As Oroko people, we have suffered a lot. Oroko clan has a total of 227 villages scattered in two divisions (Meme and Ndian) with a population of Ndian division well over 130,000 people based on the 1975 censors. Probably estimated today at about 200,000 people. The book drive is not something gotten out of the blue; it is as a result of the history of our people that the sons and daughters in the United States have always considered educating the Oroko child their primary purpose. Let me reflect with you on the plight of our people in the year 1975.

 As said above, the population of Ndian division was 130,000 inhabitants in 1975 and in this same year, the entire Ndian division had two secondary schools: GSS Mundemba and SAR Mundemba. Nowhere else in Ndian division did you find any other secondary schools to educate the Oroko child. So you can imagine the number of Oroko children who were unable to receive any form of formal education as a result of absence of schools. The next school that the government created was I believe in 1980 (GSS Ekondo Titi). We have truly suffered as a people.

 Even though there has been an influx of colleges and high schools and even Teachers’ Training Colleges (three in total), in the division, the learning conditions are sub-standards. Inadequate learning materials and outdated form of classrooms across the division. Are we making progress as Oroko people? Absolutely yes.

It is for this reason as the one pointed above that we, the Oroko people, must design our own destiny. Remember what the legend Bob Marley said, that “we should emancipate ourselves from mental slavery and none but ourselves will free our minds”. This translated to the Oroko simply tells us that if we the Oroko people don’t carve out our own destiny, those who do not have our interest shall do it for us. And we do know the consequences.

With the above said, we the Oroko people belong to one family; and therefore, we cannot engage in any form of rhetoric to destroy the loafty plans that we have for our people. No Oroko man or woman should engage in fights that will remind us of our miserable past. Instead, let us continuously engage in capacity building–how we are going to plan well and get the books to our people and how our people back home shall be each other’s keeper in making sure that the books shall not be converted into private use. These are some of the discussions we need to have as we prepare ourselves for the OCA-USA convention slated for the first week of September.

 Do we want to go to the convention fighting? or we want to go to the convention with brotherly and sisterly love; embracing each other for what we have collectively achieved in just a short time? or we shall prefer to keep on fighting and thereby discourage those who intended to attend the convention to stay away?

By:  Jackson Nanje

Oroko USA Pro (2009)