NZUKO AROCHUKWU MEN'S WING: THE UP-COMING GENERAL ELECTION AND THE THINGS WE NEED TO KNOW
MAZI EMMA KANU IVI (OGENEUKWU)
Nzuko Arochukwu as now constituted came into existence in 1981 when the legend late Eze Aro, Mazi Kanu Oji, CFR, urged the Aro people (umuaro) to come together under one umbrella named Nzuko Arochukwu, structured into two wings, namely: Nzuko Arochukwu Men's wing and Nzuko Arochukwu Women's wing with each wing having its own separate National Executives and Branch networks.
The two wings are relatively independent but they were structured to co-operate with each other under one national constitution. The formation of Nzuko Arochukwu as a main umbrella union of hitherto many Aro unions that existed before then was aimed at stopping the unhealthy rivalry that was existing among the various groupings, such as Aro Union, Aro League, Aro Youths, etc.
Such unhealthy rivalry was impacting negatively to the Peace, progress and development of Aro kingdom and her people. Arochukwu Joint Action Committee (AJAC) headed by Mazi (Dr) Sam Nwangoro was formed to midwife the birthing of the new Nzuko Arochukwu. And the birthing was very successful and peaceful.
The Men's wing of Nzuko Arochukwu held its first general election in December 1981. Mazi Emmanuel Okorafor (Avonta) (from Obinkita, resident in Lagos, was elected President General, Mazi Col Antony Okoro Eze (rtd), first Vice President General and Mazi Ukwu Udonsi, Secretary General. They did well as a team; they initiated many laudable programs and ensured peace in the kingdom. But they stayed in office for too long, about eleven good years (1981 - 1991) and bowed out in honor.
In December 1991, another general election of Nzuko Aro was held; the following leaders among others were duly elected: Mazi Ukwu Udonsi (from Ujari, a top civil servant resident in Umuahia), President General, Mazi Emma Kanu Ivi, 1st Vice President General and Mazi Sam I Ohuabunwa, Secretary General. They served for five years in total as the tenure of their first term was only two years. But the tenure of their second term was increased to three years following the new Nzuko Aro constitution that took effect from 18th day of April 1992. And so their two terms of five years spanned from December 1991 to December 1996. They did well and were very successful.
On 26th December1996 another general election was peacefully conducted. The following emerged successful: Mazi Sam I Ohuabunwa (from Atani, resident in Lagos), President General, Mazi Rowland Igwe, 1st Vice President General and Mazi Dave Imoko, Secretary General. They did well and were also successful. They served for six years in two terms of three years tenure each (1996 to December 2003).
As usual, on 26th December 2003, another new general election was held and the following were also peacefully elected: Mazi Emma Kanu Ivi (from Asaga, resident in Lagos), President General, Mazi Elder Nnamdi Udo, 1st Vice President General and Dr Alex Ekubo Okwaraeke, Secretary General. They did very well and were also successful.
On 31st December, 2009, after a very successful two terms tenure that spanned December 2003 to December 2009, the Mazi Emma Kanu Ivi led Executives honorably stepped down in line with the constitution to allow for another election to elect new Executives. From the inception of Nzuko Aro in 1981, the Men's wing general elections had always been held in December of any year of its general election peacefully, without violence, until the general election of 31st December 2009 which was marred by “some thugs” and violence introduced by some aspirants.
From that day Arochukwu started experiencing public violence in Nzuko Aro elections. So many strange things that had never happened before in the history of the people and Nzuko Aro happened. Some youths armed with guns and machetes roamed the election venue at the civic center. They posed as voters and ready to vote even though most of them were not qualified to vote.
Immediately Mazi Emma Kanu Ivi's led Executives team honorably stepped down, the thugs most likely hired by some leadership aspirants hijacked the election proceedings. They violently intimidated people and chased away the national patrons whose constitutional duty it is to conduct general elections. Most of the patrons ran for their dear life.
The "thugs" and their collaborators took over the arena and 'conducted illegal elections upon which they declared Mazi Nnamdi Udo 'winner’. They quickly led him and the other 'purported elected officers' to the palaces of Eze Ibom Isii and Eze Ezeagwu respectively to present them to the two kindred Ezes as ‘their new Executives of Nzuko Aro'.
That was very strange to Nzuko Aro; that action became the very first open declaration of kindred leanings in any Nzuko Aro general elections since its inception. Crisis ensued everywhere in the town. A Nigerian soldier sadly lost his life at Obinkita village that same day by unknown 'ekpo' masquerade. That also took Arochukwu to the bad image side of both national and international news. A lot of efforts were made by some Aro patriots at home and in Dispora to control the situations and save Arochukwu.
However the result of that violent ridden / illegal election was eventually declared void and cancelled by the national patrons of Nzuko Aro Men's wing. Three senior patrons: Prof Oji Umozurike (now late), Prof Okoro Ijoma and Col Anthony Okoro Eze (rtd) were visibly disturbed by the incidents of that day. In their wisdom and with consultation with both Eze Aro and me (Mazi Ivi) as the outgoing President General, they quickly setup a six man transition administration comprising Mazi Dave Imoko as Chiarman, Mazi Anicho Okoro, Secretary, Mazi Rowland Igwe and Mazi Ohuabunwa as members with a clear mandate to work with Mazi Emma Kanu Ivi and Mazi Alex Ekubo to ensure that conducive environment was made possible for the patrons to conduct a peaceful general elections by the next Easter Saturday of 3rd April 2010; the very actual day Mazi Ivi led Executives were originally billed to hand over to any duly elected new Executives.
The usual practice of Nzuko Aro Men's wing after the 1992 constitution has always been to hold its general election in December of its election year and do a proper hand over to any new elected Executives by the outgoing Executives on Easter Saturday of the following year. It is called a transition period and it lasts for about three months.
The Mazi Dave Imoko's transition administration did its work very well. The national patrons were given their constitutional right to conduct the election. They took adequate control and conducted the general election on the 3rd April 2010 that elected: Mazi Nnamdi Udo (from Ibom, resident in Lagos), President General, Barr Steve Amaramiro, 1st Vice President General and Mazi Ernie Onwumere, Secretary General. Mazi Ivi's outgoing Executives did a marvelous work as they ably handed over to the incoming Executives on that same election-day.
In addition, Mazi Emma Kanu Ivi distributed to the new national Executives, Nzuko Aro Branches, ndi-Ezes and all and sundry his "Account of Stewardship" well captured in a colorful book containing about 280 pages that detailed out his stewardship accounts as President General of Nzuko Aro (2003 -2009).
The thugs that disrupted the general election of December 2009 were not allowed to participate in the 3rd of April 2010 rescheduled election. But still, another strange and equally evil thing happened in the night of that 3rd April 2010. Mazi Chike Okoro, a prominent peaceful Aro man, was violently kidnapped by some unknown Aro men. That was the first kidnap attempt in Arochukwu.
The rest is now a history. Since then, Nzuko Aro (both men and women wings) have suffered a lot, from one crisis to another. Why? May be “when the foundation is faulty what can the righteous do?" Now December 2015 will mark six years the immediate past leadership left office, even though it handed over on Easter Saturday of 3rd April 2010 in line with the normal practice of Nzuko Aro.
The next general election is rightly expected to be due in this December 2015 as has been the normal practice. But a lot of issues must be properly addressed to ensure that the upcoming general election is not marred again with crisis and violence as was in 2009.
The current Executives ended its first term in December 2012; they were returned "unopposed" even though some believed the house was not then properly dissolved. Their second term should rightly end December 2015. But it is been widely rumoured that the President General had said that the general election would not hold in December 2015 but on 2016 Easter Saturday.
Now it is important that the Men's wing takes proper action to avoid confusion on any matter relating to the upcoming general election. It may be necessary for the President General, in consultations with senior national patrons -the trustees, calls a special stakeholders meeting of the wing to quickly iron out the actual election date and also clarify all other issues relating to the next election.
The following other relevant issues may need to be properly addressed and agreed upon at such meeting which should hold before the next general election date. For people need to know in advance who are qualified to vote and be voted for among other issues as detailed below:
1). Our constitution makes it clear that only the financial up to date members shall vote and be voted for and they must be members of their respective Branches. Branches that have people to be voted for should recommend such members and include them in their official list of delegates.
2). Participation at the elections shall be by duly appointed delegates.
3). Delegates shall be appointed by the financial up to date Branches only
4). No village in Arochukwu for several years now is financial up to date in Nzuko Aro Men's wing affairs. And so no village is qualified to nominate delegates for the upcoming election. All the villages for many years now are merged into one Home Branch. The Home Branch may qualify to nominate its delegates based on proper Aro structure.
5). Not all the Branches may be qualified as at now to nominate delegates. But it is important that all the registered Branches who desire to nominate delegates (those to vote and be voted for), be given special opportunity to pay up their financial obligations, certainly before the election-day. Any branch that fails to meet up with its financial obligations to the center may be denied the right to send in delegates or participate.
6). Branches are graded as A, B or C. Category "A" Branches consists of Aba, Abakaliki, Abuja, Arochukwu, Enugu, Lagos, Owerri, Port Harcourt, and Umuahia. Category "B" Branches include Afikpo, Awka, Calabar, Jos, Kaduna, Kano, Nsukka, Ohafia, Onitsha, Oyigbo, Umuoba, Warri and Yola. While Category "C" are Ibadan, Maiduguri, Markurdi, Nnewi and Okigwe.
The number of delegates for each category shall be as specified in the constitution. Category "A" branch has 7, "B" has 5 and "C" has 3 member delegates respectively. Only the financially up to date Branches shall send in delegates based on the number of their grade category. All the delegates may be accredited by senior national patrons whose duty it is to conduct general elections. The accreditation may be made latest a day before the general election date.
Only 12 national patrons are provided for in the constitution. Anything above that number should be amended accordingly. The present Executives and the stakeholders should come together and take proper decisions / actions that will help eliminate the use of thugs by any aspirants and stop unqualified persons from posing as delegates at the election arena.
All these recommendations may actually help ensure that Nzuko Aro Men' wing has a credible and peaceful election this time around. We can't afford any crisis in the Men's wing any more. The bad blood already generated in the system all these years by the poor handling of the Women's wing general election matters should serve as a huge lesson to the Aro.
The aspirants and their supporters should know that leadership in Nzuko Aro is purely a call for service to the people and not for any personal aggrandizement. We need peace in Aro kingdom. There is a lot of work to do. And so Nzuko Aro needs men with pedigree, capability, credibility, exposure, the right contacts at top levels and fear of God to lead us and move Arochukwu forward. No mediocrity.