A BRIEF HISTORY ON THE CREATION OF SOBA CANADA:
Permit us to quote the first elected President of Soba Canada, Rev. Daniel Mulema, class of 1971.
“In 1990, when we first received invitation to participate at a SOBA USA convention in Atlanta, we had only four Soban’s in Montreal, one in Ottawa and a few others in Toronto. Daunting as the task may have been, those four pioneers in Montreal began talking about creating a Chapter to network and maintain contacts with our brothers down-south. Those were the days before full-fledge internet access, and so the “NetWorker” was created in 1992, championed by Dr. E. Mondoa, as an organ to facilitate networking among Sobans in North America. These were exciting times when one could go through the directory with a fine tooth comb searching for people you had not seen for ages. Needless to say, as a networking tool we became “hooked” and the airwaves were filled with nostalgic exuberance, when you called up someone and chat for hours unending. We extend thanks to pioneer presidents, Soban Quintus Enow and Soban Dr. Nick Enow, (who were in office under Soba –USA), as they in their own way helped steering the ship onward.
So it was that, in 1993 after our numbers slowly mushroomed to eight in Montreal, SOBA Canada was born and registered as a Non-Profit Organization. In 1994 we made our first appearance at the convention in Boston, and protested the idea of SOBA-USA, and argued for a more inclusive, Soba North America, and after some deliberations it was agreed to have the umbrella organization renamed as SOBA America. I am not sure in which of the following conventions this was formalized, because the 1995 Convention in Minnesota still went under the title SOBA-USA. After 2000, our numbers dwindled back to four in Montreal and things seemed to slow down once again, but here you are in 2015 not only as participants but the host of the 25th anniversary of Soba America”
SOBA MONTREAL RELAUNCH:
SOBA Montreal was relaunched in September of 2012 and re-registered as SOBA MONTREAL with the Montreal City Council in 2013. This change had be effected to further consolidate our commitment to each other. It has been the hope that by now other Sobans in Canada (Toronto, Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton and Ottawa) would have come together under one umbrella organisation. But this has not been the case. Hence, the need for a more unifying and vibrant organisation has been necessitated. More so, the creation of Soba Montreal will give further impetus to our activities and the much deserved recognition of the immediate community we serve. So far we have supported more than 10 associations in cash or in kind for one activity or another. Last month we launched a second fund drive to raise funds to support some of our projects, it was a success. . The result of this as we have seen today was the launching of Soba Ontario last March 2015 making Toronto the second Soba chapter within Canada. In attendance was the President of Soba Montreal with a 7 man delegation to Toronto.
The Chapter in 2012 had 9 members but today we are proud of 20 members, 14 of which are active members. The hosting of the 2015 convention has seen our numbers increased tremendously with the addition of 5 new sobans. We are proud of having a vibrant chapter of both the old and the young as far back as class of 1971 (Dr Otto Ikome) and class of 1975 (Chairman Paul Ayah and DR. Fossungu Peter)
In 2012 the re-lunch was championed by Dr. Ibeagha Aloys as President with a 4 man administration that won the confidence of the members and were re-elected in 2013 for a second term that just ended August 2015
Our meetings take place every third Saturday of the month. At the beginning each member is assigned a particular month to host during the year on a rotating basis. We also have 3 special meetings yearly during summer months where we attend with our families so we have the opportunity for our spouses and children to meet, interact, share and socialize with the entire Soban family.
For each meeting we have a compulsory monthly contribution of $ 15.00 per member, $10.00 dollar dues and $ 5.00 for entertainment.
At the end of each year we have a December love feast where we meet again with our families for Christmas and there is a compulsory exchange of gift for the spouses. With regards to gifts for the soban children during Christmas, our children have been beneficiary of Christmas gifts for the past three years from Generation foundations. A Montreal based non-profit organization that has been helping us in keeping our kids happy with gifts during Christmas period
Our bylaws have been crafted to provide certain assistance to members both in joyful times and in difficult circumstances. By this any new child born into the Soban family, members contribute $25.00 per head of which $ 250.00 is handed to the family as baby presentation token, and the balance goes into the floating fund. This is a onetime event only to your first child once you become a member of soba Montreal. The current year has seen the birth of just 1 new soban Child to the family of Soban Alexis Ejelle Ndille.
On the Contrary in times of sadness, death of a parent, each member contributes $ 50.00 per head as support to the bereaved. Recently we had two deaths, parents of Soban Ikome Otto, Njomo Julius the former vice president and recently the father of our newly elected VP Albert Sekoh
On a final note we have started a special campaign to convince members of the need to register with the National (Soba America). So far the response is welcoming. In 2014 we had a total of 11 registered members with the national.
The year 2015 has been a very successful year to our chapter’s history with the hosting of the soba America convention 2015 in Montreal as well as the celebration of the 25 years of existence of Soba America.
Here is the current executive team:
President: Albert Sekoh
Vice President: Paul Atemkeng Djeudo
Secretary General: Guy Monkam
Treasurer: John Ediebah
Financial Secretary: Harrison Ngayap Ajong
Organizing Secretary: Rene Ategwah
Soba Montreal as we speak is a household name within Canada and within Montreal and its environs, since its relaunch in 2012 we have been cooperating with sister associations in Montreal that carry our fund raising efforts to run projects back home. Cultural groups such as, LECDA, MOMO Elites of Montreal, Kupemuanenguba Fraternity, Manyu Elite Association of Montreal, Good will Association of Montreal, Ndakongnui etc. are all beneficiaries of Soba Montreal donations every year toward projects funded back home by these associations. In 2013 Soba Montreal also donated gifts in Kind worth $300.00 to the Bulu Center for the blind in Buea, Cameroon. As a result of our community involvement Soba Montreal on the other hand gain from the support and participation of these groups in soba affairs, the height of which was seen during the hosting of the last Soba America Convention in Montreal May 2015.
Stay tuned for what the new administration has to offer.
For more information on Soba Montreal visit our website at http://www.sobamontreal.org