Sometime during last year’s rainy season, in a commercial vehicle that was conveying passengers from Arochukwu to Umuahia through Ohafia/Bende route, a friend reported that the discussion all through the journey was the poor condition of the road.
The occupants were more embittered that they had to take the circuitous route because Okobo road, which is the shortest to Umuahia, was again closed to traffic because of the rains. They wondered why the roads in and around Arochukwu have, for so long, defied all efforts to get them fixed. At this point in the discussion, one of the occupants told his co-travelers that she had lost hope about getting the roads fixed in her lifetime.
According to the story, this hopelessness emanated from her conviction that the myriad of problems confronting our beloved Arochukwu Community was as a result of ancestral curses.
Apart from the roads, she drew attention to the crises between the Palace and Nde Eze Ego and the confidence deficit between the Palace and Nzuko Arochukwu, to mention just those. She believes that perhaps , our forefathers may have played some dangerous religious, power and traditional ‘games’ which brought the wrath of God. If that was not so, she reasoned, why would all the efforts to resolve these issues to be futile.
She is not the only one who holds that opinion. This view has compelled many groups and religious bodies to hold endless night vigils and prayer sessions. The community should sincerely appreciate these spiritual interventions as there is no doubt that God answers prayers and God is with Arochukwu.
However, if development or lack of it, was all due to generational curses or the sins of forebears how come countries with recorded serial atrocities have managed to make outstanding progress.
For instance, the first world transformed their countries through killings, appropriation and exploitation of their colonies. Britain conquered and plundered Nigeria and several other countries. Indians will not forget their colonial experience in a hurry. More than 15 million Congolese were killed or amputated on the orders of King Leopold 11 of Belgium ostensibly for not picking enough cotton. Hitler’s Germany killed 6 million Jews in gas chambers. Today, these countries are very developed and running effective governments. Did the genocides, mass killings and plundering not qualify to attract generational curses?
Recently, things are looking up for Arochukwu especially in the area of infrastructure. For sure, the Lady who last year felt our roads may not be done in her lifetime is pleasantly surprised. She must be amazed that things could turn around so quickly.
Early this year, Aros started noticing construction activities on Arochukwu internal roads thanks to the Niger Delta Development Commission and the doggedness of our political leaders. As the third largest urban city in Abia State, it was scandalous that the kingdom could not boast of notable internal road network. All that is about to change. The Isinkpu /Ugwuavor road has been asphalted. Same for Isinkpu/Atani road. The road around Nkwunabu has been given a facelift while the Amuvi section is also receiving attention. Work has also commenced on the Amangwu/Akama/Avia
Ovuru/Ibom/Amaikpe ring road. The Oror/Civic Centre/Amoba road is also under construction.
In July this year, the federal government re- awarded the Bende/Ohafia Arochukwu road at the cost of 5.4 billion Naira. The climax of the interventions which multiplied the joy of the people is the Nkana/Arochukwu road being constructed by the Akwa Ibom State Government.
However, we must realize that it is more than a coincidence that our roads are receiving attention now that one of our own is in government. In Nigeria, when you are not part of the decision making process, nobody remembers you. Our forefathers had a proverb, “onye a noghi na nko oku, ji ya na ere je oku”.
In this season of politics, we must be careful to ensure that we are adequately represented; we must stand by our own. That is the only way to sustain the current development strides in the kingdom and avoid blaming ‘ancestral curses’.