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L.A. Hosts Edo National Association Worldwide Conference
By Amen Oyiboke, Staff Writer
Published September 9, 2015
President of Edo National Association Worldwide Franklin Omoruna poses in front of the convention entrance. (Amen Oyiboke/LA Sentinel)

President of Edo National Association Worldwide Franklin Omoruna poses in front of the convention entrance. (Amen Oyiboke/LA Sentinel)

September 4-6 the Edo National Association Worldwide (ENAW) held their annual convention at the Westin Los Angeles Hotel gathering to raise money for special projects in Edo State, Nigeria.

“What we are doing is identifying the resourceful things needed for Edo State. We have to utilize all the vast resources available,” said Dr. Felix Adah during a healthcare forum.

An estimate of 500 hundred people attended this year’s convention. ENAW is a cultural non-profit organization derived from Edo State in southwest Nigeria. The organization developed in 1991 when Nigerians in the diaspora decided to come together to strengthen their culture in different countries.

“The intention is to create a forum and organization where all the people from Edo, which includes a various amount of tribes, that are in[ the] diaspora, to come together to talk about our culture,” said Franklin Omoruna, President of ENAW.

The Council of Presidents and the governor of Edo State stand for the presentation of the Nigerian national anthem. (Amen Oyiboke/ LA Sentinel)

The Council of Presidents and the governor of Edo State stand for the presentation of the Nigerian national anthem. (Amen Oyiboke/ LA Sentinel)

The mission of the annual convention is to unite various clubs from different cities and collaborate in preserving cultural history and community fundraising.

The convention talked about a lot of the healthcare and societal issues facing Edo State. Provision in healthcare services is one of the major concerns affecting many countries in Africa. The ENAW projects included renovation of healthcare clinics and medical supplies, rehabilitation of roads, educational resources for students and recreational areas for the community.

One of the biggest projects is the development of a parks and recreation center at Utekon in Benin City located in Edo State, Nigeria. The park and center will include a botanical garden, basketball court, soccer field, tree-lined walkways and social facilities for the community to use. This park is majorly important for the state due to the lack of recreational facilities.

Ladies of ENAW in their traditional buba and iro clothing. (Amen Oyiboke/LA Sentinel)

Ladies of ENAW in their traditional buba and iro clothing. (Amen Oyiboke/LA Sentinel)

The projects going on in Nigeria and the significance of the convention caught the attention of the governor of Edo State Adams Oshiomhole. During his speech at the healthcare and recreations forum, Oshiomhole voiced his satisfaction with the club.

“I’ve enjoyed my participation in this convention because when you leave your village and go abroad, it is good to know what is going on in the community,” said Oshiomhole. “It requires a level of commitment to fly out and come to talk about the issues that affect the community. I still want to encourage you all to work and expand this forum. There is unity in the community and I have no quarrel with people who are in[ the] diaspora that work hard to forward the community.”

The governor donated 1.8 million naira to the ENAW, which amounts to be $9,033 U.S. dollars. The money will be allocated to the special projects being worked on in Edo State and go towards the ENAW annual convention funds.

Native Edo dancers showcase a ten-minute cultural dance set with native drummers during the ENAW fundraiser dinner. (Amen Oyiboke/LA Sentinel)

Native Edo dancers showcase a ten-minute cultural dance set with native drummers during the ENAW fundraiser dinner. (Amen Oyiboke/LA Sentinel)

The projected cost for the park is $70,000 and ENAW has raised half of that amount, according to the ENAW financial secretary Osagie Igbinosun. As the convention weekend pushed forward, attendees enjoyed showcases of cultural Edo dancing, music by legendary Edo musician Osayomore Joseph and showcases of local Edo businesses.

“This is a celebration of our ancestry and it binds all of us as people together. Everyone is welcomed to participate to learn about our culture. It is an opportunity for people to renew acquaintances and renew our purpose as a people,” said Omoruna.

To donate to the Edo National Association Park and Recreation project or buy a raffle ticket, visit www.enaworldwide.org or call the financial secretary Osagie Igbinosun at (773)-550-5729.

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