SESEKO ELIAS AKWO
The idea of building a community for development and brotherly affiliation in the United States of America started in 1984. In 1984, a few individuals including myself started the notion of Manyu Cultural and Development Association (MECA) in Washington, D.C. metropolitan area. The goal was to bring Sons and Daughters from Manyu Division together and to encourage development projects to our impoverished communities back home. When I realized that MECA was focusing mainly on the Central area of Manyu, I though it wise to expand this notion to sub divisions in order to facilitate developments at the level of the sub divisions as well in Manyu. Therefore, the concept of the Upper Banyang sub divisional meeting known as the Upper Banyang Cultural and Development Association was born also known as UPBACDA. This perspective was conceptualized from Cameroon where UPBACDA originated with me being one of the founding members in Yaoundé.
In 1995 a Presidential decree Number 95-032 of 24th April in Cameroon created sub-divisions and Upper Banyang was one of them which gave us all the people of upper Banyang the notion of self development.
In 1996, same idea of development was initiated in Yaounde which brought all upper Banyang sons and daughters together to create the Upper Banyang group with its first President being Chief Tabetah of Mbinjong village.
My main focus of creating the Upper Banyang group here was strictly for developmental purposes. After sharing this idea with a few other Upper Banyang folks resident in the Washington, D.C. area and brainstorming together, some people felt that it will cause political tension between the sub divisions, others thought it will cause separation from the main MECA and some felt it will focus on development within the sub division and other sub divisions should be encouraged to do the same.
I took this as a unique challenge and called the first meeting at my residence in January 2001. Although just a very few people attended that meeting, we were all very determined to do what was right for the Upper Banyang community and foster development in the Upper Banyang sub division.. We had our second meeting in March of 2001 were we gained additional members. Slowly but surely the group began to accumulate more Sons and Daughters from the Upper Banyang Sub Division.
This marked the birth of the 1st Upper Banyang Cultural & Development Association in the United States of America. An executive board was put in place and I was given the mandate to lead as the 1st President of the group which I humbly accepted due to the love I had for our community. Our Motto was UNITY, RESPECT AND PROGRESS and our greeting at meetings was “Nchemti Banyang Nfai”). After serving for two years and strengthening the foundation for the group, I asked the organization to look for a new leader since there were younger folks who were now actively involved.
It was at this time that Dr. Solomon Agbor was appointed as our second President. He continued to focus on building the organization and capacity building. He was able to secure a second term of office for another two years as the organization continues to build in its membership and try to focus on micro projects during his reign as well.
His successor was Seseko Jean Jacque Enow who was President for four years (2 terms). His successor and the 1st female President is Ms. Patience Ebini who is currently the President of the organization.
Through our efforts, other Upper Banyang groups were formed in Atlanta Georgia with the 1st President being Late Pa Napoleon Besong who was succeeded by Seseko Philip Tabi and now Mr. Njang Peter Kima. The 1st Upper Banyang group was also formed in Houston Texas with the 1st President being Seseko Daniel Ebai and Vice President Robert Tanyi Orock.
It brings me great pleasure to look back at the journey this organization has taken to get to where we are today despite all the challenges and also encouraging the formation of other Upper Banyang chapters in the USA. From very humble beginning we have today been able to provide the only science laboratory to the students at the only high school in the Upper Banyang sub division. It is my wish that we will continue with this spirit couple with the help of others and the communities; we will be able to do more for our poor communities back home.
I am very pleased and proud to be a part of this organization.
Seseko Elias Akwo.
The History of Upper Bayang Cultural & Development Association in the United States of America.