USAfrica & CLASSmagazine EXCLUSIVE Profile Q&A with Chief JONES OKEKE, Founding President of the Association of Nze, Ozo and Chiefs (ANOC-USA) in Los Angeles. Interview by Dr. Chido Nwangwu, Founder & Publisher of USAfrica multimedia networks, first African-owned, U.S-based newspaper published on the internet USAfricaonline.com, CLASSmagazine, PhotoWorks.TV, e-groups of Nigeria360, IgboEvents, UNNalumni, AfricanChristians
Tell USAfrica and CLASSmagazine readers about your group’s inauguration and induction event of Saturday, July 28, 2012 (to be specially covered and featured by CLASSmagazine). What is your group’s mission; what are your goals?
Chief Okeke: ANOC-USA, Inc, has the mission to find ways and means to assist with the global perpetuation of fast fading, but much cherished Igbo history and traditions. ANOC-USA goal also includes being an agent of change in a global scheme of universal promotion of Igbo language, culture, traditions, rich customs, civilization and essence, worldwide.
Chido/USAfrica/CLASSmagazine: I understand you have a diverse membership, share with USAfrica readers the demographic and general profile of your ANOC membership?
Chief Okeke: Presently, ANOC-USA membership consists of people from (six states) Abia, Anambra, Delta, Ebonyi, Enugu and Imo States. Our members are titled men from Igbo speaking states of Nigeria. The titles include Nze, Ozo, Chiefs and Ogbuefi. Though we do not see our membership though professional lenses, however, ANOC-USA has a membership that spans across diverse professions. We have Lawyers, Educators/Professors, Entrepreneurs, Pharmacists, Bureaucrats, Industrialists, Real Estate Investors/Real Estate Agents, Merchants, and many more.
Chido/USAfrica/CLASSmagazine: What are the scheduled key highlights of the event?
Chief Okeke: Main highlights of the event include: Induction of intending members into ANOC-USA Membership, Award Presentations and Achievement Recognitions, Premier Outing of Enyi ANOC masquerade and so forth.
Chido/USAfrica/CLASSmagazine: When did you take over as the first president-leader of the group, and who’s in your team?
Chief Okeke: I founded ANOC-USA, Inc., in October of 2010. Seven members attended the inaugural meeting, held at All Saints Anglican Church, in the City of Hawthorne, California. These members are Chief Jones A. Okeke (Enugu State), Chief George Ilouno (Anambra State), Nze/Dr. Solomon Egbuho (Imo State), Ozo Chuck Akubuilo (Enugu State), Ogbuefi, Barrister Kevin Enewally (Enugu State), Chief Eric Aneke (Enugu State) and Chief Sunday Okoro (Abia State).
The current members of the Executive Committee are Chief Jones A. Okeke (President), Chief George Ilouno (Vice President), Chief/Dr. Dan O. Egeonuigwe (Secretary General), Chief Eric Aneke (Treasurer), Nze/Dr. Solomon Egbuho (Communication Director), Nze/Chief Goddy Ajih (Financial Secretary), Chief Patrick Utom (Event Coordinator 1), Nze/Chief Anthony Anubalu (Event Coordinator 2), Chief Chike Nweke (Media Secretary 1), Nze/Chief Cliff Obi (Media Secretary 2), Nze/Chief John Awujo (Provost), Chief Larry Enyekwe (Director of Culture), Chief Sunday Okoro (Deputy Director of Culture), Chief/Prof. Joe Nwomonoh (Special Adviser on Igbo Language and Culture), Chief/Prof. John Oriji (Special Adviser on Igbo Traditions and Civilization).
Chido/USAfrica/CLASSmagazine: What’s next on your agenda for ANOC?
Chief Okeke: After this induction, ANOC-USA will embark on some re-organizations, including taking a hard look inwards, to strengthen the Association as appropriate.
Chido/USAfrica/CLASSmagazine: There are several Nigerians who wonder and ask about the relevance and justification for an association of chiefs based outside their Igbo homeland. What would you tell such persons?
Chief Okeke: I will simply tell such people to go take a closer look at the US-based Jewish Defense League, their activities and relevance to their Jewish homeland.
Chido/USAfrica/CLASSmagazine: What do you do, professionally?
Chief Okeke: I am an entrepreneur. I own and operate my own business in the state of California.
Chido/USAfrica/CLASSmagazine: Tell us about your leadership style and hopes for the community?
Chief Okeke: I enjoy the collaborative model of leadership, because such a model presents you with the ready comfort of knowing that you are not alone. Grassroots Community Engineering is exciting because it gives you opportunity to work with people in an environment punctuated with real affective filter. In this environment, you tend to achieve more with less, because most people readily see, feel and connect with your vision, especially when they see the selfless sacrifices, consistency and transparency that you bring to bear on any project or program. A community that is blessed with more of these willing workers certainly has high hopes of effecting purposeful changes in the long run.
Chido/USAfrica/CLASSmagazine: What is your guiding philosophy?
Chief Okeke: I am a pragmatist. I believe in seeking solutions to problems. I don’t like it when people attempt to paralyze ideas by analyzing (talking) the ideas to death. Problems are meant to be solved, no matter how difficult they might tend to be, initially. The first solution to a problem is to recognize and accept that such problem does exist, then I weigh different options to solving the problem. I usually like to see a cup half full rather than half empty. Such attitude presents hope in every situation.
Chido/USAfrica/CLASSmagazine: Any role models?
Chief Okeke: Yes. I adore Nelson Mandela for his capacity to separate personal from community life. I am also fascinated by the intriguing accounts of the lives and struggles of the Late Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Chido/USAfrica/CLASSmagazine: What about your family?
Chief Okeke: I’m married to Lolo UK Okeke and we have 3 outstanding kids.
Chido/USAfrica/CLASSmagazine: What are your hobbies?
Chief Okeke: I read a lot. I also like to play lawn tennis and occasional golf.
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USAfrica: As Egypt’s corrupter-in-chief Mubarak slides into history’s dustbin. By Chido Nwangwu. http://usafricaonline.com/2011/01/30/chido-nwangwu-as-egypt-corrupter-in-chief-mubarak-slides-into-historys-dustbin-egyptians-not-waiting-for-obama-and-united-nations/
Nigeria’s Federal Republic of Insecurity. By Chido Nwangwu, Publisher of USAfrica, USAfricaonline.com and the Nigeria360 e-group. http://usafricaonline.com/2011/12/17/nigeria-federal-republic-of-insecurity-by-chido-nwangwu/ : IF any of the Nigerian President’s 100 advisers has the polite courage for the extraordinary task of reminding His Excellency of his foremost, sworn, constitutional obligation to the national interest about security and safety of Nigerians and all who sojourn in Nigeria, please whisper clearly to Mr. President that I said, respectfully: Nigerians, at home and abroad, are still concerned and afraid for living in what I call Nigeria’s Federal Republic of Insecurity. FULL text of commentary at USAfricaonline.com http://usafricaonline.com/2011/12/17/nigeria-federal-republic-of-insecurity-by-chido-nwangwu/
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Related and prior reporting on the Jos crises on USAfrica, click here: http://usafricaonline.com/2011/08/16/10-killed-in-renewed-violence-near-jos/
News archives related to Jos, here http://usafricaonline.com/?s=jos 310 killed by Nigeria’s ‘talibans’ in Bauchi, Yobe n Maiduguri; crises escalate. USAfricaonline.com on July 28, 2009. www.usafricaonline.com/chido.ngrtalibans09.html http://www.groundreport.com/World/310-killed-by-Nigerias-talibans-in-Bauchi-Yobe-n-M/2904584
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USAfrica: Ikemba ODUMEGWU OJUKWU’s farewell in Aba, today February 28, 2012, reflected a fitting tribute, historically meaningful celebration, proper regard and deserving appreciation of the greatest Igbo, in my opinion, to have ever lived (like him or hate him).
I SALUTE Aba (aka Enyimba city), the robust and fearless town I was born, bred and raised, for giving the Ikemba, our Ochiagha, Gburugburu, Oka oburu uzo, dike na ndu ma n’onwu, mgbadike anyi, a hero’s farewell.
To the Ikemba, may your valiant soul rest in peace and dignity.
We will, and I, Chido Nwangwu, will never forget to continue to tell my generation and the next about your towering courage through tempest and thunder; through sorrow, pain, tears, blood….
•Dr. Chido Nwangwu, Founder & Publisher of USAfrica multimedia networks, first African-owned, U.S-based newspaper published on the internet USAfricaonline.com; and recipient of several journalism and public policy awards, was recently profiled by the CNN International for his pioneering works on multimedia/news/public policy projects for Africans and Americans. http://edition.cnn.com/video/#/video/international/2010/07/29/mpa.african.media.bk.a.cnn.