Where is your love for Arochukwu?

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Twin Plagues of Mis-governance and Underdevelopment in Abia

Do you truly love Arochukwu? How do you love Arochukwu? Why do you love Arochukwu? How deep is your love for your hometown? Is your love shallow? Is it fake? Is it unreliable or undependable? Is it sheer selfishness? A relentless entanglement to the land due to the immense pecuniary benefits accruable there from which include though not limited to indigene-ship, cultural identity, ancestral lineage, fraternization, socialization and several others. What is your commitment to the Aro project?

It’s not uncommon to hear umuaro wherever they assemble profess their “uwam uwa asaa” love for their hometown. But is there really genuine love for Arochukwu? If there were genuine love for Arochukwu then why is self-help effort geared towards accelerated development so difficult to achieve or garner? Why is it so impossible for Aro to benefit from the immense potential of thousands of its indigenes in the diaspora? Is there anything wrong if diaspora funds are raised in Europe, America, Canada, Asia and channeled to Arochukwu for the development of the kingdom? Why is all that is accruable to Aro from platforms such as Nzuko Aro, All Aro USA, village unions and clan meetings nothing other than mere tokenism and empty posturing?

A close investigation into the nature and quality of love of majority of umuaro for their beloved homeland would throw up some shocking truths. There’s surely a miserly disposition that has left the town virtually unattended to, undeveloped and in dire straits for decades. This is unacceptable for a people that love the good life almost to an epicurean dimension. It’s true that many people since the end of the war have progressed well in their careers and financial capacities-building their mansions and driving their Suvs, no one begrudges them for their good fortunes and great achievements, but we must also talk about the roads leading to those mansions, the common services, critical infrastructure, security of life and property, water and power supply, development of new settlements for the rapidly expanding population, upgrading of the Eze Aro’s palace or construction of a new one (to serve as the official residence of anyone who ascends the throne of Eze Aro), standard health facilities with their attendant staff, building a Sports complex that will hold a standard lawn tennis court, basketball court, football pitch, swimming pool, and such other social amenities.

These are part of the things that transform a rural setting to urban status. These are the things we must aspire to encapsulate in our vision and aspiration and pursuit for happiness and the good life. It’s sad that over the years, Aro has not tapped from the immense potential of its thriving elites and the limitless capacities of its professionals and business people within Nigeria and in the diaspora. This needless waste of great opportunities must be checked through the purposeful leadership provided by Nzuko Aro with vision, drive and a reliable platform for the networking, synergizing and harnessing of the immense resources needed to radically lift the town and place it on the path of rapid development.

For this to happen, Nzuko Aro must change its modus of holding meetings for meeting’s sake. From 1970 till date, duration of 45 years, what concrete achievements in terms of community development has Nzuko Aro brought to the collective basket or table of Arochukwu? Is it not startling that Nzuko Aro cannot boast of projects collectively initiated and completed through self-help efforts in the past ten years? Where they exist at all they are shabby and fall short of expectations and standards. It’s a known fact that government cannot meet every developmental need or challenge in every community, clan or society. It’s therefore foolhardy to wait for distantand uncaring governments in Nigeria to meet every need or challenge. Self-help developmental efforts prove most effective in bridging the gaps in social amenities and such other basic needs in every society.

Consequently, it behoves Nzuko Aro to reform itself, so as to re-engage umuaro to loosen their miserly disposition and passivity towards the development of their hometown. No foreigner will come to develop Arochukwu.The task is that of umuaro and no one else.Their love for their hometown is not in doubt, but such love must be translated into action and meaningful support, solidarity and empathy or it becomes useless and ineffectual. Love is akin to faith, without good works it’s dead. The recurrent mindset which sees meetings as mere merry making platforms, beer drinking avenues must change to a more focused business conscious model that serves as a veritable catalyst and vehicle for social change and rapid development.

Nzuko Aro can and should utilize its huge capacity and goodwill to initiate on behalf of Arochukwu worthy projects: construction of internal roads such as the new market road, inter-village roads, up grading of markets, social and political mobilization of youths waiting for directives and action, beautification of Obinkita Square, completion of the Civic Centre project, poverty alleviation projects for widows, Education Trust for indigent children and orphans, etc. The high incidence of poverty, hunger, disease, maternal mortality and the gross absence of standard health care facilities are some of the issues that must propel every responsible Aro son or daughter to simply do something positive to help our hometown. The truth is that Nzuko Aro and most, if not all the village meetings remain largely under-utilized, directionless and self- serving. Also most Aro elites remain mostly aloof, distant, inaccessible, passive and arrogant. Yet they hold the enormous potential to re-direct Arochukwu on the path of steady progress by harnessing vital resources they hold for the overall socio-economic and political development Arochukwu.

Aro indigenes within Nigeria and the diaspora must at this point in Aro history re-assess their years of poor attitude towards the development and welfare of Arochukwu, and after such sober reflection they should solemnly recommit themselves and their resources to the service and rapid development of the town we all vow at every turn to love so dearly.

About author

Ben Ezumah

Ben Ezumah was born in Arochukwu, Abia state, Nigeria. He attended Holy Ghost College, Owerri (1983). His first degree was at University of Jos (1990) where he obtained BA (Hons.) in English and Linguistics combined honors. He obtained Post Graduate Diploma (PGD) in Journalism from the International Institute of Journalism, Abuja. (2003) Post Graduate Diploma in Education (PGDE) from the University of Abuja (2005), Master of Science (MS) Adult Learning in English as a Second Language (2015) from Walden University, Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA.(2015). As a result of his inter-disciplinary works and specializations, he can rightly be described as a Journalist, Educationist, Playwright, Essayist, Creative Writer, Linguist, Biographer and Poet. Some of his publications include though not limited to: Meditations of an Old Prostitute-a Collection of Poems (2002), co-author: Perspectives on Aro History and Civilization-the Splendor of a Great Past-Volumes 1,2&3(2001),2003)&(2007)respectively. Wedding-Bells that Never Rang (2013). Ben Ezumah was the pioneer Editor, Aronews for about ten years. He is a member of the Association of Nigerian Authors,(ANA) Nigerian Environmental Society(NES) among several others. Presently, he is a Deputy Director (Education) at SEB, FCTA Abuja, Nigeria.

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