After several years on the drawing board, there are strong indications that Aro-Okeigbo Social Club of Nigeria (AROSON) has now taken up the gauntlet to build its own house, called AROSON Club House.
To actualize the project, the Club on September 22 this year conducted a fundraising event with a view to pooling resources to build a befitting edifice to further its activities.
Inside the main auditorium of the Arochukwu Civic Centre on Nkwo Ekpe Ibom Isii day, the who-is-who in Arochukwu Kingdom and beyond gathered at the instance of AROSON, the flagship social club in Aro.
As they gathered, so did they reach into the inner recesses of their wallets to dole out money, in hundreds of thousands and in millions, in support of AROSON building its club house.
At the event that took the leadership of the club months to plan, its President, Mazi Okorafor Nwagugor Okorafor (aka Naira), disclosed how AROSON has impacted the Arochukwu Kingdom by contributing to its socio-cultural development.
He said that “AROSON, as a premier club, in all modesty, is a key player in the affairs of Arochukwu Kingdom through its noble objectives, personal and group sacrifices of its men and women. The club has in all ramifications obtained an irrefutable reputation for selfless community service.”
He continued: “For example, AROSON has been providing leadership resource to almost all the echelons of our community power structure, given out scholarships across the 19 villages, donated trophies for cultural competitions among the villages during the yearly Ikeji festival, built bus stops and put some buses to use.”
Okorafor also noted that “only recently, we executed a complete borehole project with its ancillary facilities such as a large overhead tank and a big standby generator, which we donated to the General Hospital, Arochukwu.”
The club also contributed funds in support of efforts by stakeholders to fix the Ndi Okereke Abam-Okobo-Arochukwu road when it was impassable.
But in all of this, the club did not lose sight of the fact that it needed to own a place where its members and non-members could come together to unwind, and discuss important matters affecting the communities, hence the fundraising event.
Which is why the president said: “For us, the time has come for another developmental stride in the socio-cultural/economic life of the community in that recreation is being included to enhance the quality of life of the people.
“And, in line with emerging urban status of the community, we have also decided to build a recreational club for use by all Aros and neighbouring communities.”
Chairman of the occasion and President-General of Nzuko Arochukwu Worldwide, Mazi George Ezuma, congratulated AROSON for the vision to build a centre as conceived, noting that when completed, the edifice would fill a major void in the social curriculum of the people.
He thus set the ball rolling with a princely donation. Thence, it was literally naira rain in support of the project.
The former presidents of the club present pledged their individual donations ranging from N500,000 to N1million. The serving president also pledged the sum of N1million in support of the project.
Other members of the club, its corporate branches as well as non-members took turns to announce donations in support of the project.
One of the special guests of honour, Senator MAO Ohuabunwa, donated N1million cash, promising to do more as the project progresses.
Perhaps the icing on the cake was the hefty N20million donation pledged by another special guest of honour, Hon. Uko Nkole, which sent the audience rupturing in jubilation.
Other special guests of honour included Dr. Alx Otti, Sir Chikwe Udensi, Sir Victor Ike Okoronkwo and Hon. Luke Ukara, who were unavoidably absent.
Important personalities that attended the fundraising event included four former presidents of the club, namely Mazi Sam Ohuabunwa, Mazi Emma Kanu Ivi, Mazi Dave Imoko and Elder IK Onu, who all made handsome pledges towards the project.
Others were the Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Dr O.J Nnanna; Mazi Dagogo Okoronkwo; Mazi Dan Kanu (Ugwu Aro); Mazi Azubike Okoro (ex-CBN); Dr Azubike Okoro; Mazi Anicho Okoro (Secretary-General of Nzuko Aro); Sir Kingsley Oti (former National Secretary of AROSON) and his wife Ucharia; Dr Orji Ogbonnaya Orji; former vice president of the club, Mazi Ijoma O. Ijoma; Financial Secretary of Nzuko Aro, Mazi Adindu Elekwa; Patron of Nzuko Aro, Mazi Okereke Okpara, among others. Oil magnate, Dr Uche Ogah, and Chief Nnamdi Iro Oji (Opotoyo), were represented at the event.
Aro News learnt that the significant thing about the AROSON House is that every member of the club is made to be a stakeholder, by “committing something” as equity in the project
Give and take, the club might have realised more than N30million from the event.
A cultural dance troupe from Aba branch of the club provided the eye-catching performance, not forgetting sumptuous meals and choice drinks that were served the guests.