THE BEGINING OF THE NSU DEVELOPMENT AND CULTURAL ASSOCIATION (NDCA) CANADA CHAPTER
Rev. Fr. Iheanyi Enwerem, O.P., PhD
The Canada Chapter of the NDCA traces its origin to Rev. Fr. Iheanyi Enwerem’s attendance at the NDCA 2007 Convention which was hosted by the New York Chapter – thanks to Uchenna Anyanwu and C.C. Osigwe both of whom individually talked to him into joining the Association. At this first attendance, he more or less went as an observer. He loved what he saw. For the first time in his life, he narrated, he was opportuned to meet a large number of Nsu sons and daughters in diaspora reasoning with one mind on how best to better the lot of our loved ones at home. He was especially touched by the commitment and the fraternal interaction between the members as well as the excitement that greeted their collective decision at this convention to embark on a Hospital Project for our people. Simply bought into what he saw, so to speak, Fr. Enwerem became a member of the Association. And since then there has been no going back.
But then Fr. Enwerem was the only Nsu indigene coming from Canada, just as the Association was nowhere in existence in that whole vast country. And since membership into the Association begins with one joining a local Chapter, he had to decide which Chapter to register with. Here, he was thorn between the New York and the Chicago Chapters. He chose Chicago which appeared to him at the time to be better organized. For the subsequent years, he took it upon himself to give the Association a footing in Canada. To this end he would appeal to members, at every convention he attended, to provide him with the contact for any Nsu son or daughter they know to be residing in Canada.
Soon Fr. Enwerem’s effort began to yield some fruits, resulting in his getting to know Jerry and Justina (Tina) Okeadu – thanks to Chuck Okeadu who linked him up with his brother (Jerry) and wife (Tina). Fr. Enwerem soon entered into regular telephone communication and visits that culminated into his very close fraternal relationship with the Okeadus. Hardly did their conversations end without some discussion on the plight and challenges before our people at home. Without much ado, needless to say, Jerry and Justina, came along with Fr. Enwerem to the 2010 Convention in Dallas. They registered with the Houston Chapter, the home Chapter of Jerry’s brother, Chuck.
The three – Fr. Enwerem, Jerry and Tina – soon began to nurse the dream of starting a Canadian Chapter; they were prepared to do so with just the three of them. To their excitement, Basil Ugochukwu – by then a PhD student in Law at York University – got in touch with Fr. Enwerem. It did not take long before Basil and his wife (Nkechi) expressed the interest to join the Association.
Meanwhile, at the 2011 Convention in Houston, USA, Jerry and Tina Okeadu – the only participants from Canada that year – proposed and argued to have us in Canada host the next (2012) Convention. They were able to successfully convince the members at the Houston Convention. And so Canada had to host the Convention. It is worth noting that by this time, what would eventually end up becoming the foundational members of the Canada Chapter just comprised of the following five: Jerry, Tina, Basil, Nkechi and Fr. Enwerem. We were determined to make a success of hosting the Convention despite the odds of living no less than three hours flight from one another. It was at this time that we got in touch with another illustrious son of Nsu, Dr. Steve IK Madu, and his wife Dr. Scholastica. We were able to talk them into coming for the Canada Convention in Regina (the capital of the Province of Saskatchewan), making it their first attendance at the NDCA Convention. Thus, the Convention gave us the singular opportunity for us to physically meet ourselves for the first time as Nsu indigenes residents in Canada.
The odds (the geographical distance between us and our very small number) notwithstanding, we were able to host a very successful NDCA Convention! Following the convention, those of us present briefly met; the exception were the Ugochukwus who, for reasons beyond them, could not make the convention but were solidly one with us. At that inaugural meeting, EXACTLY ON SUNDAY JULY 8, 2012, we formally organized ourselves into the Canada NDCA Chapter, leading to our election of the following members to run the affairs of the Chapter, even if on an interim basis:
- Rev. Fr. Iheanyi Enwerem (President),
- Basil Ugochukwu (Secretary), and
- Tina Okeadu (Treasurer).
- Dr. Steve Madu, Jerry Okeadu and Nkechi Ugochukwu as honourable floor members – they laugh!!!
With the preceding development, our members’ affiliation with the Chicago and Houston Chapters respectively (Fr. Enwerem with Chicago and the Okeadus with Houston) came to an end. The Ugochukwus (Basil and Nkechi) and the Madus (Steve and Scholastica) who, by 2012 at the Canadian Convention, were not members of any local Chapter simply registered their membership into the NDCA through the Canadian Chapter. Two years later, we welcomed our latest member, Steven Onyema Enwerem, thus bringing our current membership to a total of eight (8) which is as follows:
Current Members of the Canadian Chapter
- Rev. Fr. Iheanyi Enwerem,
- Jerry Okeadu,
- Justina (Tina) Okeadu,
- Dr. Steve IK Madu,
- Dr. Scholastica Madu,
- Dr. Basil Ugochukwu, Esq.,
- Nkechi Ugochukwu, and
- Steven Onyema Enwerem.
Given the nature of our Canadian situation – living miles and hours apart from one another – our meetings are usually and normally by way of teleconference. We are governed by a Constitution which is an extension of the NDCA National Constitution with some local content as Canadians, leaving our affairs to be run by our elected officials. We can be easily reached by phone 306-651-0609, our President’s number.
Written and Presented by
Rev. Fr. Iheanyi Enwerem, O.P., PhD