Leem na ali. May you live long. May God who called you to the throne of your fathers continue to equip you with wisdom, knowledge, and understanding. May He renew your strength by day like that of the eagle, in Jesus Name… Amen.
May your presence on the throne of Aro Kingdom continue to fan the embers of love, peace and oganivu Aro Okeigbo.
I salute you, His Majesty.
Mazi, I decided to write you an open letter because I know that you are a man with a large heart and a listening ear. You neither harbour nor promote any agenda that is to the detriment of Aro Kingdom; rather, you are open to any course or idea that will bring progress to Aro Kingdom.
I am in no place to tell you the history of Aro Kingdom. Reasons being that you are the number one citizen of the entire Aro Kingdom, both at home and in Diaspora, and also by age, academic, social status and otherwise, I am a total novice when it comes to Aro history.
However, because of my passion for Aro Kingdom, I find it difficult to write about Aro, without taking a reminiscence step. The Aro forebears placed Aro on a pedestrian that has sustained us over the years. They painstakingly inscribed Aro Kingdom in the history of the black world, that neither self inflicted ridicule, nor foreign conspiracy will be able to alter.
We may not recognize it, but that is the truth. The truth remains that nde Aro are respected within the country and globally. How do you measure this respect, which was given to us on a platter of gold? Whenever you are introduced in any non – Aro gathering, either small or big, observe the reactions and comments of the people around you. If you listen well, you will hear comments like- ” Aro people are great people, Aro people are wise people, Aro have wealthy people etc. Personal wealth has no role here it is simply the Aroness in you.
I have been privileged to enjoy this gracious honour, that I do not waste time in declaring my identity whenever I find myself outside Aro gathering. It gives me great joy to hear how Aro is recognized outside, despite what is happening at home.
Permit me Sir, to repeat what has been said over the years – that Aro Kingdom is known for her rich cultural heritage. This cultural heritage is tagged to our unique but peculiar dressing, and other historical facts.. Aro bu nde nganga, O ji Joji aga mba. No matter the quality and value of Ukpo, Abada, Ankara or whatever it is called; Aro man values his plain Joji because, it is what distinguishes him from every other people. It is our pride, what makes us peculiar, and we look elegant in it.
We also have our unique customs and traditions which are imbedded in our cultural values and ethos. The Aro image- Njiri mara Aro.
Sir, while some people may likely pick a similarity in Aro culture or tradition; there is one distinct thing no people or kingdom can pick. It is OMU ARO, the pride of Aro Okeigbo. This highly symbolic emblem cum joji, which was designed by late Mazi T. K Utchay is all encompassing and singles Aro out in the midst of many. It is a piece of art that has remained second to none.
The chocolate brown colour of this joji is not just unique, but also takes care of any environmental challenge such as dust and more. The crowns symbolises the throne of Aro Kingdom, the gun and sword- the gallantry Aro displayed in several wars like the British/Aro war, the eagle symbolises the strength of Aro Okeigbo, the OMU- a symbol of peace, with the hand offering and receiving that priceless offer- peace. We also have green vegetation and streams surrounding Aro Kingdom. I want also to say that the stars symbolises the brightness/ peculiarities of Aro Kingdom. Like gold fish, Aro Kingdom cannot be hidden despite our seemingly disadvantaged geographical location. What more can we ask for?
Suffice it to say that there are other people or kingdoms that have their own distinct cultural costumes. Examples are: Delta (Akwa Ocha), and the Benue people. They do not need introduction when dressed in this unique attire. However, like OMU ARO, these people also use their own on special cultural occasions.
Mazi, I therefore want to draw your attention to the bastardization of Omu Aro Joji. I weep in my spirit when I look at what our highly priced and valued Omu Aro is turning into. I am yet to come to terms with the reasons for this cultural debasement. Could it be freedom of expression, or anything near development? I am sure you agree with me that neither of these reasons is cogent enough. We now have varieties, and different colours of Omu Aro, aside the traditional conventional colour. Is this really development? Is it acceptable in a highly cultural setting like Aro Kingdom?
As if those damages were not enough, we were insulted further with the introduction of Ghana print of Omu Aro. If nothing is done and urgently Sir, we shall not be surprised to see people use Omu Aro as uniforms (Aso ebi) for burials. This is the extent Aro Kingdom has been reduced.
I will not be surprised to receive attacks from the promoters and patronizers of this cultural anomaly. But one thing I know is, any gain acquired at the expense of ridiculing a people’s cultural heritage, is a gain lost. I want to appeal to our consciences to the fact that, we need to think Aro first before we delve into any manner of selfish gains that will debase Aro Kingdom.
I am sure that Akwa Ocha Delta cannot be produced in black or brown and still be called Akwa Ocha.
I therefore call on all well meaning Umu Aro to stand up against this bastardization of Omu Aro. Aro bu ” Omuta ozi” If we do not protect our own culture, who will do it for us?
LET US STAND UP AND SAY NO TO THE BASTARDISATION OF OMU ARO!
LONG LIVE EZE ARO!
LONG LIVE ARO OKEIGBO!