Azubike OkoroOn behalf of the editorial board, I bring you compliments at this auspicious moment of the debut of Aro News Online. This journey actually commenced 20 years ago when my team noted the gap in the area of discourse, dialogue, information dissemination and understanding in Aro kingdom and moved quickly to close it using the platform of Aro News Newspaper and its sister publication, the book series. The outing of Aro News was therefore, largely a response to multiple issues of conflict and dissension which characterized Aro society at the time. Our objective was to provide a platform through which common sentiments could be articulated and expressed.  And, to start the process of committing to record the history, culture and traditions of Arochukwu people for the present and future generations. Of course, it was obvious to us that development occurs primarily in the mind of man and that knowledge is the foundation which propels other developmental values. By implication, unless the mind is tidy and prepared, it will lack the ability to harness other resources.

Eighteen years on, what’s the experience like. Indeed, it is both historic and extraordinary. It has been 20 years of community service via the medium of print journalism. So much resources and sacrifice went into the unparalleled success that we see today. The challenges were sometimes enormous, threatening to abort the dream; nonetheless, we thank God for making it a most rewarding experience in the service of our dear community. The debut of Aro News sparked off the reawakening of interest and learning in Aro history and civilization to a near renaissance level. It encourages the networking of Aro Diaspora by reporting news and development from such places. It fosters the atmosphere of love, trust, service and understanding. After a long absence of a similar opportunity, there is now a dialectical framework and premise for the articulation of our common problems and their solutions.

Apparently, the challenge of our past remains the challenge of our present time and the future. So even as Aro News prepares to celebrate two decades of unbroken community journalism; we are determined not to rest on our oars. Rather, we strongly felt the need to contend with and redress the anomaly whereby a historic town such as Arochukwu does not have a website which less privileged communities boast of. In this day and age, we cannot excuse ourselves from such neglect. Therefore, having successfully managed the hard copy publication for 20 years, we are determined to take the stake a notch higher by launching Aro kingdom into the cyber world as a further commitment to motherland. The quantum of intellectual resources on Arochukwu society which we garnered in the last 20 years evidently gives us a head start on this project more than any other group, so we are not prepared to waste the opportunity. This project will, definitely, uplift Arochukwu even higher given the present information technology environment. It aims to provide global platform for strategic contacts, business development, youth and social empowerment; galvanize support and generate revenue for projects, etc.

Given the realities of our current circumstances, Aro, to say the least, is standing on the threshold of great possibilities. We envisioned, said so and took a decision 20 years ago by floating the print edition and we have been proven right. I therefore, enjoin all to take a positive decision today so as to make this new platform a reality for the sake of greater posterity. On the editorial board, our role is to create a bridge between those who have the relevant resources, intellectual and material, to develop our community and others who may be in possession of such resources in a form that needs to be harnessed. Our team remains the same excellent group, drawn from diverse backgrounds. Our hope is that in the months and years ahead, this virile group will expand. In a special way, I salute our benefactors, associates/partners who are convinced of the need for this project and the editorial board who are persuaded of its relevance and worked relentlessly to see to its successful take-off. Most importantly, I thank our equity partner, Aro News Publications Ltd, for implicit confidence in the ability of our team to live up to expectations. To all of you, we owe a lot of gratitude.

Finally, we invite all umu-aro, individually and as groups, to avail themselves of the great opportunity presented by this medium to publicize their activities and create better awareness and understanding of their programs. In particular, we call on all umu-aro overseas and those at settlements in Nigeria, social clubs, village associations, age-grades, student bodies, religious and business groups, unions and societies, socio-cultural institutions and individuals who might require our service to count on us to put them and their activities to public recognition. Our consummate ambition is to create an interactive forum for umu-aro globally. This philosophy is paramount to us so as President; I shall do my best to uplift the standard to justify the expectations of the public. God willing, we shall succeed, so I invite you to join us today.

Azubike Okoro, M.Sc., MSHR, DBA