A cross-section of the people of Arochukwu has indicated to Aro News why they do not participate in Nzuko Arochukwu affairs or belong to it both at home and outside.
A number of those who spoke to Aro News had given so many reasons why they shun Nzuko Arochukwu, calling the organization names.
According to Jane, of Ugwuavo village, ‘I don’t know of any organization called Nzuko Arochukwu. I have not seen their sign-board for once in Arochukwu. In fact, I don’t know where they are. I only hear of Okpamkpo. So, I am not a member of Nzuko Arochukwu.’
James, a builder of Ugwuavor village too, indicated he was not a member of the organization at home or outside. ‘I have been hearing of Nzuko Arochukwu but I don’t know where they are, neither do I know what they do!’
In Atani, a retired civil servant who refused to disclose his name to Aro News when the reporter had requested him to speak on the issue said, ‘I know of Nzuko Arochukwu. When I was in service at Owerri, I had belonged to the organization. I attended their meetings but I soon discovered that they were not doing anything serious, so I decided to leave them. I discovered the officers were just there to feather their nests. They were not accountable to the people – most of them were interested in occupying one office or the other, using their positions to milk the Nzuko dry. That was why we couldn’t achieve anything before I left them. Nzuko Aro is just for a few of the officers who use one prank or the other to misappropriate generated funds of the organization. Nzuko Arochukwu is their organization. Look at the building at Oror. I understand the building project commenced way back in 1976. What have they done about it? Nothing. The Omu Aro newspaper had indicated the millions the building project had attracted from Umu Aro and outsiders. Where did they put those millions! Is what is on ground at Oror site commensurate with those millions? The officers must have misappropriated the money in one way or the other. So, that is why we shun the Nzuko. The officers do what they like with the money Umu Aro contribute at the branch and national levels. Nzuko Aro is for those in Abuja and Lagos. It is not for people like us. I am sure you are one of them.’
At a beer parlour at Obinkita, Aro News asked the two persons who were ‘enjoying’ themselves. One of them, Okoro, replied ‘I am not a member, and I don’t want to be. What is Nzuko Arochukwu? I don’t care about that. But I am a member of Oke Nnachi. Nzuko Arochukwu does not care about the people; they are only after collecting money from those who come to them. After that, nothing! What has any branch of Nzuko Aro done in such branch? Has any branch been able to raise funds to build hall in such place? What of the hall they are building at Oror – have they done anything there? People go to Nzuko Aro to drink and gossip. Others misappropriate money to buy cars and care about themselves. How many people have benefitted from Nzuko Aro membership? I don’t think anyone. So, Nzuko Aro is useless to me. I don’t care about it, since they cannot do any thing for me.’
At Isimkpu, the financial secretary of the recently constituted home branch of Nzuko Aro, Sunny Iromantu, had indicated that ‘People in Arochukwu do not attend their Nzuko because generally the average Aro person does not usually associate. He rarely does so. We are always passive about this type of thing and those who attend are often after their pockets and welfare.’
In Umuahia, the reporter had asked a resident and non-member of Nzuko Aro why he had not joined the union there, ‘why I have not joined? I won’t go back there. When I came to Umuahia newly, I had rushed to join the union. After about three years, I discovered the Nzuko belonged to a clique – a group of persons who manipulated things to favour them: they would not do anything to help their members individually and collectively, even in government.
‘Again, they were holding our meetings in a hall built in the 1960’s by people of Arondizuogu. When I asked why Aro people had not been able to build their own hall in Umuahia, the stories I had about that forced me to withdraw from the meeting. I won’t belong to Nzuko Arochukwu again in my life. Let them hold their Nzuko.’
When reminded that Nzuko Arochukwu was a compulsory organization for all adult sons and daughters of Arochukwu, the respondent, Orji, retorted ‘Compulsory for all? No. Let it be but I won’t belong again. I will only belong to my village union (Obinkita). Nzuko Arochukwu must change in its attitude to her members. Let me give an example. Following the appointment of commissioners in Abia State, all the town unions of those who were appointed into offices in Umuahia had gone to radio to felicitate those appointed and thank Gov Ikpeazu for appointing their sons and daughters into such offices. None came from Nzuko Aro till today – from Umuahia, any other branch or the national body. Nzuko Aro is never mentioned in the news in Abia or elsewhere except when the news is negative, or when there is crisis. Nzuko Arochukwu is actually for those in Lagos, Abuja and overseas. They are the people that own and dictate what happens in the Nzuko.’
However, an executive member of Nzuko Arochukwu in Umuahia, who spoke to Aro News, explained that Nzuko Arochukwu lacks membership from Aro people because such people stay outside and do not want to come in to help with ideas and constructive criticisms that could help the organization to grow. ‘People stay outside and speculate that contributed monies are embezzled and misappropriated. That may not always be true. As many Aros continue to shun the organization, the finances continue to dwindle. So, Aros should join Nzuko Arochukwu to contribute towards it in growth. Nzuko Aro is for every body. But I have always suggested that the Nzuko should be more welfarist and caring. It should have more welfare packages for its members as to be attractive to more people. I also urge the various branches to emulate other town unions in building Nzuko Aro halls where Nzuko Aro meetings are held. This is one real reason why Nzuko Aro is always criticized.’