Iyom Aro Election Crisis: Modernity has its Limits

Azubike Okoro

In September 2013 (Ikeji edition) this column was devoted to three issues, two of which were considered critical to the corporate interests of Arochukwu kingdom. Am constrained to revisit one of those issues in less than one year because of its importance to the wellbeing of umu-aro. The caption of the article in question was “Nzuko Aro & Iyom: Between Politics & Patriotism” and it began with a popular proverb of my late uncle, Mazi Sam Okereke which goes as follows “if you wrestle with an armature wrestler, the most likely consequence is that both of you will have sand all over your bodies”. My simple interpretation of that wise saying was that in such a contest, it won’t be easy to ascertain a winner outright. While noting that the complexities associated with knowing the truth in the women’s wing election crisis was not made easier by the motley of interests associated with it, i ended with words of caution as follows – “certainly, this state of affairs call for patriotism rather than politics”. The events of the last few days and weeks have clearly revealed that we have not made progress on this matter. At the second meeting of Nzuko Aro, Abuja Branch, which held in February 2014, the chairman briefed the house on the decisions that were taken at the central executive committee meeting of Nzuko Arochukwu that held at Abakaliki, including the proposal to hold fresh election for the Iyom wing slated for April during the Easter. Some members were privileged to be shown a letter authoring Nzuko Aro exco by the palace to take necessary measures to finalize on the women election matter.

While some members felt that the letter was not specific enough on the directive, many, including myself, took it in good faith especially if it was going to bring about the peace that has eluded us for a while. After the meeting, barrister Nelson Orji, barrister Nwankwo Udonsi and i briefly discussed the issue further and came to the conclusion that giving the patrons of the Iyom wing leading role in the proposed election was a sine quanon for a peaceful resolution of the festering crisis. And we departed the meeting venue with the best thoughts for our dear community on the issue. You can therefore, imagine my disbelief and consternation when mails popped up in my inbox, including those supposedly written and signed by His Royal Majesty and a hand-written and scanned one also supposedly signed by the royal assistant. Whereas the letter dated 24th March, 2014 and purportedly signed by the royal assistant invited patrons of both wings to a reconciliation meeting on the women issue at Enugu on Saturday April 12, 2014 on behalf of the monarch, another letter written on 28 March, 2014 and supposedly endorsed by His Royal Majesty disowned the earlier letter and directed that the notice of election of the women’s wing scheduled by the president-general and secretary-general of Nzuko Arochukwu in their memo of 5th March, 2014 be cancelled. However, most discomforting was the content of the mail supposedly written by the Aro monarch which denied previous memos and directives allegedly given to Nzuko Aro by the palace on the iyom matter. As far as am concerned, this matter has gotten to its ugliest part because modernity has its limits. I arrived at this conclusion because after the Ikeji 2013 edition of the forerunner was published, many folks that read the article responded to my views via phone calls. However, some expressed the opinion that if only I had the benefit of knowledge of the contents of the Nzuko Aro constitution, my views on the matter would have been quite different. To be honest, i was subsequently offered a brand new copy of the constitution during the Ekekpe ceremony at Amaikpe and I gladly accepted it, if only to assist me truly understand the issues at stake from the stand point of the code. Apparently the constitution was recommended to me because I had in September 2013 while commenting on the issue argued as follows:

A school of thought believe that what emanated from the seat of power (on the iyom election issue) is not ‘all the truth’, another opine that any exco elected outside Arochukwu is flawed as it runs counter to the provisions of Nzuko Aro constitution while another calls all the above falsity. Whose report shall we believe? I see two options in resolving this impasse – the constitution and the throne. Does the constitution contain explicit provisions pertaining to election venue or is it mere practice? What is the position of the throne on this matter? Beyond these two, it’s important for elected officials to avoid actions that could portray them as being partisan on issues of common interest. Otherwise, their integrity will be doubtful”

During the Nzuko Aro, Abuja Branch meeting on April 6, 2014 a member requested for an update on the iyom issue but none was available. Meanwhile, many members were in possession of the memos on the matter whose authors are, at best, suspect. Who wants to bring Nzuko Aro at loggerhead with the throne and whose interest is being served by not allowing elected officials to perform their duties? Again, are there forces that want to ridicule the throne at all cost? For whatever this matter is worth, both in oral and written history, am not aware of the Aro throne being brought into a mundane issue as this. I therefore, strongly believe that it’s no longer a matter of what the constitution says or otherwise because even before any written code was invented Aro existed and efficiently and effectively managed its affairs. Every society has its cream of elites, both traditional and modern, and they are entrusted with the responsibility to determine and direct members towards the path of honor. Where are Aro’s elites and why are things being allowed to gravitate towards collective social suicide? Indeed, modernity has its limits.

About author

Azubike Okoro

Mazi Azubike Okoro holds two Master’s degrees - Sociology and Human Resource Management- and a Doctorate of Management of Argosy University, Chicago, USA. A Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Personnel Management of Nigeria and the Nigeria Institute of Management; he is Member, the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) USA and the International Society for Performance Improvement (ISPI), USA. Currently a Director at the Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC), he founded Aro News in 1997 to encourage research on the culture, history and civilization of the Arochukwu nation. Also, he was the pioneer Publisher/Editor-in-Chief. Dr. Okoro is married with children and resides at Abuja, Nigeria.

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