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INAUGURAL PRESIDENTIAL ADDRESS PRESENTED BY
GENTLEMAN ITAN ETIM-EDET

Gentleman Itah Etim-Edet: President, Akwa Ibom State Association of Nigeria, USA Inc. (Atlanta Chapter) Fellow AKISANITES,

It is an honor for me to address you this evening as your President. This honor is predicated on your love of self, your resilience, your dedication and your commitment to the progress and unity of our beloved Akwa Ibom community here in Atlanta. I thank all the Presidents who served before me and especially my predecessor Mr. Bassey Udosen who stepped in to serve as a volunteer when no one wanted to take the position. I thank all the executive members who agreed to serve with me. I thank all the people who voted for me and I appreciate those who did not vote for me. As it stands now, we are all in this together.

Running an organization like ours is not easy. There are established rules and norms which we must follow. In this process, while we sometimes expect a fast ball, life, in its infinite wisdom throws us a curve ball thus forcing us to make the necessary adjustments when the next pitch is thrown. We must never be afraid to make mistakes. Mistakes are a necessary part of development. The only thing worse than making a mistake is repeating that mistake. It was Chairman Mao Tse Tong who posited that the only source of knowledge is practice. It is my submission that the mistakes we made yesterday has made us a better, stronger and wiser organization today.

Leading an organization such as ours is not a task I will take lightly. I consider myself lucky to have the executive and the membership that I have. One of the tasks that lie ahead is the issue of our stagnant leadership. Our organization has always been lead by founding and near founding members; that includes me. I am trying not to use the word old here even though I just happen to be handsome. It is time for us to take deliberate steps to ensure that we inject new and younger dna into our leadership ranks. With this executive, I am sure we are headed in the right direction.

One of the problems facing our organization is lack of participation by the sub-groups. By the last count, there are twelve Akwa Ibom organizations in Atlanta. When you visit any of these organizations during their meetings, you see more people in attendance than at AKISAN meetings. This trend has to be reversed. The success of AKISAN is our collective responsibility. Atlanta used to be the strongest AKISAN chapter in the country but now we have lost our luster. I would like to appeal to all sub-groups and organizations to come back and help rebuild AKISAN. To the Oron people residing in Atlanta, I take this opportunity to remind you that you are citizens of Akwa Ibom State and you have a stake in the building of AKISAN in Atlanta. To the Annang community, I have to remind you that you are just as guilty. To our Eket brethren, we need you just as we need our Nsit brothers. If I have not mentioned your organization please come out and let us build AKISAN Atlanta together. I intend to visit with all the organizations during the course of the year.

Next month we will be having our annual fundraiser. It is with pride that I remind all of us that we are the first Akwa Ibom community in the United States to own a landed property. In fact, if we are not the first, we must be one of the first Nigerian communities to achieve such a feat. Unfortunately, other communities in Atlanta have come after us to purchase bigger and better properties than ours. We must be proud knowing that the purchase of this property was only the first step. We have a larger plan of building a permanent structure on this site. I must appreciate the efforts of the one percent who have sacrificed to meet their financial obligations to AKISAN. But, 99 percent of us have not; and that is why most of the funds raised goes to paying the mortgage on this property. Akwa Ibom people, on July 15, 2017, I plead with all of you to attend the fundraising and contribute so that we might be able to make the next step. It is my intent to dedicate our September meeting to answering all and any questions you may have about the Akwa Ibom House project.

My brothers and sisters, it is my belief that AKISAN Atlanta is poised to take its rightful place in these United States. We will regain our lost glory. From August 17 thru 20 2017, all of AKISAN in America will convene in Atlanta for its 30th annual convention. We are readying to receive them; the planning is on point. We have a collective responsibility to show Akwa Ibom people in the whole world why Atlanta is the best city in the whole wide world. To achieve this aim, all hands have to be on deck. One of the ways we can have a successful convention is to ensure that all AKISAN organizations in Atlanta purchase a full page add to welcome our guests and also to let them know that we are here. Secondly, we must all be active participants in this convention. Let us use this convention to send a message to AKISAN USA that ATLANTA is BACK.

I end this speech by saying once again: thank you very much for giving me the opportunity to serve you. I promise to make you proud.

GOD BLESS MY EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE!
GOD BLESS AKISAN USA!!
GOD BLESS AKISAN ATLANTA!!!

Gentleman Itah Etim-Edet
President, AKISAN ATLANTA
770-990-3959
info@akwaibomatlanta.org

If you have any questions, do not hesitate to drop us a note. We will definitely get back to you.

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