Many Ndokwa indigenes have lived in the UK for several decades now. The history of organised Ndokwa community groups in the UK can be traced back to the mid 1950s when a group of students led by late chief Idise Ogoegbunem Dafe came together to found what was then known as Aboh Welfare Association. This period witnessed the gradual inflow of Ndokwa indigenes coming to the UK for further studies, especially in the fields of legal practice and accountancy. Personalities such as Chief Nwabuokei, Chief Afiari, Chief Owete, Chief Omuzaga, Chief Okia-Anie, the Almona brothers, LC Obi, Chief Peter Izu, etc.
There is not much information available in the way they were organised then until the late 1970s when the association began to witness more purposeful organisation. Late Mr Etugbo became the President and together with the General Secretary, Mr Ogwuobodo held on to a membership that was less than ten members, including Mr Esu, Chief Isagba, Mr Tom Onowu, Mrs Okena, and Mrs Etugbo.
II. Ndokwa Community in the 80s
There was further inflow of Ndokwa indigenes, who were later joined by members of their families to swell the numbers. At this time, Gideon Ishiekwene who joined the Ndokwa Community in 1981 took over the Secretarial responsibilities from Mr Ogwuobodo.
A sizeable number of members (including Ifeanyi Enwefa, Chief Isagba, Mrs Etugbo, and Edmund Chibogwu) also left for Nigeria, leaving only Mr Etugbo, Mr. and Mrs. Essu and Mr & Mrs Ishiekwene to hold the association together up until 1985 when the passion died down with few or no members showing up for meetings.
In 1988, the trio of Santos Oputa, Gideon Ishiekwene and Kennedy Dafe decided to revive the association, considering the growth in the population of Ndokwa indigenes resident in the UK. The inaugural meeting was hosted by Santos Oputa, with Gideon Ishiekwene and Kennedy Dafe picking up members either from their homes, or from train stations to ensure attendance. On adoption of the constitution, elections were held with Chief Mathew Otobo emerging as the President, and Clement Ebinum as General Secretary.
Chief Otobo led the association for two terms and handed over to Chief Peter Izu with Mark Abamba as his Vice in 1992. Mr. Gideon Ishiekwene was General Secretary. Mr Tony Chukuma became President in 1994, Clement Ebinum was his Vice and Vincent Ugboh as General Secretary.
Mr. Tony Chukuma was succeeded by Mr Clement Ebinum as President and Chief Mrs Stella Amogbokpa was elected Vice President in 1998, Mrs Funmi Ishiekwene was appointed as the General Secretary
With the resumption of democracy in Nigeria in 1999, many key members relocated to Nigeria, and despite the efforts of the General Secretary to convene meetings, meeting ceased to hold.
III. Development of Ndokwa Women’s Union in the UK
Ndokwa Community UK in the 1990s was mainly male dominated and some female members of the association felt the need to have a separate organisation where issues of concern to them could be freely discussed. In 1992 the women formed the organisation called Ndokwa Women’s Union UK (Motto: Otu ofu obi) under the leadership of Mrs Theresa Nwandu – former Mrs Nwabuokei, and Mrs Patricia Ewelum (former Mrs Enebeli). It is to their credit that this association has stood the test of time, surviving all the challenges before it since inception. Even when the general meeting faltered, they held on, even stronger today.
The women association have been led by the following women:
- Mrs Theresa Nwandu – President
- Mrs Christina Asagba – President
- Mrs Victoria Okonye – President
- Mrs Priscilla Daniel – President
- Chief Mrs Eunice Adesokan – President
Ndokwa Women’s Association, which has 30 members currently is presently led by Mrs. Funmi Ishiekwene, with Mrs Audery Ojiaku as Secretary.
IV. Further Efforts at Promoting Ndokwa Association
Efforts to revive the general body of Ndokwa association in 2005 could not be sustained as it turned out that the motive was not altruistic. However, in 2009, following a death in the community, there was a clamour for revival of the association. After much pressure from Chief (Mrs) Stella Amogbokpa and Mrs Priscilla Daniel, Mr Gideon Ishiekwene and Chief Peter Izu moved to gather and co-ordinate some Ndokwa indigenes new in the UK, and those that neither knew there was Ndokwa association meeting in existence nor attended the meeting.
The first few meeting were host-funded by all present by way of donation, chaired by Chief Peter Izu. On adoption of the constitution, the organisation was formerly named Ndokwa Association, United Kingdom (NAUK). Mr Gabriel Onwubolu was unanimously elected as the Chairman. Mrs Chimema Usanga was elected his Vice chairman and Mr. Francis Enebeli, the General Secretary with a 2-year renewable tenure. Mr Gabriel Onwubolu was returned unopposed, as the Chairman with Mrs Priscilla Daniel elected as his Vice until recently when a new Vice chairman was appointed.
In the meantime, a similar body with the same name already existed in Birmingham, led by Mr Vincent Ugboh having been established in 2008 with similar objective of bringing Ndokwa people in the Midlands together for mutual association.
V. The Need for an Umbrella Body
The need for an umbrella body to speak for, and unite all Ndokwa people across the length and breadth of the United Kingdom led to the formation of the National body (otherwise known as the Hub) in 2014 when an election was effectively conducted and officers elected into offices. Presently, this body has assumed the responsibility of facilitating the establishment of chapters of Ndokwa Associations across the length and breadth of the United kingdom.
VI. A Clarion Call to Organise
Our clarion call to all Ndokwa indigenes resident in the UK is that we should organise, we should seek out each other and a start local chapter wherever we find ourselves once the target number of five families is attained. Nyalini shi ichichiesu keanyi ji ne edo.
NAUK NATIONAL. . . making its members feel at home in their land of abode.