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The Inception and History of the Igbo Cultural Society in Austria (ICS) can be summarized as follows:


  1. Pre-Historic stage - 1989
  2. Death of Mr. Clifford Anyanwu and Consequences - 1993
  3. Challenging Moments - 1994
  4. First General Election - 1996

A. Pre-Historic Stage - 1989: Time was clearly of the essence when a group of Igbo youths in Vienna, Austria, formed a Cultural Dancing Group they called Enyimba. Their primary Outing had roots at an invitation to perform at a Harvest organized by the Afro Asia Institute in Vienna. Worthy of note that Rev. Dr. Peter Okeke and Rev. Dr. Fabian Mmagu then seminarians in Vienna were attracted participants of Enyimba during their unavoidable and enthralling Shows. Enyimba recorded successes of high attraction at their performances at the United Nations, ORF (Austria Radio and Television) and at the Organization of Petroleum and Exporting Countries (OPEC) respectively. Their focus and efforts were directed at the performance of cultural entertainment both inside and outside of Vienna. The first outing was in Tulln, Lower Austria. They impressed both school children and, indeed, the general public by giving (and demonstrating) African “talking drums” lessons. The leader of this group was Mr. Vitus Nwachukwu, with touchstone members such as Mr. Casmir Nnamdi, Mr. Felix Maduba, Mr. Polycarp Odoemene, Mr. Benson Ogbuebele, Chief Bob Eze and the late Mr. Clifford Anyanwu, to mention but a few. However (and not as envisaged), disbursements of monies realized after such events brought disagreements within the group. There were misunderstanding and quarrels between the main actors and their “subordinate players.”
Mr. Isaiah Chidi Nnaji, an Igbo Elder and Diplomat with the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) then resident in Vienna, was solicited to mediate. He was asked to help calm anxieties driven by emotions.
The consultation was fruitful. It brought amicable settlements that encouraged the group to shift gears and allow fresh blood into the mainstream of the Enyimba dancing group. It was a prevailing moment that fueled the formation and implementation of today’s Igbo Cultural Society in Austria (ICS).

B. Death of Mr. Clifford Anyanwu and Consequences - 1993:
It must be stated that the Stakeholders have had high esteem and high morale in propelling their concept of moving the Igbo Union forward. This was, however, sadly not sustainable, following fresh internal conflicts of interests and a lack of cohesion, which grew within the group. The immediate result was the splitting of the Enyimba nucleus into two competing groups.
An “Ikenga” group emerged, led by Mr. Theodore Odoemena, with co-habitus Mr. Felix Maduba, Mr. James Achike8leader and founder of Akuna-Echenyi and Ogbamgbada Masquerades) etc., and an “Enyimba” headed by Mr. Vitus Nwachukwu who had on his list Mr. Casmir Nnamdi, Mr. Benson Ogbuebele etc.
Amid this row, came the sudden death of Mr. Clifford Anyanwu, a member of the Enyimba faction. His death - the first of its kind in Vienna - sent shock waves of surprise and alarmed not only group members, but indeed the entire Igbo community in general.
Mr. Anyanwu died during the formation period of the National Union of Nigeria Students in Austria (NUNSA), an umbrella of Nigerian Students Organization in the country. His exit also offered a novel stage to refeed and rethink the internal disparities troubling the unity of the youths.
Frenetic efforts and approaches were made to the then leadership of the National Union of Nigeria Students in Austria and their cohorts to help in the logistics of transporting the remains of late Mr. Anyanwu back to Nigeria. The contacts with the leadership were not crowned with success. This later led the youths to carry out their campaign of soliciting for voluntary contributions from the public. Although they failed to meet their desired target, they pooled their resources together and transported Anyanwu`s remains back to Nigeria by Mr. Charles Obiora Ofoedu.
The news was widespread that the death of Mr. Anyanwu and the lessons learnt thereafter delivered a pass muster which galvanized the daring parties and helped create an unending desire to achieve a sustainable objective.

C. The Challenging Moments - 1994:
Pursuant to the Stakeholders` zeal to realize the formation of an Igbo Union, several meetings were respectively held at the residence of Mr. Vitus Nwachukwu and that of Mr. David Nwagwu. The meetings were primarily aimed at visualizing areas of concept and infrastructure needed to unite all Igbo together. Worthy of note was the enduring presence of Mr. Vitus Nwachukwu, Mr. David Nwagwu, Mr. Patrick Orisakwe, and Mr. Emmanuel Njikonye. Others were Mr. Ebenezer Nwazuoke, Mr. Alaukwu Agu, Mr. John-Maria Anyanwu and Mr. Benson Ogbuebele.
The proceeds of the first meeting later yielded attraction and attendance of the following members into the main stream at the formation stage: Mr.: Victor Dike, Mr. Charles Ofoedu, Mr. Samuel Nzekwu, Mr. Simeon Eronini, Mr. Theodore Odoemene, Mr. Nelson Okire and Mr. Casmir Nnamdi respectively.
Later, subsequent meetings were held in 1995 at the residence of Mr. Vitus Nwachukwu in the Schickgasse 47, 1220 Vienna, to access their progress reports and ways forward. At one of these meetings, Mr. Nwachukwu inadvertently sought the help of Mr. David Nwagwu, then General Secretary of the Nigeria Union of Students in Austria (NUNSA), to canvass and invite Dr. Mag. Phil. Samuel Ogbonna to their meetings. As president-elect of the Students Union, Dr. Ogbonna was apparently well versed in association matters and his expertise was seen as helpful and a welcome gesture to the group.
This meeting yielded at the end the following adopted and approved points by the Stakeholders:
(a) to accelerate the formation of Igbo Union in Austria; (b) to resolve any apprehensions, if any, hindering the formation parallel to the National Union of Nigeria Students in Austria; (c) that future meetings would be held at the Votive Kirche/Church Agape Hall; (d) Mr. David Nwagwu was appointed interim General Secretary and Mr. Victor Dike interim Financial Secretary. Mr. Vitus Nwachukwu, an operational driving force in the group, declined to take on any office.

D. The First General Election - 1996:
The close of the year 1995 witnessed yet another meeting held at the Votive Kirche Agape Hall in the 9th District of Vienna to brainstorm and weigh the pros and cons of staging general election in the follow-up year.
The meeting also had in attendance Prof. Dr. Chike Item, an Elder in the community. Accentuating the advice and suggestions made to the youths by Dr. Mag. Phil. Samuel Ogbonna at the previous meeting, the group went public to reach out to Igbo indigenes in Vienna. Arms were stretched out to the Igbo elders in town to sensitize and woo them as an integral part of the community to thus participate in the election process.
It was learnt at a later stage that the elders were co-opted to endow them with leadership positions in the process, while the youth in tandem will throw their undaunted support behind them.
The date for the first general election of the Igbo Union was therefore approved at the end of the meeting and slated for February of the year 1996 by the general house in session. Consequently, the underlying agreements reached at the preceding meeting of the first quarter of the year 1996 witnessed a general election called for by the meeting. The location for this first general election was the small Hall of the Afro Asia Institute (AAI), Second Floor (2nd Floor), Türkenstrasse 3 in Vienna’s 9th District.
The following elders responded to the Clarion call to participate in the general election process: Arch. DI. Remi Ofoedu, Chief Dr.Med. Joe. Ama Ovuike, Chief Arthur Nzekwu, Chief Bob Eze, Dr. Chibo Onyeji and others.
The election brought a tie between Arch.DI. Remi Ofoedu and Chief Dr. Med. Joe. Ama Ovuike. Dr. Chibo Onyeji failed to make it at the first instance. However, before the final runoff election commenced, Chief Dr. Med.Joe Ama Ovuike, surprisingly conceded defeat for the post of the first Chairman to Arch. DI. Remi. Ofoedu.
This scenario ended with Arch. DI. Remi Ofoedu becoming the first elected Chairman of the Society, with Chief Dr.Med. Joe Ama Ovuike as his Vice-Chairman. Dr. Chibo Onyeji (unopposed) became the people’s choice for the post of General Secretary.
Other successful, elected candidates of the Igbo Union were Mr. David Nwagwu, a scribe in the formative stage, who got the post of Assistant General Secretary; Mr. Victor Dike, who retained his post as Financial Secretary; and Mr. Austin Eze who became his Assistant.
Also elected were Chief Arthur Nzekwu, Social Secretary, and Mr. Vitus Nwachukwu, Assistant Social Secretary. Mr. Nelson Okire, Mr. Chuks Okeke and Mr. Patrick Orisakwe completed the committee with the first, second and third positions respectively for the office of the Provost.
After the Oath of Office under the leadership of Arch. DI. Remi Ofoedu, the general assembly mandated the executive committee to bring together all the Igbo in Austria under one umbrella, inject fresh blood into the mainstream and vitalize Igbo Union where all Igbo people would be proud to belong and finally register officially the Igbo Union with the appropriate state authorities in Vienna.
On the 23rd of October 1996, the Igbo Union was registered with the appropriate Austrian authority in Vienna as “IGBO-Kultur-Verein in Österreich”(IGBO Cultural Society in Austria), with Identification and Registration number 1V-SD1605/VVM/96.
Tracing the long and outstanding campaign waged by the Stakeholders back in 1989, the aspirations of Igbo Youths and their Stakeholders were made manifest on this day of registration. The idea to integrate Igbo Elders in the dispensation and administration of the society brought good leverage which has impacted positively beyond expectations till the present day Igbo Cultural Society in Austria.
The spectrum of efforts undertaken and adopted by the Youths and their Stakeholders to bring people who live in proximity to one another into such an Organization that acts in their shared interest is worthy of praise and emulation.
The continuum of events occurring in succession leading from the past to the present and even into the future pertaining to the Culture of Ndi-Igbo people in Diaspora shall never be laid to rest.
In the year 2006, the Igbo Cultural Society in Austria celebrated its 10th year anniversary with magnanimity and dignity. This year, 2016, marks the 20th year of the Society’s existence.
We are entrenched in the community of cultural associations in our host country, Austria, and it is our desired aim - pursuant the objectives of the Society - to inject enough oxygen into the life of the Igbo Cultural Society Austria to ensure its sustainability.
The spirit, devotion and untiring mindset expressed by the Stakeholders, the past and present leadership and their executives, various committee members and, indeed, the enduring general members of the Igbo Cultural Society Austria shall continue to flare in the minds of our people now, always and in the generations of Igbo yet unborn in our host country, Austria.

Mag. Pharm. Dominic Aghaizu
February, 2016.

Literature Sources:
a) I. History of Igbo Cultural Society Austria (ICS9 2004/5- Mag.Dr. Samuel Ogbonna
b) Oral and personal Interviews with Stake holders-Mag. Pharm. Dominic Aghaizu