Community is the highest level of humanity. It describes that safety net where loneliness is banished and we all become a part of the whole. It is that bond which inspires us to release our imagination and deploy our creativity.
Humanity is often measured by the level of community or lack of it. This is why of the many things we can do with our lives the most challenging and most rewarding is to create stable communities.
Societies have deployed many tools in the attempt to forge peace, unity and cohesion necessary to sustain and grow. The development union/association model has served this need very well especially in the South Eastern part of Nigeria. Many communities address their educational, recreational and health needs through the instrumentality of the town unions. Many schools, scholarship programmes , hospitals and health centres , water schemes , civic centres , police posts, stadiums stand today courtesy of the town unions.
In keeping with this timeless wisdom HRM Mazi Kanu Oji, Eze Aro VII, in 1981, engineered the coming together of the several groups in the ancient town to form Nzuko Arochukwu.
Nzuko Arochukwu launched out with the goals of fostering peace, unity and love among the people, engendering good neighbourliness, deepening the culture and tradition of the people and serving as a catalyst for development in liaison with local, state and federal governments.
In its 34 years of existence Nzuko Aro can be said to have added value to the reason d’être of Arochukwu. It has striven to offer leadership, to identify the challenges of the community and to galvanise and mobilize sons and daughters as well as their friends and government to tackle those issues.
Although different regimes can be ascribed with varying degrees of achievements, there is no gainsaying the fact that Arochukwu would have fared even worse without Nzuko Aro.
Nzuko Aro has helped in building a feeling of brotherhood among sons and daughters, the feeling that we are first Aros. It has striven to oil the bond that binds us as a people.
There have been conscious efforts to document our historical past and accomplishments of our forebears. Events and projects such as the centenary celebration, visit of the US Ambassador to Arochukwu and rehabilitation of Ulonta Okoroji were significant in rekindling our cultural awareness.
Nzuko Aro has always confronted the security challenges of the community head on. It has always shown concern over the sustenance of our traditional leadership structure and the rebranding of cultural festivals and shows.
These achievements were made possible because successive leaders tried to steer the organization away from decisive politics. Every organisation has its political dimension but when it becomes unhealthy everything is interpreted from the political prism including otherwise laudable programmes.
As the next national elections of Nzuko Aro beckons, Umu Aro must realize that the enormity of the problems confronting the community can only be successfully managed if we speak with one voice.
Inspite of the modest achievements of Nzuko Aro, it is a fact that there are daunting challenges ahead. The Eze Aro has no befitting palace. The Aro Civic centre needs to be completed. Arochukwu is literarily sinking. Internal roads are washed away; access roads into the town both federal and state are impassable. Security challenges are mounting, our primary and secondary schools need attention. Arochukwu General Hospital only exists in name.
Given the parlous state of the national economy, Nzuko Arochukwu and other agents of development in the town will have to think outside the box to find creative solutions. The ingenuity of the managers of the Union will certainly be tasked. They need to be able to carry every patriot along. They should be able to count on the support of well meaning people.
The least that we can do as a people is to ensure that not just the right people take up the mantle but that our electoral affairs are conducted in a rancour free manner by allowing the Nzuko Aro constitution and civility take centre stage.