Aro Day 2023: Arochukwu's Celebratory Tradition Marred by Absence and Political Discontent

Nnadozie Victor

The annual commemoration of Aro Day, held on December 26, 2023, at the customary Arochukwu Civic Center in Oror, took an unexpected poor turqn up during the 2023 Edition, drawing attention to the stark absence of village representatives despite its traditional significance. Led by the President-General of Nzuko Aro, Mazi Nnadozie Udensi, the 2023 edition left many disheartened, prompting introspective conversations and concerns about the event's trajectory.

The notable absence of village contingents at an event traditionally reserved for showcasing Arochukwu's cultural richness piqued the interest of Aro Okeigbo Blog, a leading online media platform in the region. Delving into the underlying causes behind this disheartening turn of events, investigations revealed a palpable undercurrent stemming from the ongoing Eze Aro leadership dispute.

In candid interviews, influential figures such as Eze Agwu, HRH Mazi Okorafor Uroh highlighted the festering discord. HRH Mazi Okorafor Uroh disclosed that the absence of the revered Eze Ibom Isii, HRH Eze Kanu Nwa Kanu, and himself during the Aro Day celebrations was a result of a directive from the Abia State Governor through the President-General of Nzuko Aro. Traditionally, the three Ezes in Arochukwu participate together in events, and the directive for one to abstain meant all three would be absent.

Expressing dismay, HRH Mazi Okorafor Uroh underscored the unprecedented absence of cultural performances from the villages, attributing this departure from tradition to the leadership's shift in focus. He lamented the shift of the Nzuko Aro's elected role towards being a spokesperson for the Governor of Abia State rather than prioritizing their primary role.

The scarcity of people at the event was also highlighted, with assertions that it resulted from a stalemate between the Arochukwu Kingdom and the Governor, Dr. Alex Chioma Otti. This deadlock stemmed from the Governor's reluctance to recognize His Majesty Eze Mazi Godwin Kanu Idei as the rightful crowned king of Arochukwu Kingdom. HRH Mazi Okorafor Uroh emphasized the traditional customs dictating that one cannot assume the throne while their father is still alive, shedding light on the dissatisfaction within the Aro community regarding the Governor's stance.

Further, HRH Mazi Okorafor Uroh condemned the alleged attempt to include Nwamazi Pastor Eberechukwu Oji in the Aro Day brochure as the new Eze Aro, casting aspersions on the political motives behind the move. He urged Governor Alex Chioma Otti to reconsider his position, cautioning that the ongoing impasse might tarnish his reputation within the Arochukwu community.

The sentiments expressed by community leaders and the conspicuous absence of customary cultural displays underscored the deep-seated discord within Arochukwu. The disillusionment over the unresolved Eze Aro dispute and the perceived politicking intertwining with Aro's cultural heritage cast a shadow over the once-unifying Aro Day celebration.

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