SPEECH AT THE DUBLIN ANNUAL THANKS GIVING CEREMONY

The Mayor of South Dublin, His Excellency The Nigerian Ambassador to Ireland President Benin Community Ireland, President Nigerian Community Ireland, Members of the High Table. Ivbie do nu Uzomo, wahia obokhian, Ladies & Gentlemen,
It is an honour to be invited to chair this august occasion in the vibrant city of Dublin. Dublin which was a kingdom in the time past has a chequered history like the ancient Benin Empire which is your home. This city of Dublin brings many good memories to me as being the address of the first caucasians I met in my life. They werethe Parish Priests at St Joseph’s Catholic Church
Benin City, my first Principal whilst I was a student
at Edo College, my music teacher and my first
literature teacher were all Irish with their
addresses in Dublin Ireland . I think I am here
today because of the moulding people from this
city and my other teachers gave me in my youth,
so I am grateful to the City of Dublin for producing
those God fearing men and women who left their
shores in Europe to Benin City imprinting positive
and indelible marks in my mind and in the hearts
of my numerous school mates in Benin City.
You must count yourselves lucky to be amongst
these very friendly people and to be in Dublin a
city of arts which has produced many Nobel
laureates, Dublin was one of the UNESCO City
of Literature in 2010, Home of Guinness Stout,
(black thing good oh, I hope you will remember
that advert on TV in Benin City); Dublin is the
UEFA host for 2011 and the European Capital of
Science in 2012. Dublin houses one of the oldest
monasteries in the Catholic faith and has
produced many missionaries who helped spread
the word of God so you have no reason not toimprove yourselves during your sojourn here in
Dublin.
I am also very pleased to be here to celebrate
with you the ancient IGUE festival which is a
festival of good overcoming evil, a festival of love;
a festival and people’s power, and above all a
festival of thanksgiving to the Most High God, the
God of the Universe, the Supreme God, the God
of Isaac, Jacobs and our ancestors, who gives
graces ceaselessly, who does not record wrongs;
who provides for our everyday needs as His
children and protects our going out and our
coming in.
I am proud of all of you here and thank God that
you have been able to organise yourselves in a
faraway land to promote that Edo spirit and
culture in you of excelling wherever you find
yourself on mother earth, of being your brothers’
keeper and living sociably.
I am particularly pleased that you have found time
to celebrate Igue in faraway Dublin in Western
Europe and enter the New Year with hope and
determination to break new grounds in yourindividual endeavours and collectively to take this
Benin Community to the highest possible level.
I am aware of a number of organisations that
have been formed and could not live long enough
to have their names etched in the rock of times
due to incessant squabbling and not adopting live
and let live attitude. You must remember the
system that sustained our culture; I mean the
political system of the Benin people which in
modern terminology is a mixture of gerontocracy
and democracy, i.e. e rulership or government by
the community elders and by the wishes of the
greatest majority of the people. A leader chosen
by this system is almost always a popular leader
of his people and will be able to achieve leaps and
bounds even with minimal resources due to the
unalloyed support and co-operation from all in
that community so I wish your leaders success in
taking this community to the greatest height.
As you live in Ireland make yourself sons and
daughters of the soil, forge in to the larger Dublin
society, and do not stay aloof, celebrate with
other Dubliners when they celebrate and mourn
with them if occasions calls for it and you will be
blessed. It is easy, obey the laws of the land andall good things will follow you. Remember the
earth and every human being in it belongs to the
Almighty God and as His children, you should
partake of the fullness therefore.
Making progress must be your dictum, if there is
an obstacle as there will always be sometimes;
you must get around it, pass under it, move above
or just burst through it. You must overcome any
perceived obstacle if you stay focused. Remember
your lives are in your hands so you must do well
with it. Spend your time to improve yourself
socially, physically, emotionally, professionally
and academically; get the required qualifications
so that you can have an edge and compete well,
so that you are sought after. See where your
talents lie and develop it thereby creating a niche
and become the best in your field. If you are a
grass on the bottom of the valley, be the best
grass that ever grown on the bottom of the valley;
and so also if you are a tree on the hill top; be the
best tree that ever grown on the hill top. There
will also be hard times but as our Heavenly said,
you may stumble but you will never fall if you are
truthful, honourable and put God first in your
dealings. Let your lives be an embodiment ofintegrity, reliability, credibility and passion for
what is best in the community and the world.
There are many get rich quick schemes globally
these days, you must avoid them. Schemes like
human trafficking, being drug couriers, gun
running and other illegal 419 schemes should be
shunned. They do not only destroy physically,
they also destroy the perpetrators spiritually.
Remember you are an ambassador of Edo people
and in fact of all Nigerians, so you must stop to
think deeply before taking any course of actions
so that you are right always before embarking on
it.
You all got here by different routes and you all
have different stories but there are things
common to all of us; that we left home to make
our lives better abroad, that we have left our
relatives at home in Edo land, that we have the
hope of going back after our success to improve
our lot.
Remember that it is only when you succeed here
that you can support your kits and kin at home in
Edo State and Nigeria. Failure therefore is out of
the question as you all carry a burden ofimproving the lots of your familes left in our
homestead. So as not to forget home or be
forgotten by those at home, try to visit at least
every two to three years and if you are blessed,
the more often you visit, the better as your visit
will put a smile on one or two faces amongst your
relatives.
My brothers and sisters, make your presence felt
here in Dublin City and the whole of Ireland. You
can do this through the arts, science, information
technology and competitive sports. Look at all of
you, one can only see healthy looking, strong,
very beautiful people determined to succeed.
Someone here can win a gold medal for Ireland in
the next Olympic Games if he/she puts his mind
to it because you already have that innate athletic
spirit of endurance that can win laurels. When
you can achieve that, you would have put Edo
people and Nigeria in the heart of the Irish
people. Do not just be receivers but also a giver as
well because God loves a cheerful giver. You must
excel to create a positive impact in the
community you live in. If you cannot achieve it,
then train your children to achieve these greatheights that great men reach by toiling whilst
their companions slept.
Igue festival is a time of merry making so I would
not wish to bore you with long speeches like
discussing the origin of Igue festival; other than to
tell you to water your Benin Community plant
effectively and appropriately so that it can grow
and become an Iroko, then it can achieve, it can
link with other of our brothers and sisters in all
the countries of the world and take its place in the
Edo Global Organization Board of Directors as a
respectable constituent part.
The next Edo Global Conference will be held in
London from Friday the 29th of July to the 31st at
the Waltham Marriot Hotel London. May I use this
opportunity to invite all of you to that event?
Finally I wish you a successful year ahead, with
good health, long life; prosperity, lots of joy;
laughter and above all I wish you the Peace of
God Almighty now and always. Once again I thank
you for the opportunity to chair this Igue Festival
and New year celebrations here in Dublin Ireland
SEO Ogbonmwan
© January 2011

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