In a stunning engagement during the 2nd round of Zoom calls last weekend facilitated by Mr Omoruyi Igiehon, I was able to see that the Edo community in the UK has reached a point where everyone seems to have agreed to turn towards our better impulses.
Edos who have been excelling over the years in many professional areas in the United Kingdom are now identifying with the community structure in the UK. The Edo leaders in charge of those structures are welcoming their involvement with open arms. These interactions are community gains from The Edo Summit UK 2019 and The Edo2020 elections which demonstrated there is an active Edo Community in the United Kingdom.
The 1st round of Zoom calls which took place 2 weeks ago had the executives from The Benin Union UK detail the union activities, achievements, and challenges to Mr Igiehon and his economic team (see report on www.edoconnect.com). A 2nd round of Zoom calls was needed for the Edo National President UK, Esan and Afemai UK association presidents, to also explain how things are working in their Edo UK structures. This effort is to assist Mr Igiehon’s economic team with as much understanding as they need to build processes that can give value to the Edo Community in the UK through our current spending habits.
Mr. Osa Andre Omo-Osagie- a Thompson Reuters executive for over 2 decades and a present director of HubrisOne X- an information technology company in the UK, headed Mr. Igiehon’s team in this round. Mr Omo-Osagie explained to the presidents of ENA, Esan and Afemai, it is about giving value to the Edo people by doing what we like doing now; sending money home, building houses at home and everyday help. Harnessing lost opportunities from the above listed habits can create jobs for Edo people in the UK. Our strong cultural heritage provides us many economic opportunities to bring wealth into our community. Securing our investment, making our money work better, giving our generations a pathway and making financial partnership possible are all by-products the Edo in Diaspora community are missing out on. Mr Osa Andre Omo-Osagie is an Edo man who wants to make a difference. His Father, Bolaji Omo-Osagie, was a partner in accountancy consultancy firm Akintola Williams Deloitte in Lagos. His grandfather, Chief Humphrey Omo-Osagie B-2, The Iyase of Benin during Oba Akenzua reign.
Dr Omorodion, the Edo National President UK, in his opening remarks expressed his delight at the initiative, stating he has now met the generation in Mr Igiehon’s team who will be able to take the community forward . He explained all about ENA UK which has a similar body in the USA. In 2013, when Adams Oshiomhole attended ENA USA convention, he wanted us to connect with, not only with all Edos in diaspora but also those with extended Edo extractions. The ENA organisation under his leadership has been doing just that. ENA UK has a structure and communication network between all Edo unions and associations in the UK. There is also a website. However, Dr Omorodion stated that the structures are stretched and not up to date due to financial limitations and a lack of human capacity. ENA is still very functional and involved in Edo activities and projects here in diaspora and at home in Edo State. He closed off by saying ENA executives in the UK want to hand over the reins to the next generation with fresh ideas but he has been unable to find them.
Ekpoma Okpa Association President, Mr Agbomaselena Omonua, who represented the Esan Community detailed their participation as an Edo Community in Diaspora. The Esan Community cares just like ENA about Edo developments in diaspora and at home. The Esan Community want to be involved in initiatives that will integrate our Edo generations in diaspora into the community. To improve developments at home and make participation in the community attractive to the children. He said the Esan Community wants to contribute to ENA UK as soon as they know how.
The Afemai Association UK president Mr Bankole Aigbodion, spoke about the political division recently that has made us lose our way a little bit. They want togetherness. They proudly remember assisting in a successful Edo Day in the UK 6 years ago which brought everyone back together as one family. He liked the Edo Economic functionality being presented. It sounds like it will help us go forward. In financial terms Mr Aigbodion stated the Afemai Community was quite buoyant because they have a set contribution per member over the years and always tasked themselves for projects in diaspora and home, within that contribution.
Other contributors included Mrs Julie Okundaye (Igiehon’s team): She spoke about mentoring and the creativity potential in the Edo community. “Sometimes”, she stated, “I am the only black woman in sight in my profession”. I would like to mentor/open opportunities to Edo immigrants and children.
Mr Olubankole Omokivie (Igiehon’s team) advised that there is a need to carry everybody along if our community is to be successful. Mr Alex Oni-Edigin (observer) said “This evening is like watching the champions that we need as a community to progress”. Eng Andrew Ebomwonyi billed the night as very uplifting.
Overall, all Edo Senatorial Community Presidents in the UK on the Zoom call approved the initiative to get value for the Edo people. Questions posed to Mr Igiehon and his team were answered brilliantly. They will be coming back in a few weeks with a “Potential Economic Projection for the Edo UK community”. This must be the first.
There was a welcome distraction when Mr Igiehon revealed he had grown up in Medical Store Road in Benin-city over 25 years ago, which prompted people on the call to ask him what he knew about the palliatives recently discovered in a Medical Store Road warehouse. Well it was a good Edo evening as usual.
Thanks to everyone present on the call: Dr. Charles Omorodion, Mr Agbomaselena Omonua, Mr Bankole Aigbodion, Mr William Okeaye Inneh, Mr Ebosa Ozor, Mr Henry Aimiuwu, Eng Andrew Ebomoyi, Mr alex Oni-Edigin, Prof Edwin Scott Asemota, Mrs Amadasun, Mrs Julie Okundaye, Mr Olubankole Omokivie, Mr Omoruyi Igiehon, Mr Dominic Eriata, Mr Thompson Omoruyi, Mr Osa Andre Omo-Osagie and Yabayamu. To the over 10 people missed out I sincerely apologise. Next time I will make my list now during the call. You are all appreciated.