The history of Arochukwu Kingdom remains a peculiar one in the history of the black race; and I passionately believe that it cannot be overemphasized. Though the history is accessible to everyone, via electronic, print media and oral tradition, it however, gives me so much joy to do a recap, whenever such need arises. For me, I believe that the past, should always serve as a compass to navigate the future. How ? Yes, learning from our past mistakes, or failures will evidently lead us to a successful end. But when we remain adamant to the mistakes or failures of the past, the future may even become worse than the past.
The wisdom, courage, boldness, and doggedness of the ancient Aro, placed Aro Kingdom in the world map of greatness today. History has it that in the last decades of the 19th century, the Aro Confederacy, whose powers and influence cut across Igboland and beyond, was greatly challenged by the increasing British penetration in the hinterlands.
This led to raids and invasions of communities by the Aro to forestall the British penetration into the hinterlands. When the Aro refused to cave in to the pressure of British Colonialists negotiations for years, the increased tension metamorphosed to war.
It was also recorded that, it was 87 officers and 1500 Soldiers, a total of 2037 well equipped soldiers, armed with lethal weapons, fought the Village folks, who had only machetes, and den guns ( Egbe Ntu), as their only means of defence.
Though the result of the war recorded 700-800 casualties on the British side, and a heavy casualty on the Aro side, yet, it was a victory for the Aro because, they stood still for what they believed in, though, it caused them their lives. Going by the type of sophisticated weapons the British had, they were not supposed to lose a finger in that war; but the ancient Aro proved them wrong.
Now my questions and the real challenges are:
- How many professors went with them to meet, or negotiate with the British on this trade deals?
- How many Politicians went with them?
- How many learned gentlemen went with them?
- How many of those ancient Aro leaders saw the four walls of the classroom?
- How many mopols, and security aides, escorted them to these meetings?How many bullet proof jeeps conveyed them to these meetings?
We can go on and on. The answers we can keep to ourselves.
Now, my worries are, if these unschooled leaders, trekked barefoot, I supposed, to Umuahia on several occasions to meet with the Imperialists, stood their grounds without any form of compromise or betrayal, and shed their blood for Aro cause, how then do we show gratitude for all these ?
Is it by pulling down the remaining debris with our hands? We do not have to wait for Aro to go into total extinction before we realise that we have slipped off our feet.
What does it mean to fall?
To fall as we know, is to move to a lower position, to come down, drop, or descend. It means to come to the ground deliberately, or, to be brought to the ground by someone. To fall is to collapse, overthrown, or defeated. It means to become lower.
Whichever one of the meanings we may choose to describe the word ‘fall’, we should understand that it all points to an action. Meaning that, we, as a people, or individuals, have taken some actions; either deliberately, or otherwise, that is affecting the standing position of Aro Kingdom today.
We sincerely need a self appraisal, to know where we have participated in this negative action(s). Groups, and associations are not left out this self examine action.
As we know, the configuration of Aro is a very peculiar one. Aro has a unique bond. The Kindred’s are interwoven. This makes us a very large family. What affects one family, affects all. This is the reason Aro is falling, or already fallen; because, the Bible made us to understand that, a house divided against it’s self cannot stand.
So many forms of divisions have sneaked into Aro. Divisions of hate and rebellion, divisions of ego, all manner of aberrations and the like. Any person can now do anything and go free. No more discipline, nor disciplinary actions.
Where did we get it wrong?
Some May reason that whatever challenge Aro is going through now, is not peculiar to us. Yes, there may be some logic there in, but we should also remember that, we are a peculiar people . There is this saying that (Onye a kporo Allwell, ekwesighi inwe Ukwu oru) one whose name is Allwell, is not supposed to be deformed.
We are Umu Chukwu, and have always proudly claimed this. We are Aro Okeigbo – The superior Igbo- A prince or Princess is not supposed to dress on rags. It is an aberration.
My joy is that, it is not only what goes up, that must come down, but, what went down, can also come up. That is why a Chinese teacher, editor, politician and philosopher, Confucius said, “Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in getting up every time we do.”
I strongly believe that Aro can rise again. I believe that the exuberance of the contemporary Aro, will embrace the glory of the ancient Aro, which has sustained us over years, and we shall rise to that enviable height again.
At a special season like this, I pray that the resurrection power of Jesus Christ, will locate Arochukwu Kingdom, and cause Aro to Rise Again.
Happy Easter Aro Okeigbo !