By Okon Ekpenyong
The anticipation had to meet the expectation when a well-known legal scholar and activist, Professor Patrick Loch Otieno Lumumba from Kenya, popular across the continent of Africa, stopped in Columbus, Ohio on Saturday, July 24, 2021, as part of a one-month tour of the United States.
Accompanying the Pan-Africanist to Columbus was Dr. Arikana Chihombori-Quao, a former diplomat to the U.S. who served as the President of the Africa Union.
The visit brought professionals and academics from the different communities including African America, Somali, Kenya, Zimbabwe, Nigeria together to listen to the current Director of the Kenyan School of Law speak on a wide range of issues crucial to the African Diaspora.
One Voice Global Consortium, an umbrella organization that focuses on working together with other Diaspora individuals and its organizations when addressing governmental and or international agencies, brought the African Civil Rights Leaders to the main stage.
The first speaker of the night was the honorable Dr. Arikana Chihombori-Quao, originally from Zimbabwe. Dr. Arikana served as the African Union Permanent Ambassador to the U.S.A. from 2010-2019. Before that role, she served as the C.E.O. and founder of Bell Family Medical Centers in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. In 1996. The late Nelson Mandela of the Republic of South Africa presented Dr. Arikana with the Achievement Award for her contributions to Africa.
Throughout her delivery at “Angaza Festival Conference,” Dr. Arikana captivated the audience by consistently encouraging everybody to elevate the diaspora because nothing can stop the movement if all hands are on deck.
As she spoke, the audience often stood up, clapping. In those moments, and it became clear that keeping the African heritage alive and teaching future generations about the importance of Education, responsibilities, and the growth of Africa will not just be a job of one person.
“There are more Nigerian Doctors in Los Angeles than in Nigeria combined, and there are more Kenyan Doctors in New York than in Kenya combined,” Dr. Arikana said.
Having such a high ratio, how does anyone expect Africa to solve its health care system issues?
Tuamsen Shepkong, a college professor at Central Ohio Technical College and the head of the Columbus African Festival, said that he first met the former President of the African Union 2018 in Houston. She spoke very eloquently while ensuring that her mission to improve the quality of life for all African immigrants living abroad and those living in the continent of Africa was why we are all here.
P.L.O.’s visit to Columbus drew a large audience. “If we do not have a sense of history, we cannot have an appreciation of the brethren, and if we do not have an appreciation of the present, we do not have the protection of the future,”nLumumba said.
“There is an African saying which states that, “Mountains don’t meet, man do.”
“And it was my pleasure meeting with such iconic Pan-Africanist Professor Patrick Lumumba, ” said Engineer Mohamad, a member of the Somali community who was meeting Prof Lumumba for the first time.
“In all his speeches, it is always about unifying and uplifting people of African descent,” Mohammed added.
Ohio State Representative Dontavius Jarrells representing the 25th district spoke on behalf of Congresswoman Joyce Beatty, who was initially on the list as guest speaker.
“I hope if you come to my office, show up, show your power because your voice is what I take with me every day to that statehouse. It is the people’s house because the things happening in Africa and this country are happening right here in your neighborhood. It’s so important that we became a hit because of you,” Jarrells said.
Speaking on behalf of the Somali community and the office of the Mayor of Columbus was Abdikhayr Soofe. He presented P.L.O Lumumba, “the resolution of expression,” which honors his work to fight corruption and racism.
The event took place at the Ohio School for the Deaf Alumni Association in Westerville.