By NBF News
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If you have a discussion with Elder Nnamdi Udoh, you will easily find out a burning zeal in him above all else about his identity. The engineer and administrator on air safety who just turned 50 is identity conscious to say the least. Maybe, that is the trait his people saw in him to elevate him to the position of the custodian of the fate of the entire Aro people of Abia State and beyond.

As a director with the NAMA, a major aviation sub-sector, he has a daunting schedule at work, yet, he added extra burden of the leadership of his people to that task. That is a sign of how passionate he is about his people.

But he told Saturday Sun that he did not just come to the throne of the President General of Nzuko Aro by chance. For over 12 years, he had walked the lane of that leadership mantle until it clicked at last. In those grooming years, he served in several capacities under the past leaders until it was his time to be at the fore.

Elder Udoh laces his discussions with his native Aro clichés and adages and would side step to make emphasis on the greatness of his people and the undying and unique qualities of the larger Igbo nation but for which they would have fizzled into oblivion.

And he asked: 'What would the Igbo have been without the spirit to excel at all times and the zeal never to be put down. We should not bemoan our fate of government abandoning us to fend for ourselves over these years. The Igbo world is undergoing training for greater heights in the future and only such travails made great nations what they are today. Travails made the US the greatest they are today. Resilience lifted the blacks of US to a height they occupy today. If they had given up in the face of daunting realities, they would have been left in the dark tracks of history and would not have produced the president of US today. Igbo takes care of itself.

It is painful, but is painfully gainful because these have made us what we are and what we would be which people would not really envisage today. Without us building our schools, hospitals, electricity, roads, markets etc. who would have done it for, and how would we have recovered from the devastations of the war that took us back hundreds of years. Let the Igbo not grudge about what it faces and do more for greater heights on the way for them. It is our lot and we are proud we hold that forth creditably. When we grow and expand, nobody will be bold to face us and take the glory apart form us because God created us to take care of ourselves.'

Udoh said it is the same understanding and zest he has for his identity that made him not shy away from the burdensome task of leading the Aro people. 'I am not the best or oldest among my people, but I no doubt has the right frame of mind to stand in the gap for them. We have a team of good and devoted lovers of Aro who make up the executive body. That body is endowed with professionals in their sectors and they are competent to take Aro to higher heights and that is a resolve we have worn on our neck.'

He charges Nd'Igbo and indeed the Aro to galvanize their efforts and have a stronger unifying body and platforms to come stronger and better.

His task mainly in the saddle is to 'recreate the enviable Aro identity, the old value system that made our people do exploits in their contribution to the development of the Igbo world in many areas. The Aro man had value for pride, honour, wealth, reputation and unity of purpose as he also did for brotherly love. Time and space made some of these shift from the centre of focus they used to occupy and we need to bring them back because the same gains of these pivot factors that led our fathers would direct and guide us today still.

'Our people have their objects of peculiarity like the omu Aro, ikeji, the long juju as the white man called it and some other attributes that set us out among others as catalysts of positive change. Today, we want to pass these things through the sieve of time and sort the chaff from the grains. In those areas our festivities connoted idolatry, we would refine to accommodate the Almighty God and His glory - like the ikeji and other celebrations.

'As we do these, we make sure our youths are part of it to imbibe the tenets of our pride and identity. The Nzuko under our watch is out to empower the youths to be more useful to the society through education, skills acquisition and awareness and leadership by example. It is our promise that they will not find us wanting in giving them the right examples they have to live with. 'And to make sure that that works, I have designed a delegated system of managing the affairs of the people. And when we would hold the ikeji this year, it will be a forum, the usual Igbo way, to raise fund to further the development of our people through infrastructure provision.

We had done it in the past and won't relent now. We built our hospitals, schools, LG councils, college of education and many others and we have not given up.

'Year 2012 will be a time for re-assessment on how far we have accomplished our goals to contribute to the better Aro society, an obligation we owe the people. That will be at the commemoration of the 110 years of the Aro invasion by the white man in 1902. That was a setback we suffered but it has been turned to a rallying point for our people today.'

He is upbeat that the moves of his exco have been the best for the people and yielded the right results especially in the security of the clan and the people. 'Our security system is like community policing, and it has worked wonderfully. With our neighbourhood watch arrangement where everyone is part of the apparatus, our people have lived in peace in collaboration with the police of course. A good instance was a recent kidnap attempt that was foiled by the people and we made sure the people involved face the law.' Elder Udoh says the people have the right to expect pragmatic service from him and his team in the days and years ahead with their plans already expertly laid out.