UMCOBA-USA is a committed charity organization supporting the Methodist College Uzuakoli. We endeavor to support the institution, its current students, and to promote strong connections with the alumni from this institution.
Currently, we have ongoing projects in order to further support and improve the Methodist College Uzuakoli. We encourage our members and community to take part in these projects – either by volunteering or donating. If you would like to know more about UMCOBA-USA, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us. Please contact us.
UMCOBA USA POSITION ON THE ONGOING QUEST TO RETURN THE COLLEGE TO OLD GLORY
POSITION PAPER BY UMCOBA-USA PRESENTED AT UMCOBA 2021 HOMECOMING EVENT AT METHODIST COLLEGE UZUAKOLI
Distinguished Old Boys,
(All protocols observed)
Thank you for the invitation extended to UMCOBA-USA on November 20, 2021 to attend UMCOBA’s 2021 biennial homecoming. Unfortunately, our leadership is unable to make the necessary travel arrangements to attend the event because of the shortness of your notice. Notwithstanding our absence, we join the
alumni community in praying for a meaningful outcome that will buttress our common mission of restoring the college to the notable prominence she once enjoyed to the “Glory of God”
Though absent, the leadership of UMCOBA-USA and membership appreciates the opportunity that this forum has afforded us to address some of the issues stated in your invitation. Specifically, we would like to spend some time on the matter of operating, funding, and administering our alma mater. We have been
preoccupied with this issue in the past eight weeks. During this period, questions concerning the relationship between UMCOBA-USA and UMCOBA has been raised and wrongly posited that this has been a perennial problem.
A. MEMORANDUM OF UNDERSTANDING WITH METHODIST CHURCH NIGERIA (“MCN”)
As a background, during the dedication of the refectory in February 2020, the Archbishop of Umuahia Archdiocese, His Grace Most Revd. (Dr.) Chibuzo Opoko and the Bishop of Uzuakoli Diocese, His Lordship Rt. Rev. Chiemeka requested that the old boys present the Church with a proposal on how the old
boys will manage, control, operate, and fund the College. President Snr. Ugochukwu Okoroafor ignored the request. He failed to communicate the Church’s request to membership of UMCOBA for discussion and possible action. In September 2021, a video recording of the sorry state of the Castle was trending on the internet. The video came up at a very bad time for our organization. At that time, UMCOBA-USA was in the process of raising funds for our next project at the school. The content of the video was demoralizing and will impede our ability to raise funds to carry out projects at the school. Also, it
underscored the need to address how the college is currently operated and managed.
The chairman of our Board of Directors immediately contacted the Bishop of Uzuakoli Diocese on the way forward. The Bishop advised that UMCOBA-USA to prepare a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that will be signed with the church as a first step in transferring the management, control, operation, and funding of the college to the old boys. The details of the structure will be subsequently worked out. We immediately contacted the President Snr. Ugochukwu Okorafor with the good news. Snr. Ugochukwu Okorafor did not respond to us. On September 15, 2021, the President of UMCOBA-USA sent a letter to Snr. Ugochukwu Okorafor and he again did not respond to the letter. Rather than responding, Snr. Ugochukwu
Okorafor sent us a copy of an address to be presented at the UMCOBA National Executive
Committee (NEC) meeting for September 18, 2021. (See attachment #1). As directed by the Bishop of Uzuakoli Diocese, UMCOBA-USA proceeded to draft a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that identified UMCOBA-USA, UMCOBA, and Methodist Church Nigeria (MCN) as parties. This draft MOU was transmitted to Snr. Ugochukwu Okorafor but unbeknownst to us, Snr. Ugochukwu Okorafor circulated the draft
MOU but removed UMCOBA-USA as a party to the MOU. Thereafter on October 9, 2021 Snr. Ugochukwu Okorafor indicated in a personal communication with the General Secretary to UMCOBA-USA that any agreement must only be between UMCOBA and MCN. After several entreaties to resolve this matter of parties to the MOU,a zoom meeting was convened and held on October 17, 2021 amongst some old boys including Snr. Ugochukwu Okorafor to forge a way forward. It was agreed at this meeting which included one of UZUMECO’s revered old boy Hon. Onyema Ugochukwu that Snr. Ugochukwu Okorafor should prepare a draft of a Letter of Intent (LOI) to be presented to MCN. That the letter should be circulated to all parties present in that meeting for review and comments. That UMCOBA-USA is a necessary party to any agreement with the church, and consequently should be a signatory to any submittals concerning this matter to MCN. Another
important conclusion and agreement reached by the majority of attendees of the meeting was that based on how UMCOBA-USA was formed, registered, or where she is located, her relationship with UMCOBA since inception, including the operating Constitution and By-laws of UMCOBA, singularly and collectively supports the position held by UMOCBA-USA that it is not and cannot be a branch or chapter of UMCOBA and that it will continue to operate as a parallel alumni organization to UMCOBA. Lastly, Snr. Ugochukwu Okorafor was given until October 20 to prepare and circulate the draft LOI, including the condition that UMCOBA-USA should proceed to submit the ready in hand, church directed MOU it had prepared should Snr. Ugochukwu Okorafor fail to produce and circulate the LOI for review as agreed.Snr. Ugochukwu Okorafor did not prepare and circulate the draft LOI as was agreed upon at the October 17 meeting. On October 20, a reminder letter was sent to him extending the deadline to October 23. (See attachment #2). Snr. Ugochukwu Okorafor did not respond to the letter. On the account of his failure to meet the deadline jointly agreed to and in consideration of the urgency surrounding getting the LOI in the hand of the church, UMCOBA-USA submitted a draft MOU to the Bishop of Uzuakoli Diocese on October 25 as he had requested for onward transmittal to the church hierarchy. (See Attachment #3)
On November 8, 2021, Snr. Ugochukwu Okorafor submitted an advance/ proposed LOI
to the Prelate of MCN. He informed the Prelate that another document was being circulated and
will be presented to him. Snr. Ugochukwu Okorafor was advised to work with UMCOBA-USA
and that UMCOBA-USA is a necessary party to any agreement with MCN. Snr. Ugochukwu
Okorafor has ignored every entreaty to work with UMCOBA-USA or recognize UMCOBAUSA as a parallel alumni organization founded outside Nigeria to doggedly seek ways to work in
consultation with UMCOBA and or any well-meaning old boy or groups to help restore glory
back to the college.
A. UMCOBA-USA/UMCOBA RELATIONSHIP
Snr. Ugochukwu Okorafor has never questioned the organizational structure of UMCOBA-USA until October9, 2021. The issue only arose within the context of signing an MOU with the church. UMCOBA-USA has never been a branch of UMCOBA. The two organizations are tied to the hip by Methodist College and share a common objective of working to restore the glory of UZUMECO. They operate under different legal frameworks. UMCOBAUSA is required to and has a Board of Directors that oversees its affairs. UMCOBA-USA is a tax-exempt organization and funds raised for its project are tax-deductible. By its operation, the constitution of UMCOBA does not recognize UMCOBA-USA as a branch. Members of UMCOBA-USA cannot hold office in UMCOBA. The secretariat of UMCOBA is sited in the place of abode of the national president.
The argument that the USA based alumni group functions as a branch of the national body in Nigeria is unavailing. Other than anecdotes, nobody has shared their constitution and organizational set up of these organizations with us. Also, someone referenced PSN. Unfortunately, the information is incorrect. A proper example is the use of the name People’s Club Nigeria International in the USA. Such information is readily available in the public domain. The only spat that UMCOBA-USA has had with UMCOBA was when its leadership insisted that UMCOBA-USA must go through them to execute any project in the school. We can raise funds for project and give the money to UMCOBA to execute. UMCOBA-USA disagreed,
opining that we are answerable to our donors and consequently cannot honor that request. Our
position has borne out as the right one. All the projects that have been implemented in the school
in the past ten years have been by groups that raised funds and executed them outside of UMCOBA.
UMCOBA-USA have executed and completed the following projects at the school during her short existence:
(1). The signage on Uzuakoli/ Umuahia Ohafia Road (built and paid for by Dr. Ezeagwula Ebube, an UMCOBA-USA member).
(2). Executed and completed the Main Gate.
(3). Renovated and completed the Castle.
(4). The Principal’s residence (renovated and paid for by Chief Clifford Iroegbu Esomonu,
an UMCOBA-USA member)
(5). Renovated and completed the refectory.
Indeed, UMCOBA has not executed any project in the school in the past ten years.
The centennial of the college is coming up in less than twenty-four months. Despite repeated requests for plans to mark this epoch event in the history of education in South-Eastern Nigeria, UMCOBA-USA is yet to receive a blueprint for the event. This being UMCOBA’s last homecoming before the event, we hope that the discussions will focus on this one in a lifetime event instead UMCOBA-USA/UMCOBA relationship.
UMCOBA-USA is proud of what it has done to date to make the college better.
UMCOBA-USA does not intend to divert from this path, and frankly, she is not craving for the recognition of UMCOBA. Instead, UMCOBA-USA will let history to be the judge. UMCOBA-USA is resolute about finding a credible pathway to join hands with the church to identify, fund, implement, administer, and maintain the college in a way that it will rise once again as a bastion of education. If MCN grants us as old boys the opportunity, UMCOBAUSA as a partner in this project will welcome all well-meaning old boys, class groups, investment partners and donors that is ready to engage in this mission – to restore Old Glory. UMCOBA-USA is committed to transforming UZUMECO within the next five to 7 years.
FAILURE IS NOT AN OPTION.
Any resolution equating UMCOBA-USA with the local branches of UMCOBA is an effort in futility. Those branches are in Nigeria. They operate and are governed by the laws of Nigeria. UMCOBA-USA does not know the laws in United Kingdom, Canada, or other international branches that Snr. Ugochukwu Okorafor intends to set up. Frankly, UMCOBAUSA does not crave for UMCOBA’s recognition. Comparing us to them is like comparing apples and oranges.
Our goal is to work with similar minded bodies or organizations to advance Methodist College Uzuakoli. The Church has presented the old boys with a unique and rare opportunity to achieve the goal. A lot of time has been lost in what one may otherwise describe as digging rabbit holes.
The interest of the college should be paramount in anybody’s dealings in this matter and posterity will not forgive us as old boys if we allow this opportunity to slip through our fingers.
WE, THE OLD BOYS COMMUNITY CANNOT WAIT FOREVER.
We wish you a fruitful deliberation and pray that in the end a leadership of UMCOBA that will draw from the vast reservoir of old boys, which will include our young graduates and motivate the old boys that have been in the sidelines to contribute without reservations towards development of Methodist College, Uzuakoli will emerge.
Thank you so much for hearing us out. Please be safe traveling back to your respective
destinations. God bless you and your families.
Darlington I. Ndubuike
Rev. (Dr) Darlington Ndubuike