The Igbo Farm Village built by American Frontier Culture Foundation is a recognition of the contribution of the Igbo people to the first English permanent settlement of Virginia
-DR. ANAKWENZE, MOVES IWA FROM CALIFORNIA, TO STAUNTON, VIRGINIA AND TO GREGORY UNIVERSITY UTURU….
At the 2018 Igbo Day, the Igbo World Assembly, led by the dynamic Onowu of Abagana, Ife Ndigbo, Dr. Nwachukwu Anakwenze, from California, took the centre stage. As the Diaspora group celebrated their massive investments in youths, their annual medical missions, infrastructural, educational projects, the audience were arrested and spell-bound by the president’s address on IWA’s remarkable achievements. I was specifically attracted and impressed by the groups’ Igbo Farm Village, built by the State of Virginia, USA.
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We, therefore, publish below excerpts of the Onowu’s address:
“I would like to use this opportunity to bring to your attention some important developments in the life of Ndi Igbo in the American Diaspora. September 17-18, 2010, the State of Virginia, through the Frontier Culture Museum Foundation, completed the Igbo West African Village in Staunton Virginia, an 18th century Igbo village as a representation of her West African exhibit to celebrate the contributions of Ndigbo who were brought to Virginia (USA) as slaves, in the building of America. The State of Virginia celebrated the contribution of Ndigbo (West Africa) to the cultureture and life of their state and America as a whole.
The Frontier Culture Museum of Virginia, USA, is made up of the Igbo Farm, Irish Farm, German Farm and English Farm villages. The Governors of Commonwealth of Virginia, from Bob McDonnell to the present Governor Ralph Northam, have appointed and reappointed me, Dr. Nwachukwu Anakwenze, to represent West Africa/ Africans as a member of Board of Trustees.
Up to 50 per cent of present African-Americans have Igbo ancestry and has been validated by DNA testing. DNA testing is performed and an appropriate Igbo names such as Emeka or Chioma are assigned to them.”
Brief history of the Igbo farm village
During the transatlantic slave trade, thousands of enslaved Igbo people came directly to Virginia via shipping ports in Calabar and Bonny. Igboland was the principal source of the labour force in the tobacco plantations in Virginia in the 1740s. At a point, they outnumbered and eventually replaced their Irish indentured counterparts. The Igbo labourers produced the tobacco that became the mainstay of the Virginian economy. The Igbo also provided the labour in the Black Belt that made cotton king. And they continued to contribute to nation building and to the development of the frontier culture in the United States. Thus the Igbo were among the first effective settlers and among the first groups to cross the Cumberland Gap to open the gateway for the territorial expansion of the United States. Thus the building of the Igbo Farm Village in Staunton, Virginia, like the English, German, and Irish farmsteads, built by American Frontier Culture Foundation, is a tangible recognition of the contribution of the Igbo people to the first English permanent settlement of Virginia, to American nation building in the United States, and to the development of the greater American frontier culture.
It is equally an important notice to Ndigbo that Professor (Ticha) Akuma Kalu Njoku, director of West African Cultural Heritage Education and Tourism (WACHET) and DSG Igbo Heritage and Culture Institute of IWA, the brain behind the research work on the Frontier Culture Museum (the Igbo Farm Village), Virginia, USA.
IWA Igbo agenda/demands
IN the area of infrastructural development, we continue to ask the federal government to fully operationalise the Akanu Ibiam International Airport, which has been upgraded to the international standard by making possible for major world airlines like KLM, Lufthansa, British Airways, Alitalia, Air France, Delta Airline, United Airlines, etc, to land and take off from the airport, and for upgrading of Sam Mbakwe International Cargo Airport at Owerri. We thank President Jonathan for a good Job done so far and fulfillment of promise as far as Akanu Ibiam International Airport is concerned
We want Nigerian government to implement the much-needed repairs on the Enugu to Port Harcourt road, Onitsha to Enugu road, Ninth Mile to Markudi road, Umuahia to Arochukwu road, Enugu to Abakiliki road and the bridge linking Ebonyi and Obubra in Cross River, Onitsha to lagos highway are paramount to infrastructural growth and development of our people.
Intervention in the 2,000 active erosion sites in the Igboland, the building of coal-fired plant and the reactivation of coal mines at Enugu. We also need gas- fired plants in our oil and gas-producing areas.
We need world class seaports in Warri, Port Harcourt, Calabar, Onitsha, Oguta.
The dredging of River Niger up to Lokoja with a seaport in Onitsha. These are needed for Nigeria to be fully economically integrated and functional.
IWA wants immediate construction of a standard gauge East-West railway line incorporated in the Second Niger Bridge design, to run from Onitsha westwards to Lagos and its seaports and eastwards to Enugu, Onitsha, Aba, Owerri, Warri, Port Harcourt and Calabar.
There ought to be at least a federal government sponsored 500 barrels per day of crude oil mega refinery sited between Abia and Imo states and then a mega petrochemical industry strategically sited to serve Anambra, Enugu and Ebonyi states, both aimed at providing jobs to our teeming young graduates.