The new Nzuko Aro team led by Mazi George Okoronkwo Ezuma came into existence through a keenly contested election held at Aro Civic Centre on 26th March 2016. Aro News caught up with the spokesman of this organization, Mazi Eugene Okey Imuoh who spoke on the first six month of this new Nzuko Aro.
Aro News: Mazi Good morning, can we meet you?
Mazi Eugene: Thanks a lot. I am Mazi Eugene Okey Imuoh, the current Publicity Secretary General of Nzuko Aro.
Aro News: The New Nzuko Aro was elected on 26th March 2016. What will you say is your agenda for Aro people?
PSG: Let me first of all thank the Aro community for their choice of this team led by a very unassuming, patriotic and courageous Aro son, Mazi George Okoronkwo Ezuma. Indeed, this new team which include N’ mazi Dozie Udensi as 1st Vice President General, Mazi Nwosu Nwaka as 2nd Vice President General, Mazi Anicho Okoro as Secretary General, Mazi Chidi Uche Okoro as Assistant Secretary General, Mazi Adindu Elekwa as Financial Secretary General, Mazi Cliff Orji as Assistant Financial Secretary General, Hon. Chijioke Okoro as Treasurer General, Mazi Eugene Okey Imuoh as Publicity Secretary General, Associate Prof. Ochonma as Provost General, Mazi Iheanyi Oti as Welfare Officer General and Barrister Kings Nwosu as Legal Adviser, are men who were carefully chosen by God to right the wrongs of some past leaders of Nzuko Aro and so we know that so much is expected. This we know. Our focus therefore, is to serve Aro better than others; to look at what has not been done well and fix it and tackle head on other areas that would better the lots of Aro people. Our focus primarily is to see Aro better than we met it.
Don’t forget that we are not politicians where stock in trade is to roll out bogus manifesto that would not see the light of day. As much as possible, the new Nzuko Aro is focused, determined and will use every kobo “we get” to serve Aro people. That is our trust.
Aro News: What was your 1st assignment after your election?
P.S.G: Shortly after our election the team met Eze Aro’s representative, Mazi Oji Kanu and other Ezes at Eze Aro’s palace to get their blessings for the onerous responsibilities placed on our shoulders and to thank them for their support during the elections; and to solicit their co-operation to take Aro Kingdom to another level. The team led by Mazi George Ezuma also took a trip to the site of Aro Civic Centre to see the extent of job done and also see the portion of land belonging to Nzuko Aro.
The George Okoronkwo led team also visited some prominent Aro sons like Sir Chikwe Udensi, Mazi Ike Okoronkwo, Mazi Jude Nwosu, Senator Mao Ohuabunwa, all of whom promised to give support to the new Aro team for Aro development. We will also remain grateful to some of the Aro prominent sons and daughters who made promises to give financial support to the new executives of Nzuko Aro. The team later discussed a few areas they have to look at immediately, apart from their willingness to break the jinx on the completion of the Civic centre and also discussed the unfortunate abandonment of Arochukwu-Ohafia road, and promised to sensitize Umu-Aro on the need to look for an alternative route into Arochukwu kingdom. The alternative was to explain to Umu-Aro on the need to contribute money to patch the Ndi-Okereke- Abam-Arochukwu road. That as agreed, would be discussed at the Central Executive Committee Meeting.
They also looked at the possibility of giving Eze Aro’s compound a face-lift. Other issues discussed after the election include security in Aro kingdom, the need for peace in every village etc.
Aro News: How do you intend getting resources to start all these projects you want to embark on?
P.S.G: Well, thank you. First, we have to look at what the out-going Executives left in the association’s coffers. We have to also roll out pragmatic programmes that would involve prominent Umu-Aro to contribute towards the realization of our objectives for the Aro people. We have to involve Aro clubs, associations as well as organizations to help out in all our projects. Don’t forget, we are in good relationship with great Umu-Aro, Nzuko Aro branches, and all will be willing to get involved in any meaningful projects we want to embark upon. Furthermore, the women’s wing of Nzuko Aro will be fortified to make their own contributions. This new Nzuko Aro is the bride of all. We will also get the state and local government to partner with us in achieving all that we have designed for Aro Kingdom. This administration is for everybody and everybody is expected to participate in this great service to Aro kingdom.
Aro News: Your first C.E.C. meeting was held in Lagos. How did it go?
P.S.G: Thank you very much. It was the first formal outing of the new executives of Nzuko Aro. Great Aro sons and daughters attended that meeting held at Neniv Conference Centre, along Airport road, Ikeja, Lagos. Very far reaching decisions were taken. For instance, the out-going executives handed over to the incoming one led by Mazi George Ezuma.
The handing over was done by the immediate past Secretary-General, Mazi Enie Onwumere, whose President, Mazi Nnamdi Udoh was not seen at the meeting. The handing over attracted the institution of an audit panel to look at what they have done in the past six (6) years and come up with a report. Let me however place on record that monetarily, the past administration led by Mazi Nnamdi Udoh left behind the sum of 1.5million naira in the moribund Arochukwu Micro Finance Bank. That bank is dead but not buried yet. Similarly about N609, 000.00 is said to be in Union Bank and N189, 000.00 at Diamond Bank. They also handed some other document including the certificate of Incorporation of Nzuko Aro etc.
The meeting also launched an appeal fund for the provision of palliatives on Ndi-Okereke Abam – Arochukwu road popularly called “Okobo” road. The appeal fund produced cash and pledges worth over 4 million naira. We also resolved to reach out to other Umu-Aro who would make contributions in this light.
The meeting also discussed the crisis-ridden women’s wing of Nzuzko-Aro and agreed that it cannot continue because of its consequences on Aro Kingdom. It was emphasized that the crisis among Aro women today had assumed unprecedented dimension which has denied the Aro Kingdom the contributions of women to its growth and development. Consequently, the Aro Kingdom has dissolved the two parties involved in the crisis i.e. the Madam Charity Achinivu led faction of the women wing and the Late Lady Green Orji led faction. Nzuko Aro thereafter inaugurated a committee of great patrons of the women, drawn from both dissolved sides to plan an election for them. That was the setting.
There were other issues discussed during the meeting among which is the 2016 Ikeji Aro festival whose committee is headed by a prominent Aro son, Dr. Orji Ogbonnaya Orji.
On the whole, the first meeting of the New Nzuko Aro executive held in Lagos was very colourful and objective and let me also seize this opportunity to thank Lagos branch for being a good host. The memories of their performance would remain with us till the end of time.
Aro News: You talked about the dissolution of the Women’s Wing of Nzuko Aro to end the age long crisis. How did the women receive the news of their dissolution?
P.S.G: Well a decision has been taken by Aro kingdom to proscribe the women’s wing of Nzuko Aro. So, it doesn’t matter how they take this decision. It was resolved that anybody who challenged that decision will go into a fierce battle with Aro Kingdom. Indeed, the news was received with mixed feelings. Some up-held that decision as the best way out, while some who thought it was their birth right to manage Aro women by force disagreed. However, we are aware that Madam Charity
Achinivu led Nzuko Aro women has challenged the decision of the Kingdom in court. The case is before the High Court Arochukwu, I am the 1st executive officer to be served by the court.
The matter has been referred to our Legal Adviser, Barr. Kings Nwosu. Nzuko Aro has also informed Ndi-Eze Aro for their records and they advised Nzuko Aro to go to court and hear her charges against it before anything else.
The matter has been heard according to our legal man and second hearing fixed for 28th September, 2016. I will leave it there till the second hearing, but you can be sure that the decision cannot be quashed. It is irrevocable as Aro have spoken. The Kingdom has been challenged by a woman who wants to lead Aro women by force. Let’s see how that will play out.
Aro News: In the course of your discussion, you talked about repairing Ndi Okereke-Abam-Arochukwu road for use during Ikeji Aro. Is the road ready now?
P.S.G: Laughter; it is not ready but the fault is not that of Nzuko Aro. Meanwhile, we are making efforts to see that we effect repairs on that road since the major Arochukwu –Ohafia road is impassable.
Nzuko Aro has dispatched two delegates to look at the road, I made the first trip with Tony Cat Construction Company and his engineers to look at the road and see the areas that can be patched to make it motorable. Tony Cat Construction Company gave a bill of about 7million Naira to effect major repairs on the road. In fact, Eze Atani village, Mazi Charles Kanu who said he owns a construction company quoted about 3 million Naira also to do the job.
These efforts were made before the CEC meeting in Lagos. Before then, the representative of Arochukwu Constituency at the Abia State House of Assembly, Hon. Luke Ukara, had already started nursing the feelings of repairing the popular “Okobo” road. Although, he later joined Nzuko Aro as a team all to ensure that the palliative to be provided is meaningful and stand the test of time.
As I said, the second team that visited that road was led by the second Vice-President General of Nzuko Aro, Mazi Nwosu Nwaka. Other members of the team include: my humble self, Hon. Luke Ukara, Chief J.C. Imuoh, Mazi Sunday Iromantu, Ugo Okoro and Obed Jumbo. We rode on the road from Amuvi to the bridge at Ndi Okereke on a day it rained elephant and Hippos. The team saw the length and breadth of the road, the spots that needed to be worked on and then took measurements. These are efforts made to show seriousness and that we meant to work on the road as promised.
If you take a walk to that road now, you will see that some hardcore stones have been dropped along the road as signs of our determination to see that the road is fixed.
Let me also point out that in spite of our own interest, Nzuko Aro cannot move into that road because Government has awarded that road to a construction company and so we needed to get permission from the contractors and the Government before we commence work on that road. We have written to the Commissioner for Works in a letter dated 11th July, 2016 to intimate him on the plans by Nzuko Aro to work on the Ndi Okekree Abam-Arochukwu road.
We also have visited him, where he told us that he has informed the Governor of our plans and that he would get back to us on the issue soon. We have also received a response from the Government in their letter dated 11th August, 2016, where they promised to carry out the palliative measures as soon as possible, in view of the urgent need to make this road passable. Our recent visit to the Commissioner for Works indicate that the state government has made some monetary provisions to work on that road and has directed the contractor handling the project to fix the bridge so that the palliative work will start.
I want to believe that the government pronouncement is real and workable. Notwithstanding, the CEC meeting will discuss this issue again in its September meeting. That’s our journey so far.
We have not relented though, because we are putting pressure on them to begin the work as promised in view of the Ikeji festival. We have also briefed Ndi Eze Aro on the page we are with the Government of the day, regarding our request to work on Ndi Okereke Abam-Arochukwu road as community effort.
Let me also place on record that the money realized at the CEC meeting in Lagos and other contributions made in that direction by Umu-Aro in Lagos are intact and kept in a separate account for use on the project it was meant for.
The caterpillars are already hired and waiting to be moved to the road alongside their engineers. Nzuko Aro is good to go as far as the road project is concerned.
Aro News: Ikeji Aro has started. What are we expecting from this new Team?
P.S.G: Thank you once again. We would do the needful as a new team to bring in new ideas. Don’t forget, what we did at the CEC meeting in Lagos was to inaugurate an Ikeji Committee headed
by Dr. Orji Ogbonnaya Orji a prominent Aro son with a very crack team including Dr. Kanu Ohuche, Mazi Nwosu Nwaka, Dr. Azubuike Okoro, Captain Eugene Okey Imuoh, N’ mazi Ugo Okoro, Mazi Jideofor Kanu, Mazi Emmanuel Udo, Mazi Sunny Iromantu, J.C Imuoh etc. The team is already working hard and we shall see their performance at the Ikeji festival. Be rest assured, you will enjoy a different Ikeji festival this year.
Finally, let me thank the new team of Nzuko Aro for the good ideas and a brilliant beginning though, no money was left by those we succeeded to begin the journey. We appeal to Aro sons and daughters to keep calm. We will fulfill our promises.
We seek the co-operation of Ndi Eze’s to ensure that there is peace in our villages, security consciousness for our environment and less pressure on the new team to actually maintain the pace of their focus. Everybody is going to be satisfied with what we will do at the end of the day.
Let me commend the President General, Mazi George Ezuma for introducing a monthly hospitality for “Ogbiti Aro” where provisions are made to host Aro visitors to reduce the burden on Eze Aro whose responsibility it is to entertain Aro visitors.
We call on village heads to be mindful of the peaceful co- existence of Aro communities and ensure that those representing them at the “Ikeji festival” come with peace and friendliness attached to this event. There should be no tension, nor threat to life and properties during the celebration. We also call on the security operatives to ensure that the Ikeji festival is trouble free.
I SALUTE YOU ALL.