Ehirim Files Classic: WIC's Nashville Picnic: A Gathering Of Igbo Efulefu

BY  Ambrose Ehirim

Don't let the abbreviation fool you. It has nothing to do with Women, Infants, and Children, i.e., WIC - as in America's welfare program for indigent women and their infants. It has nothing to do with worthy Igbo causes either. It is like any other abbreviation with just a different meaning. It is worthless, WIC in this case is a crooked collective pretending to be doing something commendable and laudable for the Igbo nation. This piece is about this year’s fraudulent picnic of organized Igbo efulefu, the worthless and confused Diaspora bunch that calls itself “World Igbo Congress - WIC.”

As it happened, for months, pundits at Igbo fora, especially the notorious yahoo e-mail list, have been "eloquently" telling us about effecting change in the Igbo Nation with the dramatized so-called WIC Convention to be held in Nashville, Tennessee, over the Labor Day weekend. But I really do have a problem with the do-nothing “Igbo Forum,” which is being run as I write without memory, and with no one, absolutely no one, thinking about the fact that the list is irrelevant for the simple fact that there is no record of the hundreds of posts made daily by persons who would cite that forum for records of what they stand for. Seriously, Igbo_forum at has depleted most of its archive and those who write there now lack the ability to confidently point anyone to what they wrote in the past.

The memory in Igbo Forum is gone. It has been said over and over again by many, myself included, that there is no more memory to make references in the event, say, one wants to retrieve a commentary or so from the archives to buttress a point. Take for instance, the extensive and exhaustive debate during the 2000 WIC Convention in Dallas, Texas, noted for its once and for all solution-oriented and problem solving, ala, ka akpachaa ya akpacha, in what I can still recall, a symposium, and in what I had called "Nony and the WIC Formula." In that fierce and aggressive debate, Nony, Okenwa Nwosu, Ken Okorie, Ndiribe Ndiribe, Ugorji Ugorji, Egbebelu Ugobelu, Ejike Okpa, and many others wrote on what bothered them regarding WIC's ineptitude. Nonetheless, WIC pros Ugorji, Okorie, Nony, and Ndiribe tried to persuade the rest of us that WIC was the backbone, the umbrella organization of Nd'Igbo, with us not knowing they were all running a show of their own interest. Where is that reference today? It's absolutely gone. Everything written in Igbo_forum between 1999 and June 2001 has been deleted for lack of space. How can one prove the debates took place?

And, yet, every year, the political heavyweights in Igbo Forum have not lost the momentum to tell Nd'Igbo WIC is the umbrella Diaspora organization to solve problems grand and small within the Igbo nation. Really? The fraudulent and shameless Ugorji, at a time during Governor Achike Udenwa's visit to the shores of America told me, whether I liked it or not, that WIC protects my interest in the United States. Most of us know it well WIC "ain't doing a damn thing" for Nd'Igbo, and that's very obvious from its years of impotency. So, what has WIC done to protect my interest other than its annual picnic of showcasing ego-tripping robed chiefs-with-no-Indians in America? How has WIC addressed the plight of Nd'Igbo over the years? Since WIC has not lived up to its creed, what's the need for the annual bash wasting time and money?

The disgusting 2000 WIC Convention in Dallas where Abubakar Rimi popped up from nowhere should have warned Nd’Igbo that WIC "was up to no good" and it was all about showing off Islamic Jihad-like flowing gowns, outfits, and hauls of chieftaincy titles. A sad reality, indeed. But the irony is that this whole lot of brouhaha and convention of opportunists who have lost their sense of purpose can be traced to Olusegun Obasanjo's strategy of using the buffoons and Igbo sellouts as rubber stamps in situations that call for Nd’Igbo to make their own decisions. Today, the leadership of WIC is a bunch of gullible twits and cowards who have betrayed the Igbo Nation and succumbed to Obasanjo and Iwuanyanwu’s antics, just as the money bags in Ohanaeze have done.

Yes, money bags. Rimi splashed $10,000 in the face of Nd'Igbo and could insult and use any swear word against them, saying it loud and clear "in your face." Of course, it happened in Ken Okorie’s home base of Dallas when they were all attracted to Rimi's money. Pitiful!

For sure, Obasanjo and his coattails have figured out how to handle Nd'Igbo with the right nuts and bolts screwed into their brains. WIC officers see the decrepit state of roads in Igboland. Yet, they make statements that Obasanjo is doing a good job. They witness Obasanjo’s hate and bigotry and are aware that Obasanjo is a bloodthirsty criminal. Yet, they sneak through the backdoor to endorse Obasanjo. It all came to a head when Anambra State indigenes, including those in Diaspora, could not carry out a mass rally and revolt, or denounce Chris Uba and his colleagues' act of treasonable felony, or the criminal behavior of Chris Ngige in agreeing to surrender Anambra to Chris Uba.

Amazingly, Anambra people, including the attorney general of this Orwellian and Shakespearean state, failed to rise to the occasion and prosecute Uba's criminal gang to the limits of the law. Yet WIC has the guts to hold a convention in Nashville, and Uba, as rumor has it, is now in America acquiring properties, living in the most posh of places, Parlos Verdes, California, on looted money. So what's WIC's convention for? To discuss what? Igbo plight? That Uba who "now resides in California" is justified for his acts and protected by those who help him launder money for sharing the loots and spoils of power? So, too, in whose interest is it for Uba's new home in California, running away scot-free without charge in AlaIgbo and the nations “neo-democratic fabric?” In whose interest is the rule of law being reversed while anarchy is put in place in Anambra State?

When the Ngige Vs. Uba drama, which is still playing, exploded and made headlines in the media, both Ngige supporters and Uba's followers got into it, playing the blame game as if it was normal procedure and appropriate for what had unfolded. Ironically, the pundits in Anambra State caught up in a well orchestrated gimmick that brought turmoil during Chinwoke Mbadinuju administration of chaos and instability when Emeka Offor was the Don, the fat cats who instituted anarchy in that troubled state ate their own words when shady business deals and bad faith erupted in Ngige’s and Uba's criminal activities.

These pundits had sworn "never again" would what happened in Mbadinuju's era of anarchy be allowed to repeat itself in what they had foreseen would be a genuine elected governor by the people's mandate. They were wrong and they misled the poor masses who had no idea money and favors were changing hands. However, all said and done, Ngige was elected upon the most massive rigging exercise in the state's history.

All this and within four months, WIC went to Nashville on Labor Day weekend, according to the actors and attendees. In all their commentaries and accolades, the subject-matter of Chris Uba and Chris Ngige was hardly mentioned, except in a contrived and belated communiqué. The fate of the Igbo Nation and state of the empire and anarchy instituted by the likes of Offor, Uba, and Ngige. Former Secretary-General of WIC, Luke Azubuike, who had campaigned against the reelection of Kalu Diogu, and who spins when least expected, raised his version of the truth about his assessment of WIC when he wrote:

"The campaign is over, the election is over, but what is not yet over is the deplorable state of affairs in Igboland. It is my prayer that the tough election Dr. Diogu faced would inspire him to re-evalute his leadership style and to see if he can do things differently at this time to change the political dynamics in Igboland."

Well, for once, he has been sincere. Igboland is in a "deplorable state." But, his baseless point of view did not offer any solutions to that deplorable state of affairs. The worst scenario came with WIC's tyrannical order, the so-called WIC Nashville 2003 communiqué, which is really criminal:

"That WIC demands that every Igbo organization in the United States should reserve the Labor Day weekend exclusively for World Igbo Congress Convention to ensure maximum participation of Nd'Igbo in the discussion of Igbo affairs. Further disregard would be cause for sanctions including ostracism."

With this outrageous line of communiqué, it is evident that the organizers do not have their acts together and have no idea what it is they are doing. Funny how these people are when they fail to come to terms with reality. No mention of Chris Uba whom nobody could prosecute. No mention of Chris Ngige who signed away Anambra State to the mob.

And one WIC 2003 attendee at igbo_forum had this to say about attendance at the dysfunctional Nashville, picnic: “Fifty-five delegates signed the attendance and they spoke eloquently." Whoever said they would not speak "eloquently?"

Also, funny was the praises and hi-fives for Alex Ekwueme, who is now seeking to position himself as a neo-Igboist. Ekwueme, ever so clever spoke eloquently of the need for a profound and centralized Igbo political party. Now that elections are over, Ekwueme pretended to lean toward APGA. These guys will not cease to amaze me. Honestly!

Then, there came the write-up of that self-acclaimed Igbo technocrat, Odindu Odunze, whose beef with General Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu I had problems trying to figure out. Odunze in his infantile angst and frustration-induced hallucinations for his own failures challenged Ojukwu thus:

"If after a considerable length of time I do not hear from Chief Dim Ojukwu concerning his consent to my challenge for a debate, I will publish in its entirety, the content of what would have been the premises of my debate on why I believe that Ojukwu has outlived his political utility and ought to bow out with grace."

Now I am not an expert on leadership, references, archives, or storage. But without agreeing that these pronouncements can seem foolish, as most, if not all would think they do including Okenwa Nwosu himself who wrote without bias for the first time:

"If the tone of the published communiqué is indicative of what the newly elected WIC executive shall be up to for next 2 years, then we shall all have legitimate cause to worry and lament for the fate of our people. Could this be a manifestation of arrogance of power in party here?"

How soon we forget what transpired in the past. No reflections and no profound insight in WIC's Communiqué, I must freely confess. It is typical of a conquered and finished people.

Going back to the archives which no longer exists in Igbo Forum, in the convention sponsored by Igbo Cultural Association of Nigeria Dallas-Forth Worth (ICAN-DFW), held in Dallas in the Summer of 2000, Ojukwu was clear in calling on Diaspora Igbos to take over the mantle of leadership from his generation. The Ikemba detailed the necessity of Diaspora leadership. On that score, it is either Odunze is pretending not to know of Ojukwu's call for change of guards or Odunze was intentionally bent on mischief when he lamented that Ikemba Nnewi "has outlived his political utility."

Apparently, the Igbo Diaspora, scared to their scrotum, Odunze himself included, could not take up the mantle of leadership in effecting change. So, what's Odunze talking about? Odunze was not even able to address the Ngige-Uba fraud, which fell on his lap at the WIC picnic, which DIM Ojukwu did not attend. Ojukwu’s absence at WIC 2003 was perfect opportunity for Odunze and his ilk to show what they could do in the absence of Ojukwu. Odunze did not care to call on Igbos to apply their laws firmly and swiftly to all those who break them. Rather, Odunze was obsessed with Ojukwu.

It's time to quit the picnic and face serious issues. The bottom line is, the moment pundits of the post-civil war era begin to realize that Igbo problems lie within ego-tripping elitists who have destroyed the unity of the Igbo nation in its entirety, and find a way out of the situation, the present state of confusion and lack of organizational effectiveness will continue to eternity and Nd’Igbo would continue to be and act like a conquered and finished people.

This article was published exclusively at BNW Magazine on September 06, 2003