After over two decades, introspection on the idea behind AANC is inevitable. A periodic meet, such as the AANC,is a sin qua-non for the growth anddevelopment of societies. This is basically because it introduces focus, direction,orderliness and patterned course of action which derives fromharmonized views and articulated objectives and targets. Social scientists of the Marxian hue would readily ask questions such as “Aro National Conference for whom, for what and for whose ultimate benefit”; to justify the rigor of their analysis. However, mere participation in any of the four earlier conferences is sufficient to answer the above questions satisfactorily. The All Aro National Conference, to say the least, is a nobleidea whose time was overdue when it came. The Aro sons and daughters whoworked hard on the concept, and also put together the 1st conference way back in1996 therefore, are, at best, great minds. At all the past conferences, what made Aro Aro was evident. Those distinctive traits which markthem out from other people were on parade. The Aro royalty was always radiantly present. At the past conferences, the groundwork for a newbeginning was effectively laid.
The Aro agenda in the 21st century,which was articulated at one of the conferences, was the seal. Twenty four years after, and with the pioneer Chair stepping into another role after today; a valedictory symposium seems very apt. But wheredo we go from here?AANC is a purveyor of pan-Aro culture and culture is a strong part of our lives. It influences our views, values, hopes, loyalties, worries, fears, etc. and its aggregation towards a common goal ensures quicker attainment of results. In essence, a strong cultural identity amongst Aro in various abodes, which AANC strongly pursued in the last 24 years,is important to our wellbeingas a people. And, a strong sense of our cultural history and traditions will promote unity and progress, and as long as culture remains the biggest tool for the development of mankind; AANC will remain the biggest platform to achieve cultural rebirth and renaissance that would engender development amongst Aro in the homestead and those in diaspora. A very big salute to Professor Okoro Ijoma, the founding Chairman and his entire pioneer team for a fantastic job on behalf of corporate Aro. Congratulation team!
What’s next? Let’s be more Strategic
The idea of institutionalizing an organization which would articulate and aggregate Aro interests worldwide was seriouslycanvassed and passed during one of the conferences. The kind of organization in view is suchthat would have an enduring influence in the life and affairs ofthe kingdom. That Aro is seriously underdeveloped notwithstanding the fame and glory it achieved over a hundred yearsago is not in doubt. The situation, especially the sorry state ofinfra structural development, demands a lot of contributionsfrom all to be reversed. A permanent institution working for the interest of Aro where ever domiciled will harness thethoughts and energies of those at home and those indiaspora towards establishing the kind of society which wasthe envy of even the Europeans before the Aro-Anglo war of1901. A program of events of subsequent conferencesindicating dates, venues, theme, etc could be worked out 10 -20 years ahead. This will make the preparation and organizationeasier apart from sensitizing participants earlyenough. Those who were opportuned to attend any of the past conferenceswould better appreciate the many gaps in planning and the gainsderivable from being more strategic henceforth. Osita di namma…..!
CWEC of NzukoAro … Its time to Raise the Bar
It seems a good time in the life of AANC to raise the bar such that subsequent conferences would benefit from the experiences of the past five editions. And, doing so entails taking some strategic decisions, a few of which am going to highlight here.
One, is setting up AANC Advisory Board where rare minds with institutional memory on our activities, such as the retiring Chair, would ascend to and continue with their good works but in less active ways.
Two, is quickly bringing into existence a digital content of the past five editions of conference materials. Granted that we have an existing book series, Building of the Debris of a Great Past, how many people can access the volumes and what is its reach given the current global knowledge environment. Aro in various parts of the world deserve to know and also have access to what our great minds articulated in the past 24 years as a way of ensuring a greater posterity. Its major role will be to present Aro history and civilization as it is, not as perceived by outsiders, to draw attention to some salient issues in her history which are yet to be successfully resolved by historians, Anthropologists, Sociologists and others and enlighten Aro indigenes that its total development should be a source of concern and challenge to all her citizens both at home and in the diaspora, and not foreigners.
Three, is the need to reverse the seeming non active involvement of Aro youths in AANC activities. The imperatives of modern civilization dictate that youths should be a structural component of most communal programs. In most communities, young people make up the bigger piece of the population which indicates the crucial role they play today. With the number advantage on their side, youngsters could do so much in our communities if properly harnessed. In the very least, engaging the youths in all preparatory activities, such as sub-committee functions, would provide a good learning opportunity for them to take up the baton of leadership when it’s passed over to them. Happily, the National Association of Arochukwu Students (NAAS) and various other youth organizations seem very well organized for the role.
Four, bring to life the permanent institution for aggregating Aro interests which AANC yearn for by tinkering with the constitution of Nzuko Arochukwu to structurally provide for AANC and its terms of reference. By so doing, it will be easy to attract endowments and research grants locally and internationally and AANC shall assume a life of its own and cater for corporate Aro issues in perpetuity. Finally, the sociology of Aro diaspora is very challenging and intriguing given the similarities and dissimilarities that characterize the settlements in various locations. As a result, unique solutions to the challenges they face is required. A typical example is those whose sizesare sufficient to attract government apparatus, such as a local government structure,and those whose sizesare smaller, consequentlyalmost being completely assimilated by their host communities. These differences need to be studied, planned for and assistance strategically provided to ensure that they don’t become completely lost. Identity crisis is the worst sickness that will befall a human being.
Each time I look back at the road we passed through to be here, I keep thanking God who made today possible. At the onset, it looked near impossible given the gaps in planning and preparations and postponement was even contemplated, but to the glory of God we have successfully pulled through. Indeed, as I look around this arena, I see so many great people. These are men and women who have attained greatness by the sacrifices they made for the love of community. I mean those, who by their actions and deeds caused positive changes in the lives of individuals, nay the cause of history of our kingdom. Such men and women have never been in short supply in our environment though, but the challenges of the times raised the stakes and redefined the conditions. Given the certainty of the judgment of history, surely all of you here would be duly credited in due time. Undoubtedly, all is well that ends well. For the Mazi George Ezuma led-exco of Nzuko Arochukwu Worldwide, this is perhaps, a defining moment for your leadership of the community. It is indeed, a watershed as it provides big opportunities for more achievements in your remaining years in office. Indeed, I see some low hanging fruits, as you stand on the threshold of great possibilities. Good luck.
As the Curtin Falls
At the Publicity & Contact Sub-Committee, we recognize the immense support from people we worked in concert with us to discharge our mandate. We continue to savor the honor and privilege of serving Arochukwu in any capacity for the sake of building a community with a strong identity. As the curtail falls on AANC 2020, let us rededicate ourselves to building a proud heritage in Arochukwu, in concert with our brothers and sisters in diaspora. As you depart, let’s remain committed to the goals of the founding fathers of AANC for the benefit of the present and succeeding generations. Let us cultivate the eternal brotherhood of Aro-Okeigbo in thoughts, words and deeds. Ako Bu Ije.
Dr Azubike Okoro, Ugwuaro
Chair, Publicity & Contact, AANC 2020