Communique of the Igbo Studies Association 6th Annual International Igbo Studies Conference

    April 4-5, 2008

    Washington, DC, Howard University

    1. Whereas Ndigbo date back in antiquity and her culture, history, and humanity tell a most compelling story;

    2. Whereas the Igbo Studies Association is dedicated to discovering, sharing, and disseminating the Igbo story with the highest degree of scholarship and to forge intellectual links and network with scholars, policy makers, and activists inside and outside Nigeria;

    3. Whereas the Igbo Studies Association is also mindful of its social responsibility to help bring intellectual rigor and ideological clarity to existential challenges facing Ndigbo around the world; particularly in our country, Nigeria, further to which we seek to participate actively and collaboratively in continental and global debates on issues germane to Igbo studies;

    4. Now wherefore, at the 6th Annual International Igbo Studies Association Conference held in Washington, DC, the theme of which was “Ozoemena: The Igbo Human Rights Experiences in Nigeria and Diaspora;” it is resolved as follows:

    • That the path trod by a mother elephant can never be too small for her calf and today’s Ndigbo desire to accede to the civil liberties that have always accrued to Igbo societies dating back to antiquity;

    • That the structural deficits, systemic flaws, skewed Nigerian census figures, inequitable statutory allocation and other actions that diminish not only our civil liberties, but also the citizenship of Ndigbo in their country seem to disturb the Igbo sense of national belonging;

    • That because the Nigerian Society is public-sector dominated, the Federal Government and the State Governments have the primary responsibility to ensure that the fundamental human rights provided for Nigerians in her constitution remain inviolate, irrespective of their states of origin, ethnicity, religion, or sex.

    • That we especially call on non-South East Governments in Nigeria to respect and treat as co-equals citizens of Nigeria residing in those States and vice versa;

    • That we charge Ndigbo to manage her successes with sensitivity and confront her failures with the sort of courage, strategic planning and indomitable spirit that define the Igbo history;

    • That we hold as paramount, the eradication of caste (eg. Osu)systems of any form that tends to diminish the civil liberties of Ndigbo within their communities, or deny them their fundamental human rights;

    • That in spite of some setbacks, the Igbo story remains compelling and it is incumbent upon Ndigbo to project that story with sound knowledge and great pride;

    • That we enjoin Ndigbo to take renewed pride in the Igbo language; to love it, use it, uphold it, and promote it as the authentic vehicle by which the Igbo culture and her story are best transmitted and preserved;

    • That we encourage strategic development and planning of programs for the economic development of Igboland, especially the on-going South East Nigeria Economic Commission initiative;

    • That the Federal Government of Nigeria as a matter of urgency initiate a process for a national dialogue on ethnic and religious relations in Nigeria, in the interest of ensuring fairness and justice under the country’s promise of federal character;

    • That we acknowledge Things Fall Apart on its 50th Anniversary as a superbly told Igbo story rendered by the master literary craftsmanship of Prof. Chinua Achebe, whom we commend today for this landmark scholarly project and its contributions to the global understanding of the Igbo people and her culture;

    • That we further support the program of activities being led by the Conference of Democratic Scholars( CODES) and sponsors in Nigeria for the commemoration of the 50th Anniversary of Things Fall Apart, especially in the activities that promote a culture of reading and Igbo language among the youth;

    • Finally, it is resolved that the quest for solutions to the challenges of the Igbo Nation and her people, both at home and abroad, is the responsibility of one and all: individuals, families, organizations, institutions, and governments. To ensure success, all must build reliable alliances, collaborate strategically, and work in synergy at all levels.

    We are also pleased to acknowledge the presence at the conference of distinguished Igbo scholars and personalities, particularly those visiting from outside the shores of the United States, including Professor Pat Utomi, Opening Keynote Speaker; Chief Chris Asoluka, President AkaIkenga, Nigeria; Professor T. Uzodinma Nwala, Closing Keynote Speaker and President of CODES; Mr. Emma Agu, former Group Managing Director of Champion Newspapers; plus the Luncheon Keynote Speaker Prof. Chudi Uwazurike; Dr. David Smock of the US Institute of Peace in Washington, DC; among the 30 scholars from various parts of the US and Nigeria who presented at the conference.

    We are greatly indebted to our Sponsors for this year’s conference, including Howard University, Washington DC; Center for African Peace and Conflict Resolution at California State University, Sacramento; Nwannedinamba, Washington, DC; Council of Igbo States, Americas; AkaIkenga USA, and the Igbo League, Inc.

    In Unity of all present, we resoundingly declare Ozoemena (Never Again!)

    Professor Ernest Uwazie Professor Anthonia Kalu

    Chair, Conference Planning Committee Secretary, ISA

    Dr. Chris Aniedobe, Conference Publicity Secretary

    Dr. Kanayo Odeluga, Outreach

    Professor Michael Udo Mbanaso, Chief Host

    Professor John Ukawuilulu, Protocols


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