DC Chapter (Mother Branch)
The Inseparable Journey of OCDA DC and OCDA USA
The history of the DC chapter is fused into that of OCDA National both of whom saw their birth in late 2007. Prior to constituting OCDA, Oku people in the United States enjoy the family warmth of their brothers and neighbors from Noni. The two neighbors coexisted within the umbrella of Njang USA that served as the developmental authority for the two clans.
As a small community, all was well and members enjoyed and longed for end of month meetings where a lot of constructive ideas were regularly put together for the betterment of those who were back home as well as new arrivals in USA. Many new arrivals still testify up to now how they were helped to settle in here faster. Unfortunately, as the Njang membership increased, leadership and trust issues set in making the euphoria that used to reign in meetings a thing of the past. The effect of this was a trending down in meeting attendance and gradually a general lack of interest in the activities of the group. This ultimately ended with the desertion of meetings and activities of the group. With many attempts to revamp the Njang USA activities, Njang died a natural death.
In early 2007, some courageous mean and women came together through word of mouth and started talks on the possibility of giving birth to OCDA USA that was going to specifically cater for the well-being of Oku people in USA as well help those back home while waiting for the resuscitation of Njang USA. When the first meeting was convened, those who came still felt that it was Njang USA. Every now and then, members were reminded that it was not a Njang business session but a meeting of Oku people only though opened to all those who felt like joining and that the intension was not to abolish or stand in the way of the former Njang USA.
After a number of meetings that were hosted by volunteers in turns, the distinction become real and the talk within meetings began to take a wider form. Members started thinking of a body that could not only be confined to private homes but that could come and get recognized by the government of the united stated of America giving it more latitude to do business as well integrate fully into the community. Those resident in Maryland were informed of the creation of an Oku meeting in Virginia. By the end of 2007 and with the full awareness already created in the DC metro area, the pioneer DC chapter executive voted into office under the leadership of Babey Dorr Romanus. He immediately went to work and before the end of his first year in office, the group had produced its bylaws, sent a consignment of drugs to the government hospital at Elak Oku, ran a massive diversity lottery campaign back home where over three hundred applicants were sponsored. Out of this number two were selected for processing but never got visas to immigrate. While these activities were going on, there was a serious sensitization campaign within the country to locate and inform any Oku sons and daughters that could be residing in any state about the existence of OCDA in the US
After organizing a very successful end of year 2007, and during the end of year evaluation meeting on 01/31/2008 it was unanimously agreed that instead of planning for another end of year that a maiden OCDA USA convention be planned in between. July was immediately chosen as the convention month and a planning committee instituted. Given the enthusiasm among members, a contribution amount was agreed upon. Some members opened up their homes for the convention if the anticipated contributions from members could not cover the cost of a hall which was estimated to carry between 50-100 people. This became a main item in every meeting with committees giving reports of their activities for directives. Invitation were sent out to sons and daughters identified in the various states.
When July came, it was no longer a dream by now a reality as what started as a joke had taken form and a reached a stage when no one could joke about it. During the first convention, the jubilation was high when we gathered at Copperleaf Way and started seeing out guests drip in one after the other. Each appearance was marked by open jubilation which at one point we burst into the njang dance before the formal opening of the convention proper. During the official opening of the maiden OCDA USA convention, the President, Babey Dorr was seen exhibiting some emotions from time to time given that people had come from Minnesota, Texas, New Jersey as well as those who were in the DC Metro area unknown to the rest of the community. The pioneer OCDA National executive was constituted during that meeting and Mr. Yengo Christopher was voted. Most of the executive members were still from Metro area besides the Vice Secretary General from Minnesota and the Financial Secretary and Vice President from New Jersey.
It was not going to be business as usual where the DC chapter discussed branch and national issues in the same agenda. The DC chapter that also had almost all of is leadership in the national leadership team had to now walk a very tight rope. From time to time, they will try to lead chapter members understand why certain things could no longer be discussed as before. To some, it was share wickedness for people to refuse to share information simply by changing their caps. This continued for the duration of the term of office of Mr. Yengo when the second President was elected out of the metro area.
Within this period, Dc chapter has seen its member grown in bounds until 2011 when some kind of exodus occurred in the chapter and a majority of vibrant youths who had discovered a new found land left the area. They were to become the pioneer members of Texas chapter that today is a force to be reckoned with. The cleaving of the chapter and the mother union has taken a long time and caused DC chapter more pain.
As can be seen, the history of OCDA DC chapter nor that of OCDA USA is void in the absence of each other. We cannot belabor the point here that within the existence of OCDA, much has been done through the founding leaders and members. It is hoped that the same spirit that has brought us this far will take us to where the founding fathers and mothers in 2006 envisioned.