United Kingdom Branch
This Union was formed in 1989, primarily due to the fact that the founders felt that we had to form an organisation here in the UK that could help bring all Oru sons and daughters together for a common purpose. The founding members were Mssrs B.U. Agwunobi, J.C. Ibe and J.R. Nwakaeze.
The first President was Mr S O Ojimadu (now patron), albeit on a protem basis. The first elected President was Mr E.U. Asikawuru (1991-1995), followed by Sir J.C. Ibe (1995-2000). Since 2000, the Union has been led by the current President, B.U. Agwunobi, who incidentally was the General Secretary from the outset until elected President in 2000, and re-elected in 2002.
The Union holds general meetings on the last Sunday of every month in a hall. Attendees include the members and their spouses, and their children. Members also include all Oru indigenes, married and unmarried. Since October 2002, our children have been allocated a separate room where they are taught Igbo language by a professional teacher, for up to 2 hours.
Over the years the Union has evolved, ensuring progress all round. Members assist each other in good and bad times, ie births, marriages/weddings, illnesses and bereavement. Regarding self help issues, the Union has helped our people back home through various projects, notably in education. We acknowledge that more help is needed, for there is genuine hardship in the 16 towns in Oru, but we can only do whatever that is possible, and subject to budget constraint.
Oru Community Union UK plays a significant role within the host country, in terms of liaising with other bona fide Igbo organisations. We are affiliated to the Igbo umbrella organisation here in the UK by the name of The Council of Igbo Communities UK, which represents the Igbos on a number of issues (home and abroad), and are affiliated to the Ohaneze N’digbo. Since the organisation’s formation in 1991, Oru has played the most prominent role, in comparison to other represented communities.
Representation to the Igbo Assembly is made up of 3 delegates from each Igbo organisation (usually the President, General Secretary and one other). Oru has produced leaders within the Igbo Council, ie Prince C.B. Obi was the Leader (1999-2000), and Mazi B.U. Agwunobi was the Secretary to the Council (1994-1998. Sir J.C. Ibe was the Administrator for Special Duties (1994-1998). Currently, I am the Economic and Development Administrator.
Generally, we in the UK not only try to assist ourselves, but are keen on home issues, too. Inevitably we are keen to know how the social, economic and political issues are affecting our loved ones back home. Through the Media Committee, and several other committees, including politics, we welcome dialogue with those in government in Oru. We are interested in how the education system is faring; we are keen to see the basic infrastructure provision, ie water and light, we would like to see better roads, etc.
Having embarked on certain education initiatives (such as refurbishing old buildings and supplying chairs and desks to all the Central Schools) we feel that we have every right to call ourselves stakeholders in Oru affairs within the two local governments, East and West. Indeed we implore on all Oru sons and daughters worldwide to start refocusing on the betterment of our people. It pays to be generous!
Clearly it is impossible for me to narrate all our successes here. Suffice it to say that for further information regarding the affairs of the Union one may contact any of the members, or at the first instance, the General Secretary, Mazi Curtis Obi-Okorie (07956 290931) or myself (07885 807 372, or 020 8292 8061).
Long Live Oru!
B. U. Agwunobi
Former President, Oru Community Union UK.