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.