It is no longer news that Mazi George Okoronkwo Ezuma was elected President General of Nzuko Arochukwu, the umbrella organization of Umu Aro on Easter Saturday, 26th of March, 2016 at the Aro Kingdom civic centre, Oror, Arochukwu, but the manner of his victory and that of other elected executive members is still eliciting reactions within and outside the ancient kingdom.
The run-off to the election, no doubt, kept the community at a fever pitch, with intense electioneering campaign by the contestants at various branches and villages. As tension rose before the D-day, rumour was rife in the kingdom that the home branch of Nzuko Aro, nominated delegates to vote in the election for the 19 villages without the consent of the PG or even Eze Ogos, this move was stoutly rejected by almost all the villages who insisted that their list must come from them and signed by their PGs with their secretaries or the Eze Ogo.
As contestants and delegates began arriving Aro from Thursday, the 24th of March, the campaign took an interesting dimension with contestants applying different strategies in a last bid effort to sway the votes in their favour. This development witnessed various meetings, and review of strategies uppermost in such gathering. Kudos to the body of National Patrons of Nzuko Aro, who did a yeoman’s job by making sure that the election turned out to a huge success. It was never in doubt that the election was to be the most keenly contested in the history of the union since inception because of the build-up, but the patrons were on their toes before, during and after the election.
In fact, the harmonization meeting of the patrons that took place at the residence of the electoral committee chairman, Mazi Sam Ohuabunwa (OFR), lasted till about 2.30am on Saturday, the 26th of March, from the evening of Friday, the 25th. It was humbling to see 90-year old Elder Isaac Onoh, eighty something year old Mazi Ukw Udonsi and other national patrons stay up that late for the interest and unity of Aro.
On the D-day, the trio of Mazi Sam Ohuabunwa, Mazi Emma Kanu Ivi and Mazi Dave Imoko (Committee secretary), took charge of proceedings at the election venue as from 9.00am. They reviewed the delegates’ lists submitted by the branches and villages, trashed out grey areas and even became the union’s ‘’financial officers’’ as they collected outstanding dues from branches before approving their lists.
Meanwhile, hundreds of Umu Aro from all walks of life and from various branches and villages filed into the election venue one after the other and took up every available chair. The outgoing President General, Mazi Nnamdi Udoh, read his valedictory speech, after which Mazi Sam Ohuabunwa called for the acceptance of the speech. This was done by Orji Ogbonnaya Orji Ph.D (Ugwuavo) and supported by Tennyson Ngwu (Asaga). Thereafter, a motion to dissolve the exco was moved by Enyinnaya Nwankwo (Kaduna) with support from Uchenna Okereke (Amannagwu). A mild drama ensured when Franklin Inyama (Aba) moved a counter motion for non-dissolution of the exco. It however failed when it received no support. This paved the way for election proper to commence after the lists of delegates had been certified okay by the patrons. There were more delegates (voters) at the venue of the election than observers.
For the post of President General, George Ezuma (Abuja) was nominated by Chidi Uche Okoro (Umuahia) and supported by Cliff Orji (Aba), while Nwankwo Kanu and Nwafor Obasi nominated Steve Amaramiro (Umuahia). After counting of votes cast, George Ezuma polled 144 votes to defeat Barrister Steve Amaramiro who scored 39 votes. Sir Dozie Udensi (Owerri) scored 140 votes to beat Mazi Emmanuel Kanu (Jideofor) of Lagos branch who polled 33 votes for the post of 1st Vice President General, while Nelson Orji (Abuja) stepped down for Mazi Nwosu Nwaka (Lagos) for the position of 2nd Vice President General, after being duly nominated. Sir Anicho Okoro (Abuja) was returned unopposed for the post of Secretary General. Others returned unopposed included Chidi Uche Okoro (Umuahia), Assistant Secretary General; Eugene Okey Imuoh (Home branch), Publicity Secretary General; Barr. Kings Nwosu (Aba), Legal Adviser General and Ogbonnia Ochonnma, Ph.D, Provost General.
Sir Adindu Elekwa (Lagos), defeated Inyama Franklin by 134 to 16 votes for the post of Financial Secretary General; Cliff Orji (Aba), dusted Jerry Onwumere with 104 to 18 votes for the position of Assistant Financial Secretary General while Iheanyi Oti (Port Harcourt), polled 85 votes to defeat the duo of Nnanna Okoronkwo, 21 votes and George Uwazuruike, 22 votes for the post of Social/Welfare Secretary General. For the post of Treasurer General, Chijioke Okoro (Calabar) was returned unopposed after Alex Ikwuagwu (Aba) stepped down after also being duly nominated.
The newly elected officers of the union were thereafter sworn in by Mazi Ukwu Udonsi.