Igbo Association Ottawa-Gatineau, a community-based Not-For-Profit organization, is the umbrella body of Igbo people resident in the National Capital Region of Canada. The Igbos are an ethnic group native to the current south-central and southeastern region of Nigeria. They make up one of the largest ethnic groups in Africa and speak different dialects of Igbo language.
To create a progressive and supportive Igbo community that empowers each member, preserves, promotes, and celebrates the Igbo culture through education, socialization, and inter-cultural collaboration, as well as supports cultural integration of newcomers/refugees/protected persons of Igbo heritage.
- Protect and celebrate the Igbo Identity.
- Support Igbo youth in overcoming systemic and cultural barriers.
- Advocate for and support seniors.
- Advocate for social justice, anti-racism, and human rights.
- Promote multicultural education and diversity that respects the Canadian mosaic.
- Promote inclusive and sustainable practices.
Integrity, Respect, Truth, Empathy, Service, Family, Learning.
The organization was started as Otu Ummunna in May 1990, at a meeting held at Charles Ajah’s home in Ottawa. Those in attendance at this inaugural foundation meeting of the “Committee of Elders” were: Bob Nnagbo, Emma Anozie, Tony Onwuachi, Fidelis Ifedi, Chidi Obiorah, Godwin Ifedi, Charles Ajah, Francis Chibuluzo, Ken Ugwu and Donatus Nnorom.
The second meeting in June 1990 was opened up to all Igbo people living in Ottawa. At this meeting, the following were elected as the Foundation Executive Committee:
Godwin Ifedi: President
Francis Chibuluzo: Vice President:
Charles Ajah: Secretary
Ralph Onyeaju: Financial Secretary
Ngozi Eneh: Treasurer and
Chinwe Anozie: Social Secretary:
Asst Social Secretary: Donatus Nnorom
In those days, meetings were held in members’ homes; this was later changed to community centres to accommodate the growing membership. Our first Christmas party was held on December 1990 at the home of Fidelis Ifedi. The Foundation Executive Committee was in office from 1990 to 1994, when a new executive was elected with Chris Chiwetalu as the new President.
The Igbo Heritage Language School was established in 1993 on an initiative by Ngozi Eneh, via the Ottawa Catholic School Board. Our first Principal was Mrs. Grace Okolie. Registration was 38 students, with one teacher per 15 students, so we had two other teachers in addition to Mrs. Okolie. Otu Ummuna commissioned Ejike Eze to purchase Igbo textbooks on his visit to Nigeria. The chosen handbook was “Igbo Mbu” by F.C. Ogbalu which was made available to all the students.
Since 1998, successive executives have been elected with Chris Chiwetalu, Eugene Nzeribe, Emma Ukwu, Bob Nnagbo, Felix Awgu, Buster Ogbuagu, Chidi Obiorah, Emma Ukwu (2nd time) and Nduka Otiono as presidents respectively. Mr. Kingsley Ekeke is currently the president of the association.
The name Otu Umunna was changed in 2017 to Igbo Association Ottawa-Gatineau.