Confusion In Arochukwu As IkejiAro Festival Proceeded With Two Different Calendars

Nnadozie Victor

The 2023 IkejiAro celebrations initially faced a dilemma due to the emergence of two conflicting event calendars. Traditionally, a calendar outlining the cultural activities for the festival is released several months in advance, serving as a guide for the Aros at home and in Diaspora communities. This year, one calendar was released and signed by Ojeozi Arianzu Aro, Mazi Augustine Okoro, with support from Mazi Kanu Okereke Kanu, Eze Ibom Isii, and Mazi Okorafor Uror, Eze Ezeagwu.

However, just a few days after the release of the first calendar, a second calendar began to circulate, this time signed by Mazi Oji Kanu Oji, the former Arianzu Aro, with the backing of Umu Otusi. This discrepancy raised concerns and threatened to disrupt the initially released calendar.

Promptly, prominent figures such as Sir Dozie Udensi, President-General of Nzuko Arochukwu, and other key members of the Aro community stepped in to resolve the issue and persuade the backers of the second calendar to withdraw it. Initially, their efforts seemed to hit a dead-end, as the camp of Mazi Oji Kanu Oji insisted that their calendar was the authentic one, following traditional requirements specific to Ogugu Ikeji.

The core of the dispute lay in the calculation of the festival's date. The first calendar adhered to one tradition, while the second claimed to follow another, indicating that Ikeji Aro should occur after the neighboring Ututu community's celebration.

The issue of the two calendar during the 2023 Ikeji Aro activities raised concerns among Umu Aros on the possibility of having two different  celebrations on one event, an unprecedented situation. Additionally, both calendars specified different dates for significant events, such as Afor Okpo Ga Aza Awada and Eke Ekpe Aro.

Numerous efforts were made, including peace initiatives and meetings of various Aro groups, but a conclusive resolution remained elusive. Nzuko Aro, the organization responsible for organizing the festival, opted to proceed with preparations based on the first calendar, extending invitations to dignitaries and promoting the event. Both parties remained firm in their positions.

In conclusion, it is crucial that the relevant authorities step in and facilitate a resolution to this matter. We strongly urge these governing bodies to bring both parties together, foster a comprehensive understanding of their individual concerns, and work collaboratively to find a lasting solution. As of the time of making this report, the Ikeji Festival has already taken place, and it is a relief that the conflicting calendars did not disrupt the festivities. This experience highlights the importance of effective coordination for future celebrations to avoid such confusion and ensure the unity of the Aro community.

The Below is the two different calendars used in celebrating the 2023 Ikeji Aro Festival.

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