The above caption derives from the issues of the times, so needs to be explained. It’s no longer news that a brand new Nzuko Aro leadership is in place. It is also no longer news that the first Central Executive Committee (CEC) meeting hosted by Lagos branch was carnival-like. Again, readers of this column are aware of its commitment to a new order in Arochukwu going by several articles that sensitized leaders on the path of honor in community leadership. Finally, at the CEC meeting, which many people attended to honor the new helmsmen and show commitment to Arochukwu kingdom, a few, including myself, ended up being co-opted as ex-officio members of the EXCO. And we gladly accepted. However, shortly after someone expressed concerns about how this column shall maintain its vibrancy and neutrality over issues going forward. As far as he was concerned, it has been captured and caged, so will be a mouthpiece of the current regime. No doubt, this concern is understandable but it is far from the truth. In fact, such thoughts emanated from ignorance of the true mission of the medium which is the foundation of the ideas the column canvases. Given the likely event of other people with similar opinion, it is necessary to restate the ethos we subscribe to in this edition which is the first in the tenure of the new helmsmen.
As founder/pioneer publisher of Aro News at inception about 20 years ago, I led my team to swear the oat of service; “that we shall recognize the fact that knowledge is freedom, and also power and that without it a man stumbles, a community falter and a people perish”. And my earlier column, Notes from Editor in-Chief, further enunciated this ethos by indicating that to the extent that what it shall preach shall add value to the body of knowledge that will direct our community towards the path of greatness, and to the extent that it shall remain the point of light in darkness that inspires and encourage our people that the future harbored greater and nobler attainments; to that extent it would largely have succeeded in its mission. This has been the standard and on it The Forerunner shall continue, always aiming to be patriotic and independent in making a mark in the annals of Aro history and civilization. And, God has always helped us with evident successes.
Now on our new helmsmen, first, we congratulate Mazi George Ezumah and his team for their well deserved election into Nzuko Aro’s EXCO. Indeed, it couldn’t have come at any other time than now. For one, Mazi Ezumah is a worthy son and has over the years shown diligence and service in pursuit of Aro interests at home and abroad. Thus, his election as the President- General of Nzuko Aro is commendable and heartwarming. Worthy of note also, is the array of highly talented, qualified and credible umu-aro that makes up his team. In fact, as his erstwhile campaign DG, Ikemba Julius Imuoh once said, the current squad has what it takes to keep the leadership structure in Arochukwu for several years. Truth be told, it goes without saying that Aro was before this time at the crossroads. Therefore, many things definitely require urgent attention and redress. For Mazi Ezumah and his cabinet to succeed, they must make a study of Aro’s major problems – both physical and non-physical and conscientiously pursue policies aimed primarily at eradicating or reducing same. The issue of why Aro has consistently been a victim of years of gross and criminal neglect by successive governments must be given priority attention with the view to seeking redress.
This column has over time called attention to the many challenges that confront us as a community, including gross absence of social amenities such as roads, pipe borne water, educational facilities, town-hall, a befitting palace for the Eze Aro throne, employment generation, poverty reductions, provision of primary health care, and so on. Nzuko Aro has the potentials to deliver Aro from itself by offering purposeful leadership and vision that will impact positively on the life of the people. These major problems must be solved in order to reduce social tension in our community. The new EXCO may not hold the panacea for all the problems confronting Aro but they can become vehicles of change, transformation and meaningful progress. Thus, the Mazi Ezumah-led EXCO must avoid playing to the gallery, maintaining the status quo which only impedes progress. They should avoid empty posturing which in the end adds little or no value. In this regard, we note with delight the action already taken by the new leadership to set an agenda for itself. Indeed, without measurable, realistic and specific targets and goals, no meaningful appraisal can be undertaken on the performance of this administration at the end of its tenure. Therein lays the essence of the managerial principle of “management by objectives” which it has adopted.
Starting with the team’s consultation with prominent Umu Aro, during his campaigns and at the first CEC meeting, the PG committed his team to an eleven-point agenda for bringing Arochukwu kingdom back to its pristine conditions. According to their campaign proposition, “Arochukwu Kingdom has lost its pride of place in the scheme of things in Ibo land. Arochukwu has been the cradle of tradition and culture, farming, trading, judicial/adjudication, spiritual consultation, and above all, it has been predominantly the Ibo nomads that straddle the nook and cranny of Nigeria. Our manifesto would be our bond with all stakeholders in the Arochukwu project”. Challenges identified by the leadership to be addressed included: – revitalization of Nzuko Aro, restoration of traditional institutions and values, including the palace building, education and youth empowerment, completion of civic centre, security and health, etc. We make bold to state that their style is commendable, particularly as it lays foundation for an empirical assessment of their tenure. As the saying goes, a problem identified is one already half solved.
The Forerunner, just like others, shall be on duty to periodically gauge how the leadership is doing with finding solutions to the identified challenges. That Aro is in dire straits goes without saying; that Aro has suffered immense stagnation over the years is no news; that Aro squandered the opportunities it had to be great is regrettable and, indeed annoying. Expectations are high, so is the enormous confidence reposed in Mazi Ezumah and his team. They must not fail to uplift Aro from her parlous state to greater heights. The choice is theirs, to etch their names in gold or ruin a life opportunity. They rode to power on a crest of popular support and many well-meaning and purposeful citizens, including patrons, gathered at the first CEC meeting and showed them love and support. What remains is for them to hit the ground running, not failing to remember their promise that their manifesto shall be their bond and not forgetting that The Forerunner shall not waiver in doing its legitimate duty of information dissemination on how it is succeeding or failing based on those set objectives and targets. Indeed, we shall not waiver.