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The founders of World Igbo Congress (WIC) were originally motivated to build it into an umbrella organization for all Igbo associations existing outside Nigeria. Its founding leaders succeeded to a large extent in implementing the initial phases of the group’s agenda, which focused mostly on bringing this entity to the notice and recognition of the leadership of Igbo political elite worldwide. The WIC has managed to captivate the imagination of a critical mass of Diaspora Igbo who now look up to it as the veritable platform to be used for articulation and projection of their viewpoints on Igbo affairs, in particular and Nigeria’s national development, in general. For an organization that bases its structure on affiliate membership, growth in the numbers of constituent member groups, soon after its debut, convinced some that WIC has irrefutably become the epicenter of Diaspora Igbo leadership. Personal and philosophical differences between the core group that founded the WIC gave birth to the World Igbo Council (WIC*) and the Enyimba amidst others. The World Igbo Congress has effectively weathered this crisis and emerged fairly intact and has since shrugged off any challenge to its image as the premier Igbo Diaspora organization.

But initial successes of the WIC were not sustainable for a variety of reasons. Succeeding leaders of this body have become involved in acts that portrayed the WIC, its operational agenda and programs as well as its raison d’etre as mere outlets for courting favor and undue recognition from home-based political elite. Enormous capital was squandered by WIC leadership and rank-and-file membership in organizing and orchestrating big national conventions in large population centers of North America and Europe. These large and well-attended conventions were used to arrive at policy positions that were soon abandoned or misapplied in the aftermath of those get-together. For example, the WIC 2002 convention in Houston, Texas, came up with a strong resolution for it to spearhead the actualization of the Igbo presidency project for 2003 general elections. It is not only that the entire project was botched, but also the WIC leadership made no visible public effort to galvanize Ndiigbo to rally toward the execution of the organization’s resolutions.

Failure of the Igbo presidency project in the last general elections has raised doubts in the mind of the average Diaspora Igbo as to the desirability of propping up a lackluster and impotent umbrella organization which cannot muster the wherewithal to implement even its own resolutions. Well-meaning individuals have spoken out criticizing WIC performance and its inability to fit the label that it appends to its name. There are signs that a wave of change is poised to sweep through the WIC’s operational agenda and interaction with the people it claims to represent. The WIC Education Committee has convinced the parent-body Executive Board to adopt a program that shall enhance quality education amongst Ndiigbo in Diaspora and at home. The Education Committee has been given the green light to initiate a scholarship program for outstanding students, organize an Igbo-language essay contest and establish a journal that will act as voice of the WIC. In a recent release, the Chairman of WIC Education Committee, Dr. Ugorji O. Ugorji, promised to unveil the outcome of his committee’s assignment during this year’s national convention billed for Nashville, Tennessee, USA.

WIC past leaders sought to play a leading role in ameliorating the miserable survival conditions of wounded Biafran war veterans camped at Oji River, Enugu state, Nigeria. But that laudable endeavor has stalled and appears to have been put in the organization’s back burner. This new thrust of quantifiable endeavor that is to be implemented by the Education Committee is certainly going to be a test of the ability and will of present and future WIC leadership to implement the group's resolve. A big vacuum presently exists in Igbo leadership which a reinvigorated WIC can play a major role in filling if its leadership can begin now to do the proper things at the right time. Pan Ndiigbo Foundation, (PNF-USA), Osondu Foundation, Inc. and lots of other Igbo groups and individuals stand behind the Dallas All-Igbo Political Summit which has been called for the weekend of July 11-13, 2003 to initiate the process of deriving a practical consensus agenda to guide Ndiigbo for the foreseeable future. The summit shall offer a unique opportunity for Ndiigbo to establish firm basis for prioritizing actualization of key issues that are of critical import to the Igbo mainstream. Involvement in or maintenance of participatory oversight on the deliberations and outcome of this summit shall further reinforce the encouraging impression that the WIC is firmly committed to playing its expected leadership role in affairs of generality of Ndiigbo.

Osondu
The Survival Struggle for Ndiigbo
 

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