Now; the heated political electoral war that had hitherto enveloped Nigeria, Abia, oh! Arochukwu is almost over. And so, it does no longer matter which political party we in Aro had sympathy for at the beginning of this very political regime. It does not even matter who those that voted in each of the past elections supported and or voted for. And it does not also matter the gossips, lies and rumors some people had traded around against some others in order to curry some political favours that may not even come from the politicians. We know them all. But we have to forgive them all. Now; what really matters is that Aro did not lose out completely in all the political positions our people had strongly and gallantly competed for. At least, for now, we have the senate seat as a divine compensation for all our political struggles this time around. And so, congratulations to Senator Mao, and to all our people; I hope and tend to believe that this Mao’s victory is a gracious victory for all Aro people. And to God alone be the glory.
Arochukwu has never been a one political party community and it will never be at all. We always like to distribute our eggs in different baskets. In case of any eventuality, we may not lose them all. The strength and beauty of Aro has always been in our unity in diversity and in our understanding of the need for tactical realignments in difficult times. We show practical understanding of politics without bitterness whenever it matters a lot. For example, when our late Mazi Alvan Ikoku and his son, late Sam Ikoku, contested against each other for political positions under different political parties, no harm was done to each other. Sam defeated his father. Heavens did not fall. Their love for each other and love for Aro community did not break. They reconciled as a family soon after; Aro celebrated them and moved on happily and peacefully. And so at the beginning of this current political dispensation in 2014, quite a number of Aro political heavy weights boldly came out and declared their interest to contest for various top political posts at the state and federal levels respectively under different political parties in the 2015 general elections. And people prayed for them.
Some of us had believed, judging by the number of serious contestants that came out, that Aro’s best time politically had come. We had hoped we would make it big and probably have at least two big political winnings this time around, may be a governor and a senator. Without sounding like Oliver Twist, some had also hoped we might in addition secure a seat in the state House of Assembly. What a dream. And so a lot of us came out at different times at different levels in different styles to give them our support. We even tried to persuade two of our big contestants that were interested in the gubernatorial position to de-align party wise and realign as brothers in order to help them work together, come out stronger, and improve our chances for capturing that post in the interest of our common goal as a people. Dialogue we know has always been part of our culture in resolving difficult challenges such as that. We employed it.
Even though our efforts in that respect did not work out well as we had hoped, we still thank God that we made the efforts. And since our efforts failed, the two had to go into the political field to pursue their personal ambitions with their different political parties. Aros remained calm. Heavens did not fall. We still moved on as brothers and sisters with love for each other notwithstanding some expected political acrimony that showed up here and there. Those contestants who won their respective political party primaries for different political positions later went into serious and expensive political campaigns. Dr Alex Otti was the All People Grand Alliance (APGA) governorship candidate in Abia State; Sir Chikwe Udensi was the Progressive People’s Alliance (PPA) governorship candidate in Abia State; Hon. Mao Ohuabunwa was the People Democratic Party (PDP) senatorial candidate for Abia North; AdaMazi Nnennaya Nma Lancaster Okoro was the All Progressive Congress (APC) senatorial candidate for Abia North; Hon. Chibuike Jonas and Mazi Chijoke Okoro, were the PPA and PDP candidates for Abia State House of Assembly. They are all respected umu Aro and were all highly rated and respected by their respective political parties hence they were all able to secure the mandates of their parties to contest for the respective state and federal political positions under their party platforms. They all did their best in their various political battle fields. But at the end of it all, we nearly lost out in all; but by divine intervention we were lucky to secure one out of the three political positions.
During the campaigns, our people came out with different perceptions of these contestants and their political parties. They went a long haul in their support to each of the contestants. They gave each of them remarkable levels of support and encouragements based on individual choices. Most of our people were much more desirous in Aro getting the executive governorship position than mere legislature positions. They might be right in their view based on their past experience. Hence a lot of them gave their maximum support to Dr Alex Otti who went full blast towards clinching the governorship seat of Abia State. Unfortunately, he was robbed of his well expected and deserved victory. For most of us still believe that till now. As typical propaganda common in politics arose in the course of the heated political campaigns, the status of love we have for each other as Aro people became threatened, but it was not broken. Aro naturally may disagree on issues among themselves, but most often they don’t fight themselves to the point of deadly hate as other communities may do. They still stay together, eat, drink and joke together even over serious disagreements without anyone hurting each other. And that is what makes Aro, a unique people.
Sir Chikwendu Udensi, a respected Aroman, had earlier come out strongly in his quest for the governorship seat of Abia State using the PPA platform. But after spending a lot of his money, he quietly bowed out of the contest few days towards the main elections for some personal reasons. Mazi Chijioke Okoro, a young vibrant Aroman, fought a good fight in his quest for a seat in the Abia State House of Assembly under the PDP platform but lost the battle to occupy that post in both the main elections of 2015 and in the re-run of March 5th, 2016. Nma Lancaster Okoro, (a daughter of the famous first Aro chartered accountant), was in the race for the senatorial seat under APC even up to the last re-run election of 5th March, 2016. I congratulate her for her strong courage.
We had Dr Alex Otti, a powerful and prominent Aro man in Diaspora in Ngwa land, who contested for Abia state governorship seat under APGA; and who most of us still believe won that election but was unjustly denied the opportunity to occupy state governorship seat today. Ndi-Aro and indeed most Abians had jubilated when the Appeal Court in Owerri declared Dr Alex Otti the authentic winner of the 2015 Abia gubernatorial election and ordered that he be sworn in immediately as the governor of our state. Almost everybody was happy and hopeful that the Supreme Court would confirm his victory. But quite unfortunately, the Supreme Court “unjustly ruled” otherwise. And our hopes and indeed the hopes of majority of Abians were dashed as Alex was denied the victory. What a near miss we have had to the throne of the executive governorship of Abia State; a great opportunity we have lost. And Abians are still mourning the loss.
We also had Hon Mao Ohuabunwa who had contested for the senatorial seat of Abia North under the PDP and was declared winner by Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, in the main election of February 2015. He was there after sworn in as a Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria but was later removed by the Federal Court of Appeal Owerri which ordered a re-run election that was held on 5th March, 2016. Mao went back to the people to campaign for their votes. Ndi Aro took that opportunity to caution Mao over certain lapses of his; and as a repentant true Aro man, Mao, promised to serve Aro better this time around than ever before. Aros agreed to support him as their son. And they did. By the grace of God, and with the support of our people and other communities in Abia North Senatorial zone, Mao again was declared the winner by the INEC to the Glory of God. We pray and believe he will do much better this time around to the joy of our people. We expect him to show greater humility in success than ever before. We thank God that Aro has at least gotten a share of a seat in the senate to compensate for all the struggles of our people in this political dispensation. May God help him to use this position well for the good of our people and the entire people of Abia North. And we hope that this time around ‘Charity’ shall justly start from Aro community as the home. But it is only time that will tell and justify our hope; and that we will see through the state of our roads. We will wait as we pray.
Now, therefore, except for this Mao’s senate seat victory, Aro would have gone home empty handed at the end of it all. It would have all ended very sadly and disappointedly. It would have been a near success syndrome for the Aro. We thank God it did not happen that way. While thanking God for giving us a seat in the Senate through Senator Mao, we still urge Dr Alex Otti and all our people who had fought and lost in the last elections not to lose hope; they should not relent in their efforts to do the battle again come 2019. We are very proud of them and will still support them even more. The future remains great and may present a greater and better opportunity for us than now.
Dr Alex Otti, in particular had fought a gallant fight and we are especially very proud of him. We shall continue to encourage him in his genuine determination to rescue Abia from the ruins that have enveloped the state for many years and even till now. By his dogged efforts so far, he has succeeded in changing the obvious ugly political arrogance of certain politicians in Abia State. He has brought a new hope and a new image into Abia State political environment. It will now no longer be business as usual in the state. And neither will it be easy any more for any political group to continue to exhibit the kind of political impunity that we used to have in Abia State. A strong and positive political opposition that will put Abia State government in check is highly expected from Dr Alex Otti and others alike to ensure that the common wealth of Abians are no longer looted and wasted as before. Such strong and positive opposition will strengthen our democracy. All Abians are rightly entitled to equitable share of the dividends of our democratic common wealth. We must be bold enough to demand our rights. We as Aro will continue to demand for full and solid rehabilitations of all the roads leading into and out of Arochukwu town as or our minimum expectations of the dividends of this victory.