I must necessarily begin this paper with the confession that, being not one of the Aro who were ‘’born, bred and buttered’’ in Aro, I know very little about Aro and her culture. Except a two year stint as a student of our beloved Aggrey Memorial College, Arochukwu (1954-1955), and a close to one year stint as a teacher, also at Aggrey Memorial College, Arochukwu (1970), I have not really lived in Aro to know much about her, her governance systems, culture, traditions and institutions. I came into Aro, spent a short while, and left again.
Besides, our subject is such a colossal bottomless pit that the uninitiated in Aro matters, like me, may unaided by knowledgeable, fall into it and perish. What is worse, it is so far removed from my discipline, MUSIC, that I just did not know from where to begin. But I love Aro and everything about Aro. And so since my retirement from active music teaching service to the University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN), in 2005 and my final relocation home to Aro only in 2008, I have been learning a lot about Aro. I want, therefore to thank Maazi Sam Ohuabunwa, OFR, KSC, for virtually trusting this exercise upon me. I very gladly accepted it because it was, it is, for me, yet another way of teaching me and my learning about Aro.
Before I continue, therefore, I wish to acknowledge some Aro indigenes who know Aro, her history, culture, customs, traditions and institutions to the core and whose wealth of knowledge about Aro, thoughts and wisdom have, in the main, constituted the bulk of ideas expressed in this page.
Maazi Elder Chief Isaac Onoh, Ezeogo XIII Agbagwu; HRH Chief Okorafor Uror, Eze Ezeagwu na Okwara Agwu Kindred; Maazi George Ohiaerinwa Okoro, Education Secretary, ARLGA; Maazi Dr. Ogbonnaya Irokwe, Retired Principal, Mary Slessor Technical School (MSSTS), Arochukwu; and my brothers, Onyebuchi Obinani Achinivu and Elder Oji Ekwubiri Oji. These made themselves available for interviews and supplied me with many source materials and literatures, many of which alas, I did not have enough time to read.
People here may be surprised that I have not mentioned two other important names in Aro History and Culture: HRH (Dr.) Maazi Kanu Nwa Kanu, Eze Ibom Isii and our Aro History Guru and my own brother and Professor of History and International Studies, University of Nigeria, Nsukka, Prof. James Okoro Ijoma, as some of the few I consulted in writing this paper. The former was too busy with meetings and other Aro matters to be held down for an interview. I acknowledge him nevertheless. The latter, Prof, Ijoma, has refused to relocate home to Aro. He leaves in Nsukka and was too far away for me to consult him directly. He made his contributions too through his many writings on Aro. I thank him for his eye- opening books and papers on Aro. There are others I have not mentioned by name, but I thank them all for their contributions to this paper.
Finally, I thank my daughter-secretary, Miss Oluchi Kalu Ogu ( a very old man called her ‘Ugonma’) who, under so much pain and pressure, patiently and painstakingly type set the manuscript of this paper so many times to bring it to this form.
I may now proceed to examine our subject: Governance System in Aro Kingdom: Theocracy, Communalism or Democracy and I add Autocracy, Oligarchy or Kleptocracy? There is implied in our subject an answer, in part, to the question it asks, namely that there is in Arochukwu Kingdom not a single governance system but several, a combination, federation of systems, hence it talks about ‘’ Governance Systems’’ in Arochukwu kingdom. My task therefore, is to determine which of the mentioned systems are concerned or involved in the governance of Aro Kingdom, and to show, by examples, how they had operated and now operates. In answering the question our subject asks, I want to begin by eliminating those governance systems that have not been or are not being employed in governance of Aro Kingdom.
Oligarchy: The governance of a state by a few, often wealthy members of the state, is not operational in Aro Kingdom, for although Aro has quite a number of wealthy sons and daughters, they have never clustered together to form an Oligarchy and so have really no place in the governance of Aro Kingdom. They may be and often are influential as individuals through the contributions they make to the development and governance of Aro Kingdom, but not as oligarchs or an oligarchy. The maxim ‘Nwa Aro Icho Nkpola Icho’ applies here.
Autocracy: This is governance run by one individual who has unlimited power. it, too has real no place in the governance of Aro Kingdom, for although all Aro recognize their Eze Aro as the one at the helm of affairs in Aro- as a ‘’Primus inter pares’’ (first among equals)- he is not the autocratic ruler whose word is final, whose orders must be obeyed, who does what he wants and gets away with it, and whose laws are ‘’ the laws of the Medes and Persians which altereth not’’ (whose laws are not to be altered or challenged) ( Daniel 6:8, 12b and 15|). Eze Aro is also spiritual as he relates with our ancestors too.
Theocracy: Governance by a state sponsored church or Priests of a state church, or the laws of God, does not seem to be practiced in Aro Kingdom, for although there is a myriad, an avalance, an amazing array of churches in Aro Kingdom, Aro Kingdom has no specific church o her own that had or has run the affairs of the Kingdom.
Kleptocracy: Governance by thieves, those who actually steal the revenue of the state at the expense of the masses. The Aro maxim ‘’Nwa Aro Icho Nkpola Icho’’ seems to definitely say that kleptocracy has no place in the governance of Aro Kingdom.
We are now left with Monarchy, Communalism and Democracy, and I am persuaded to think, even believe, and wish, in a few pages/minutes, to show that Governance System In Arochukwu Kingdom are a combination, a federation, of these three (3) systems.
Governance in Aro Kingdom before the colonial period
In the unfinished and unsettled story of the history and origin of the Aro, one school of thought holds that the founder of Arochukwu Kingdom was a man called Nna Uru (some accounts call him Nna Aro-the father of Aro). Where he came from or his nativity is not recorded. He was reportedly the first man to arrive at the place now called Arochukwu. He had a family of an Igbo woman who bore him two male children called Agwu and Kkapo. He was reported to have landed at the compound in the present day Obinkita in Arochukwu called Ndi Otuu. When he arrived with his family, he discovered that the place was already inhabited by a people called the Ibibio. He tried to cohabit the land with them but, there was no peace between his Ibibio neigbours and his family. Believing that the step he was taking would proffer peace and harmony between them, he married one of the Ibibio daughters, who bore him two children, a male and a female. The action did not bring about peaceful co-existence with the Ibibio. As a result, Nna Aro began to nurse the plan to flush the Ibibio out of the land where Arochukwu of today stands. Nna Aro confided his ambition in his son, Agwu. Agwu saw that as long as he lived with his father’s family at Obinkita, the Ibibio problem will not be solved. So he found it expedient to leave Obinkita and landed in the present Eziogo ‘’ to become the eponymous founder of Amannagwu village’’ (Ijoma), and became the Eze Agwu. Not long after Agwu had founded Amannagwu, his father, Nna Aro, died. Agwu had engraved his father’s plan upon his heart and determined to pursue it. There was an itinerant medicine man, a native doctor, whose business journeys had exposed him to many places and people. He was called Nnachi. Nnachi was said to have come from Ekoli Edda/Ada (some may same he came from Nguzu Edda, some others pout him in Amasiri in present Afikpo LGA of Ebonyi State). Wherever he came from, he lived at Utuhugwu with the third son of Agwu called Ezeka Agwu. Eze Agwu asked his son, Ezeka, to send Nnachi to him. When Nnachi came to Eze Agwu, he Agwu told Nnachi about the nuisance that the Ibibio group constituted and asked him to do something to flush them out of Aro. Nnachi accepted that he could do that. He prepared his charms and concoctions and applied them on the Ibibio. Unfortunately, he was not successful in driving them away with his charms; the charms had no effect on the Ibibio. Nnachi then told Eze Agwu that the only option was physical warfare against the Ibibio and said he would go for the Akpa warriors who were reportedly good fighters. He went to Akampa in the present Cross River State and negotiated with Akpa king for his warriors. The Akpa king was agreeable to the plan of sending his warriors to go with Nnachi but only on two conditions, namely that his son, Osim Nnaubi (another version ascribes the leadership of the warriors to Akuma Nnaubi) well known as a skillful and artful fighter, was commander of the troops and his son, Osim Nnaubi, returned home alive, that nothing would happen to him during the war. Things would go wrong if anything happened to Osim in the war with the Ibibio. Nnachi accepted those conditions and the Akpa warriors followed him, with the King’s son, Osim (or Akuma) as commander. There first port of landing was today’s Ugwuakuma, after Ubila Ututu, where the commander Osim Nnaubi, his brother Akuma Nnaubi, and his men stopped, rested and asked Nnachi to bring the man who had sent him, Nnachi to his father, King of Akpa. It was there that Agwu and the Akpa king’s son, Osim and his brother Akuma, struck a blood pact (Igba Ndu). ‘’A sin a osisi a mara okwa na arukpo anya’’ (A stick about which caution has been expressed often damages the eye). After the blood pact, the Akpa warriors engaged the Ibibio in battle during which unfortunately, the Akpa commander, Osim Nnaubi, was killed. The death of Osim threw the Akpa warriors into an inexpressible trauma. They remembered the conditions and warnings their king had given them before they took off from their home and could not imagine their returning home without their commander, the Akpa king’s son, Osi Nnaubi. They became so angry and upset that they wanted eliminate everybody, Nnachi, Agwu and his family and the Aro, chanting a war song in their frenzy: ‘Ogugu Ani, Nte Nte Ani’
(‘Ogugu and Nte are said to be insects, and the song means that Osim Nnaubi had died, everybody else must also die). Agwu, naturally became worried and afraid and, applying diplomacy and superior intelligence for which the Aro had been associated with, he calmed them down and pacified them by pleading with them to live with them and become their rulers. It is reported that while Osim’s body was being conveyed from the spot he was ambushed and killed, his blood dropped at Amaikpe marked by Nkuma Amaikpe. He was eventually buried at the spot at Oror village where the Ukwu Ovo stands today.
We are told that Akuma Nnaubi and the warriors accepted Agwu’s plea, settled and took on the headship/leadership of Aro, thus establishing today’s Ibom Isii Kindred. Every year, they, with all Aro, go to Amaikpe to honour the great hero, Osim, during Eke Eke Aro-Okeigbo. During ‘’Nwupu Mmai’’, Umu Otusi are heard chanting ‘’ Aro Wosi’’ (meaning were it not for Osim, we would have all gone home).
Now, there was a twist in the story. After Akuma Nnaubi died, something happened which transferred the leadership of Aro from Akuma Nnaubi to Nnachi’s lineage, his son Oke Nnachi, being now crowned Eze by Ibom Isii. This is how today’s Ibom Isii are kingmakers in Aro rulership exercise. While Okennachi Kindred has retained till today the hereditary right of producing the Eze Aro, Ezeagwu Kindred ushers in Ikeji through performing the Eke Odu ceremony and being the first in Aro to perform the Izu ceremony.
The brief story about the origin of the Aro Kingdom brings us to the first king, first Eze Aro, Nnachi, as the first Monarch. In his article titled Historical Development of Aro Monarchy, 1650-2006,, Maazi George O. Okoro gave, on page A7 of the paper, a list of ten men and woman (all together 11) who had ruled Aro as Monarchs. In his book, The Aros Culture and Traditions, Maazi Dr. S.K Nwangoro listed, in chapter four, page 50, nine names of men and a woman who had ruled Aro Kingdom as Monarchs. In Prof. J Okoro Ijoma and Prof. U Oji Umozuruike’s Arochukwu History and Culture, two list are given on page 26, one of six names, and the other of nine people who had ruled Aro Kingdom in the early years. Important for us here is that Aro Kingdom had known a period of True Monarchy when power and authority were vested in one man ( or woman) called Eze Aro. We then come to the period when Eze Kanu Oji took on the crown as Eze Aro (1914-1988). Thus we can safely say that before the white man had anything to do with Aro Kingdom, we have had true Monarchy that is, a hereditary ruler in charge of government.
All Aro accept that they have a king, a Monarch, called Eze Aro. He is the one ‘’in charge’, he it is who ‘ governs’ Aro but whereas the Monarch in the strictest sense of the word is a single ruler who is I charge of government, as King or Queen, Emperor or Empress, the Aro Monarch, the Eze Aro, is not that kind of absolute ruler who single handedly runs the governance system. He is the Eze Aro who is assisted in the governance Aro Kingdom by two other Ezes, the Eze Ibom Isii and the Eze Ezeagwu. The Eze Aro has a dual personality or character- the Spiritual, which you do not see or touch but you may feel, and physical, whom you can see or touch and with whom you can dialogue. All Aro probably do not know about the dual personality of Eze Aro and that was why in those ancient days of Aro History, not nowadays when things have gone haywire, nobody spoke about Eze Aro anyhow. One spoke to or of him with great deep awe and respect.
Other Governance System In Arochukwu Kingdom
The Triumvirate-Monarchy: The most major governance system employed now in Arochukwu Kingdom, as was employed since Eze Kanu Oji, is what I, for want of better terminology, call Triumvirate- Monarchy. It is triumvirate because it involves governance by three men of equal status who jointly hold office as ‘‘Head of Government’’ i.e three triumvirs. It may, if you like be likened to the artistic triumvirate in my profession, the composer, performer (s) and the conductor. It is also a monarchy because one of them doubles as King, for where there is a kingdom, there is a King. This person is the Eze Aro. But this is not a true monarchy in the strictest sense of the word, for although this Monarch, the Eze Aro, enjoys the status of ‘’ Primus Inter Pares’’ (first among equals) and is chairman of the Triumvirate Monarchy, rarely does he impose his will on the other two historical Kindred heads- the Eze Ibom Isii and the Eze Ezeagwu. The dictum ‘’ A naghi achi Aro achi, a na-eso Aro eso’’ (the Aro are not ruled, they are followed) by the late Eze Aro, Maazi Kanu Oji himself, is evidently true. He would adjourn discussion on an issue in order for them to hold consultations with other people (Ibom Abali) in order for them to reconvene and take a final decision on the issue that would then become binding on all Aro.
Democracy : Government of the people by the people and for the people. Governance in Arochukwu Kingdom has, over the years and in quite recent years, taken on democratic elements. Whereas the Eze Aro is accepted and is known to come from Okennachi Kindred and that he is not elected, his being a hereditary position, the Heads and other officers of the governance of Nzuko Aro, at home and abroad, village unions, age grades, clubs like AROSON, Ezienyi, Omenuko etc are elected by their respective memberships. They fashion out constitutions and bye-laws that guide the administration and behavior of their members. They sue and can be sued to court. Article 4 of the Memorandum of evidence on the status of Chiefs in Arochukwu clearly states out a democratic process:
On the cessation of hostilities the three elements that fought against the Ibibios continued to build a confederate city state. The constitution was on a representative basis, no council quorum being formed until the three elements were present. The President of Council was styled ‘’ Eze Aro’’ (King of the Aro) and the Heads of the other two elements Co-Heads with him in a sort of TRIUMVIRATE for unless the three agreed on any issue no progress could be made or rule promulgated.
When Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu, one time Governor of Abia State, introduced creation of autonomous communities in the State, some Ibom Isii elements of Arochukwu Kingdom wanted to have autonomous communities created out of Arochukwu Kingdom. The move was foiled by the Okpankpo led Aro groups who pleaded with the Government to let Aro Kingdom remain as the entity she has been since Arochukwu State emerged. But after that attempt to remain an entity, Aro allowed the Aro in Diaspora to have autonomous communities created for them in order to suit their respective peculiar environments. The ‘’ Ebe onye bi ka o na awachi’’ maxim is here very meaningful and appropriate. As a result Arondizuogu has ten autonomous communities created for her. Ajalli had a local government for all Aro in Anambra State called Ndi Eni. As a result of Aro’s stance in the matter of autonomous communities, all other Igbo groups regard the Aro as a truly wise and intelligent people. That was communalism in action.
Organs, Instruments and Institutions of Governance in Arochukwu Kingdom
Okpamkpo Aro: The Okpamkpo Aro is the high and Supreme Court of Aro Governance. Okpamkpo assists Eze Aro in the decision making process and ensures that decisions made are implemented in their various villages. It meditates between two warring village, individuals or groups if a case is brought before it. Okpamkpo has the right to punish anybody who is considered to be a security risk to the Kingdom- a proven armed robber or kidnapper or one known to be diabolic in character. Okpamkpo advises Eze Aro on public proclamations. Thus it is a potent governance organ in the hands of Eze Aro.
The first Okpamkpo Aro was an ‘’ad hoc’’ group of twelve select leaders of thought, chosen irrespective of Kindred or village by the the Eze Aro, His Majesty, Eze Kanu Oji, to assist him in governance, especially in emergence and special occasions. They advised him on any issue or dispute. Visit to his palace by important personalities- Presidents, Governor, Missionaries, touring university students and the like brought Okpamkpo to his palace for discussions. Amongst the first Okpamkpo the following may be mentioned:
Dr. Alvan Ikoku (Amannagwu – Ezeagwu)
Maazi S.O. Nwangoro (Ibom – Ibom Isii)
Chief Torty Nwa Torty (Ugwuakuma – Ibom Isii)
Maazi William Ikoku (Amannagwu – Ezeagwu)
Maazi Sunday Ukwu Oji (Atani/Umunka – Okennachi)
Maazi Okereke Ojigwo (Oror/Orung Obin – Ezeagwu)
Maazi Anicho Anyakoha (Amankwu – Okennachi)
Chief Nwamuo Ecchemazu Atani Ezeagwu and others all now blessed memory. These constituted the first Okpamkpo. It was the Okpamkpo, for example, who led the Eze Aro to Oguta to settle the Chieftaincy tussle there. Then came a first reform of this Okpamkpo through the injection into it of the other 16 village Heads (Eze Ar, Eze Ibom Isii, Eze Ezeagwu were already present), Nzuko Aro representatives- President and Secretary- and some nominees of Nzuko Aro among whom were Maazi Kanui Paul Kanu, Maazi Okorafor Uwa, Maazi Nwamuo Echemazu, Elder Isaac Onoh as Reps of Nzuko Aro at Okpamkpo, with Maazi S.U. Oji as Secretary of Okpamkpo Aro and others.the inclusion of the sixteen village Heads in the administration and governance of Aro Kingdom is also a democratic step in the governance system. Governance is, therefore not left to the three triumvirs, but all Aro are now involved in the governance of the Kingdom through representation at Okpamkpo by their village heads. It should be mentioned that by the inclusion of the sixteen other Aro village Heads and representatives of Nzuko Aro in Okpamkpo, an element of democracy has begun to creep into the governance of Aro, for, being more representative, any decisions taken by that Okpamkpo were quickly, easily and timely relayed to the grass-root members of Aro Kingdom.
In July, 2009- 18th July, 2009 to be precise, the Okpamkpo Aro witnessed another unprecedented reform through the influx of many, many people with, among other expressions in Okpamkpo, the appointment of a member called the Speaker and the Executive Chairman of the reformed Okpamkpo- a most unheard-of membership of Okpamkpo in the history of Aro Kingdom. Perhaps a ‘’modernizing’’ tendency but with this 2009 reform, we have in our hands a most unwieldy Okpamkpo that, to the best of our knowledge and experience since the reform, is not functional. I am not sure that this Okpamkpo as any Okpamkpo that we have seen or known as the Okpamkpo that assists Eze Aro in governance, an Okpamkpo that maintains law and order in Aro and in the villages, as the Okpamkpo that adjudicates cases and her judgment is not faulted or rejected, has done much, If anything, since the said reform. It is under the regime of this Okpamkpo that Nzuko Aro (Women’s Wing), for instance went to court over an issue that should have been traditionally handled by Okamkpo Aro.
One would like to recommend a drastic pruning of the second reformed Okpamkpo and a return to the more representative and handier Okpamkpo that consisted of the Triumvirate Heads (Eze Aro/ Eze Ibom Isii/Eze Ezeagwu, the sixteen othe Aro village Heads, President and Secretary of Nzuko Aro Worldwide, three nominees of Nzuko Aro, Home branch. It is reported, however, that the one good thing that came out of the 2009 reformed Okpamkpo s that the people seek justice beginning from the family level. If one was dissatisfied with the judgment at the family level, one took the matter to compound (Ezi) level, from there to the village (Ogo) level, from there to the Kindred level and, finally to Okpamkpo Aro. This procedure aims at eliminating corruption that was said to have often occurred at certain levels.
Ndi Eze Ogo Aro-ini Council:
Ndi Eze Ogo Aro-in-Council, with Eze Aro as Chairman and Eze Ibom Isii and Eze Ezeagwu as members representing, respectively Ibom Etiti village and Amannagwu Village, are also an institution that is very active in the governance of Aro Kingdom. This institution also reflects the democratic aspect of governance as decisions taken or reached by them flow down to the rest of the people in all the villages.
The Ekpe Society:
The Ekpe Society is a very ancient institution in Aro Kingdom. It was then, as of today, used to enforce discipline in the community. It was also an arbiter between two members of a community or two villages who are involved in a land tussle. By means o ‘’Aku Ekpe’’, an injunction is placed over a disputed piece of land until the dispute is resolved also by Ekpe Society members. In Ekpe Society, we also see communalism in practice. Any Ekpe Society initiate can freely participate in any Ekpe ceremony irrespective of the village or town celebrating it provided that the initiate is truly initiated and understands the sign language (Nsibiri) of the Society and can greet them and respond to their mode of greeting. Because the Ekpe Society helps to maintain law and order in the community, it contributes to the governance of Aro Kingdom.
The Omu Arochukwu (Omu Aro for short) is another potent instrument used by Eze Aro in the governance of the Kingdom. It should be stated at the onset that it is only the Eze Aro who may send the Omu Aro to anybody- one who has offended Aro in a way or another- or for any purpose- as warrant of arrest, for example. Thus, Omu Aro is backed by the authority and power of Eze Aro. Eze Aro may also send Omu Aro to a group of people or individuals, including the Aro in Diaspora as royal invitation to attend important meetings or ceremonies at his palace.even the other two Kindred Heads and Eze Ogos have no power to use the Omu Aro for anything rather the Eze Aro may send Omu Aro to them to come to him for important instructions. They as ‘’Ogele’’ (gong) or ‘’atanu (bell) will reach out to their respective village members. Besides being an instrument of authority, the Omu Aro is also an instrument of royalty and prestige and its use belong only to the Eze Aro. The Omu Aro on ‘’Omu Aro George’’ is a delight to see and is prestigious on those who wear it on special occasions. The Omu Aro served the Monarchs of Old; it is still serving the Triumvirate –Monarchy Chairman of today, the Eze Aro.
One further recommendation before I close. We have observed or noticed the increasing use by Umu Aro juju shrines outside Arochukwu, eg Ndi Nduu at Achara Ihechiowa, Chokoneze at Obowo and Mbaise or the shrine at Okija, Anambra State, in settling quarrels, allegations of stealing or diaolicism, etc. we understand that His Majesty, Maazi Vincent Ogbonnaya Okoro, the Eze Aro, with all Aro organizations involved in the governance of Aro Kingdom, is continually fighting against this image damaging practice and doing everything possible to stop it, but to no avail. If Aro sons and daughters must settle their scores through the intervention of juju shrines, one is constrained to ask why the well known, respected and time tested juju shrines in Aro should not be preferred by Umu Aro to those outside. Why would Umu Aro not resolve issues through the Okpamkpo Aro which has been and remains the High and Supreme Court of Aro Kingdom? The tendency of using shrines outside Aro to settle disputes is on the increase and worrying. ‘’ A sin a ihe ojoo/aruruala gba avo o gho omenaala’’ ( If an evil or wicked act is perpetrated for one year, it becomes the custom or tradition of the people). I am persuaded to make this recommendation to my people, Umu Aro, namely, that if juju shrines must be of a necessity to settle scores, those in Aro should be preferred. The damage we do to Aro image by this bad tendency is inassessible and irreparable. Are we no longer the people whose Ibiniukpabi was consulted by people from everywhere? Let us think again about our actions. Finally, because the Aro are human beings and must, at one time or another, have issues with other people, let them use the courts of Nigeria- the Customary, Magistrate, the High and the Supreme Courts- to settle issues. In the final analysis, the Okpamkpo Aro should be the best choice.
Nzuko Aro, Worldwide: Another organ of governance in Aro is the two pronged Nzuko Aro, worldwide- the Nzuko Ikom and Nzuko Inyom worldwide. These bodies are autonomous organs of governance in Aro Kingdom to the extent that they elect their functionaries, hold their meetings and take decisions that have to do with the development of Aro. They come up development plans which they channel in toto Eze Aro and his cabinet who many accept the development plans in to or modify them. Any programmes or decisions that are not tailored to the development and progress of Aro are, of course, not approved by the Triumvirate or Okpamkpo Aro as a whole. To this extent, they are not quite autonomous, they the eyes of Aro outside Aro Kingdom. They attract important dignitaries to Aro and often play advisory role to Eze Aro. They are also credited with financially assisting and maintain the Triumvirate-Monarchy.
Age Grade System, Clubs etc: Age Grades in Aro Kingdom are not as prominent a development organ as they are in Ohafia and in particular Abriba. Apart from Uke Ili, which is prominent in every Aro village because man must die, Age Grades seems to be most functional only in Atani village. They have undertaken various development projects and, in this way, developed Aro.
Ibiniukpabi: The famous Aro oracle, Ibiniukpabi, was also an important institution or instrument in the governance of Aro Kingdom. It unified the Kingdom. Through it, Aro people extended their political and economic power and influence over other people/clan in the Diaspora- the colonies. Others brought their problems to be solved by it. It ensured the security of the Aro who travelled wherever they wanted as they pursued their economic long-distance trade. It projected Aro image to the outside world.
This paper has attempted to show that Aro Kingdom has witnessed Monarchical Governance for many years with a woman Queen Nnenne Mgbokwo Omini ruling for twenty six years. This period merged insensibly and without turmoil into the Triumvirate Monarchial System which is still operational today. Although this is the major governance system, the paper spotlights a few democratic and communal examples in the governance of Aro Kingdom. Finally, it mentions the organs, institutions and instruments which these governance systems have employed in Aro Kingdom. One can readily say that apart from a few displays of democratic tendencies- disobedience of Eze Aro’s directives, going to civil court sue an opponent, etc-things that never happened during the monarchical period- Aro Kingdom has known considerable peace and order. It is a happy thing that the two historical Kindred Heads- Eze Ibom Isii and Eze Ezeagwu- have, by and large not only functioned harmoniously with each other but with also their Chairman, the Eze Aro. This, in my view, is at the bottom of the relative peace and harmony Aro Kingdom has enjoyed. May they continue to rule harmoniously and peacefully, so that the entity called Arochukwu Kingdom, may continue to thrive.
By Rev. Prof. A. Kanu Achinivu
Text of the lecture delivered at the 2017 Ikeji Aro Lecture Series