Arochukwu Development Fund Issues & Facts

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Orji Ogbonnaya Orji, PhD

The idea of Arochukwu development Fund was informed by the urgency to put in place a basket of funds ready and available for use to finance key development projects in the Kingdom in the short, medium and long term. These  projects  are visibly required today  in the areas of equipment of the civic center,  primary health care, basic education, rural-urban access road,  peace and security of the community.

Others are development of  sports, culture,  entertainment, youth empowerment and  support to Aro traditional institutions among others. Aro is currently lacking in all these basic social services. The initiative also became necessary as a result of  the  fact that the era in Nigeria when  communities fold their hands and  wait for government is certainly over.  Many communities  have realized  the urgent need  to take their destiny in their own hands through self-help. The Arochukwu Development Fund is our  own  timely response to this unfolding approach to community development  now  common in Igbo land .

In  establishing the Fund therefore,  the current leadership of Nzuko Aro were fully  aware of the cynicism, lack of public confidence and community trust deficit that may confront the implementation. The zero -confidence  that  management of such a community development  fund would  be characterized by corruption, abuses, poor judgement, inefficiency,  lack of transparency and accountability has a long history here in Aro. Those who share this concern  have several examples of failure, blame game and passing -the -bulk syndrome  in this direction  to drive home their fears. They ask questions and seek answers: What  has changed? Any lessons learnt?  How will the fund be managed? Are there consequences for abuses? What about utlilisation, monitoring, evaluation and measurement of impact? 

However, all those who are skeptical over this initiative seem to agree on one thing.  They all  believe that Aro has more than  enough men and women with character, contentment, resources, competence and integrity to handle this kind of assignment successfully if given a chance.  And this is the crux of the matter. It is gratifying to state that such men and women have been identified and deployed. While the fears and concerns are genuine, the robust governance  structure put in place to administer the newly floated Arochukwu Development is as strong, effective, dynamic and functional as that of any of  the world best development financial institutions.  

A comparative analysis and case study of  the  governance  structure  of  World  Bank Projects,   the IMF,  African Development Bank, African Finance Corporation and that of the Central Bank of Nigeria were used as models to design the Arochukwu Development Fund. And this is a fact.  Again, those who either  designed  the  Fund  or  carefully  chosen to management same or both;  are fellow Aros that any  one can take their reputation to any bank as collateral. These are Aros that  have  made  huge  successes  of  their respective  career and vocation. In summary, the fears and concerns no longer exist. This fund  is  different  both  in concept, design  and management and will be so visible in impact assessments. Things have changed.  A  lot  of  lessons have been learnt. The time to rebuild the public confidence and trust is now.

The governance structure put in  place  makes it “easier for one to go to heaven” than for any individual or group to abuse  or steal from the fund. Besides, management will follow a work plan developed with time-lines and targets built on carefully conducted need assessment.  We therefore urge all Aros at home and in the diaspora to embrace this initiative with every passion and commitment. While responses to donate to the fund since it was publicly unveiled on December 26th last year have  been encouraging, the expectation is quite high that this year will be phenomenally different. As we converge on the Aro Civic Center to mark the Dec 26th 2019 Aro Day Celebration, please  book your  name in the Development Fund donors list.  This  is  a  civic  responsibility  to  every  taxable  Aro son or daughter. The  moral  right  to ask how the fund is managed begins with your donation no matter how token. The journey to make Aro great again, has just begun.  Please, don’t sit on the fence.

Merry Xmas & a happy new year.   

About author

Orji Ogbonnaya Orji

Dr. Orji Ogbonnaya Orji is a renowned journalist and well known broadcaster of repute in Nigeria. He is currently the Director, Communications at the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI), Presidency Abuja. He has held high ranking media and public communication appointments in Nigeria’s federal government. In 2009, he was appointed Special Adviser to Nigeria’s Minister of Information and Communications, having earlier served as Special Adviser (media & public relations) to the President of the Senate at the National Assembly from 2000 to 2003. He was also Head of Media and public Affairs at the Bureau of Public Procurement at the Presidency, worked for the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) Abuja as communications consultant among others. A graduate of mass communication at the Institute of Management and Technology IMT Enugu, he attended the Institute of Advanced Media Studies Cardiff U.K. Orji holds a Bsc in political Science, Masters and Ph.D respectively in political economy and development studies from the University of Abuja. He is also a Senior Executive Fellow at the Harvard University Kennedy School. For his contributions to the development of Aro, he is honored as Ikemba and remains in the National Executive Committee of Nzuko Aro as Chairman Political/ Government Relations. From Ugwuavor Village, Arochukwu, Orji is married with three children.

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