Okennachi, one of the three distinct enclaves that constitute the triumvirate political arrangement in Arochukwu, has elected her Eze, during a meeting of the kindred held on Sunday, 27 August, 2017 at Ndi Okwara Compound Hall, Atani, Arochukwu, by 05:49pm. All the villages that make up the kindred were in attendance except one, Amangwu.
During the meeting chaired by Mazi (Dr) Nkem Enyi Okoro, two-time chairman of Arochukwu LGA and the chairman of the Reconciliation Committee set up by the kindred to handle certain issues affecting some individuals and groups within the kindred, a motion was moved by a member to that effect and which was seconded by another member from Asaga village, after which all the thirty-two members in attendance voted that the eighty-six year-old Mazi F O Ajunwa, the current Ezeogo Utughugwu village and one of those who attended the meeting, be made the Eze Okennachi with effect from that day, 27 August 2017.
Earlier in their speeches, Ezeogo Amuvi, Mazi T N Okoroji, Mazi Azubuike A Nwosu (of Atani, a Justice of the Peace, a retired director of finance in the Abia state local government system and a lover/promoter of Aro customs and traditions), Emmanuel Emenike (of Oror village), Mazi T O C Igboko (of Amuvi village), Amobi Okoronkwo (of Asaga village and the Reconciliation Committee secretary), Ejike Okoronkwo and many others spoke extensively on the issues affecting the kindred in particular and Arochukwu in general, and the up-coming Ikeji festival, the imbroglio between the Eze Aro’s representative Mazi Oji Kanu Oji and the Council of Ndi Ezeogo; the payment or non-payment of the fines imposed on the president-general and the secretary-general of Nzuko Arochukwu, among other issues.
In all, the kindred noted with concern the threat of boycott of the Eke Ekpe Day activities by the nineteen village heads in Arochukwu (under the auspices of Aro Council of Ndi Ezeogo) should the Eze Aro’s rep attend the ceremony at Amaikpe Square to represent the Eze Aro of Arochukwu, Mazi Vincent Ogbonnaya Okoro (CFR).
Those in attendance (including the reporter) also touched many other issues including the messages churned out from the palace so far, and some of which had contradicted each other. One of such documents issued by the palace was a New Year Message reversing all fines in Aro to the traditional ngwa isii and which it later turned down and disregarded by the imposition of one cow, twenty yams, N20, 000, et cetera on the PG and SG of Nzuko Arochukwu respectively. The kindred had discussed the inconsistency and the imposition of the fines, including the purported non-recognition of the Council of Ndi Ezeogo by the Palace which had, in a New Year Message earlier, indicated that the palace had recognised the council only to state otherwise in another New Year Message shortly after.
Meanwhile, considering the ‘bad blood’ between Aro Council of Ndi Ezeogo and the Eze Aro’s rep, there had been fears by the stakeholders in Arochukwu and those outside Aro of what and how this year’s Ikeji festival activities would look like just days before the commencement of the festival on the sixth of September.
By the time of filing in the report, nobody was sure of whether or not the 2017 Ikeji Aro was going to hold, and whether or not the Council of Ndi Ezeogo was going to carry out their threat of boycotting the Eke Ekpe Day if Mazi Oji Kanu Oji attends the event to represent the Eze Aro.