By Ebimo Amungo
Mr Kenneth Ibiene Anga, a longtime resident of Houston, Texas, has been elected Chairman of the Ijaw National Congress in North America. The Ijaw National Congress is the premier socio-cultural organization of the Ijaw Ethnic Nationality in Nigeria. Mr Anga was elected by delegates from across America in an election that was held over zoom on Saturday 7th May 2022.
Mr. Anga would lead a new Executive Committee that is tasked with the responsibilities of directing the affairs of the organization in America and Canada for the next four years.
Election day started on a controversial note, however, when word got out that Mr Sterling Elis, who was also vying for the position of chairman, was not resident in America and was thus disqualified. The decision to disqualify Mr Elis was taken after a vote by three members of the Election Planning Committee that included Preye Nikade, David Solomon and Bishop Sampson Alajene.
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The decision to disqualify Mr Elis did not go down well with some members of the ANC who subsequently protested. Of particular note was the protest by Miabiye Kuromiema, former Secretary-General and President of the Ijaw Youth Council who now resides in Katy, Texas. He felt it was wrong of the Election Planning Committee to disqualify a candidate on the day of the elections. Some other members concurred with this position.
Another vote was held among members of the Election Planning Committee, this time expanded to include Mrs Timi Warikoru and Mrs Mini Komonibo. Following that vote, Mr Elis was deemed to be qualified to be on the ballot by a vote of 3-2.
The election was eventually held via zoom and Mr Anga was declared the Chairman-elect of the INC in North America. Pastor Jennifer Borel was announced as the Vice Chairman-elect.
Mr Kenneth Anga is an indigene of Ogu in Rivers State who is a long-time resident of Houston, Texas. He attended the University of Jos and has had a long career in administration and management. He worked at DHL where he rose to be the country manager of DHL in Liberia. Mr Anga also had roles in public service in Nigeria where he served as the Director in charge of investment at the Greater Port Harcourt Development Authority and the Managing Director of the Rivers State Water Corporation.
In a manifesto released before the elections, Mr Anga pledged to pursue a policy that would increase the membership of the INC in North America and also initiate a convention of the congress in America. He also stated that he would initiate INC next generation youth group, promote the collaboration of Ijaw professional networks and promote cultural awareness and increase engagements between the organization and Ijaw politicians and other stakeholders