and information technology.
On the panel, Dr. Joseph Ogundu discussed “New Mega City Metropolis in the Heart of Igbo Land”; Mr. Sam Smoots spoke on “Infrastructure Development Funding”, and Dr. Chukwuemeka Ofor concluded with “Setting up Security Architecture in Igbo land”.
The event ended with a closing remark from Chief (Prof.) Godfrey Rex Ajoku, and a self-guided tour of the Smithsonian National Museum of African Art.
For more information about Ohanaeze North America, go to their official website at www.ohanaezenorthamerica.com.