Every civilization rises, flourishes and then with time either crumbles or endures, so is history which is a major component of human civilization. An epoch in Aro history and civilizations came to an end in 1987, when His Royal Highness, Eze Kanu Oji died. His reign was long and peaceful – Sixty-Nine (69) years in all, 1918-87. He was revered by all, his death marked albeit painfully, the end of an era and the commencement of another. Soon afterwards it became evident that there were irreconcilable differences in the Aro ruling house – Oke Nanchi. Two contenders to the throne had indeed emerged: Prince Sampson Kanu Idei and Mazi Vincent Ogbonnaya Okoro. A letter dated 1st August, 1988 entitled “Notice of Coronation” signed by late Mazi/Dr. Nwakanma Okoro (SAN) Chairman, Okennachi kindred, Mazi/Elder I Okwara Onoh Chairman, Ibom Isii kindred and Mazi J. Ezuma Okoro, Chairman Ezeagwu kindred, was sent to Mazi Vincent Ogbonnaya Okoro notifying him as Eze Aro elect and the need for him to urgently severe his services with his erstwhile employers, the University of Nigeria, Nsukka; so as to take up the mantle of leadership of Aro Kingdom. That letter of 1st August 1988 evidently led to the filing of suit No. HOH/26/88 at Ohafia on 30th August, 188 by Prince Sampson Kanu Idei as plaintiff while Mazi Vincent Okoro, Okoro Ohu Oke and Mazi Oji Kanu Oji were joined as defendants.
By now the scenario was tensely set for the long eclipse; series of litigations and war of attrition that lasted for over seven years defying all known Aro traditional method of conflict resolution and diplomacy. All attempts by prominent Aro sons such as late Dr. Nwakanma Okoro on the one hand and late Mazi Sam Ikoku on the other, to settle the matter out of court failed. Other bodies that waded into the matter with a view to procuring amicable settlement out of court included Nzuko Aro, Eze Ogos, etc. Despite these attempts by well-meaning Aro indigenes the litigations dragged on and on, until 1995; following the death of the first plaintiff, Prince Kanu Idei on 1st May 1995, which struck out the case. Part of the ruling read as follows: “It is a pity that we have to pass this mortal way, Mortal way, that the future has no forecast of it. Whatever is the case, though a sensitive case that could have led us into the history of Arochukwu, this court has no alternative than to cede to the application made for striking out of this case, which is instituted in ‘personam’. Accordingly this case in the circumstance is struck out (Suit No. HOH/26/88). Consequently, in a colorful ceremony in December 1995, His Royal Highness, Mazi Vincent Ogbonnaya Okoro ascended to the throne and was officially presented with a staff of office by the then Governor of Abia State.
May the reign of His Royal Highness, Eze Vincent Ogbonnaya Okoro be long and peaceful.
Written by Ben Ezumah