Arondizuogu is a conglomeration of people from different parts of Ibo land. The town was founded by Mazi Izuogu Mgbokpo who came from Amankwu village in Arochukwu. Mazi Izuogu and Mazi Iheme are credited for the growth of Arondizuogu today.
Arondizuogu still maintains its ties to Arochukwu and it is the biggest Aro settlement outside Arochukwu. Arochukwu is the home of Ibinu Ukpabi – the Long Juju of Aro. Arondizuogu maintains the culture that the Aro people are known for. Ekpe na mboko which remains the highest Aro cult is still very prominent as men proudly join the cult while the women continue to join Iyamba. Arondizuogu is perhaps better known for its celebration of Ikeji Festival every April. It is regarded as the cultural center of Nigeria and Imo State. Its Ikeji Festival attracts visitors from all over the world. Arondizuogu is the proud home of Chief Pericomo Okoye (Mezuo) known as the Traditional Prime Minister and the leading masquerade (juju) musician in the country. Click IKEJI for more information on this ancient culture.
Arondizuogu is in three local government areas in Imo State namely – Ideato North, Okigwe, and Onu Imo. The political zoning of Arondizuogu is in what you should know about Arondizuogu. This has presented challenges on how to effectively run the affairs of the town under divided leadership.
Traditionally, Arondizuogu was governed by Eze Awa, Eze Uche, and Eze Iheme. Iheme is a major clan within Arondizuogu that is secondary only to the Izuogu clan. Awa and Uche are the direct sons of Izuogu Mgbokpo. Due to the mishap of history, there is still debate on which one of them has the full rights as Eze Izuogu. To avoid potential conflicts in this debate, both Eze Awa and Eze Uche are equally recognized as the traditional leaders of the town.
An important culture in the Igbo community is the presentation of kola nut. In Igbo land, it is a symbol of welcome to a visitor. It is the tradition or norm to offer kola nut to a guest or visitor if that guest is welcomed. To the Igbos, kola nut means a whole lot. It is often said that the Yorubas cultivate kola nut, the Hausas eat kola nut, and the Igbos worship kola nut. The order of presentation of kola nut varies from one Igbo community to another. In Arondizuogu, presentation of kola nut within the community is often referred as Icho Oji where Oji is the Igbo word for kola nut. It travels from a younger village to the older villages. The oldest village present in the occasion gets the honor to bless the kola nut while the youngest village present gets to break it up and pass it around to everyone. The hierarchy followed in presenting the kola nut is the same order given for the villages.
The Aros everywhere are still much in tuned to their old-age culture at their home base Arochukwu. High in this is the initiation of male Aros in the Ekpe na Mboko society. Ekpe na Mboko can be traced to the old colonial Ibibio, Calabar, and Efik axis that are neighbors to Arochukwu. This old age cult has survived even in the presence of Christianity.To be initiated into Ekpe and Mboko, one has to have a distinguished character. The Ekpes are usually called on to deliberate on sensitive matters in the community because of their perceived honesty and sincerity. To belong to Ekpe na Mboko one has to undertake to be honest and sincere in dealing with others. There is no age requirement and fathers can join their younger sons. Ekpe na Mboko permeates other Igbo-speaking areas in the old Bende division such as Abba, Item, Abiriba, and Ohafia. It does not matter where one joins Ekpe, you can participate in any Ekpe activity. The major regalia for Ekpe is known as Ukara Ekpe. The female equivalent of Ekpe is known as Iyamba. Wives of Ekpe members are free to join this group. The rules for joining Ekpe society has been relaxed in recent times. Ekpe is not a cult and does not involve in rituals. Ekpe has occasionally, been used to maintain law and order in lawless and leaderless communities.
The proliferation of autonomous communities created by the state government has created many leaders who may or may not be traditional leaders by right. This has created more confusion and has to some extent, weakened the traditional leadership. There are currently, several autonomous communities in Arondizuogu with their own Ezes and there are also few communities within the town seeking for autonomy. Those communities currently have Eze-elects who are not yet given the staff of office.
Arondizuogu has two community secondary schools – National High School and Iheme Grammar School, one community hospital – Mbonu Ojike Memorial Hospital, and several Health Centers including the OGB Memorial Health Center that was recently completed by APU NCNA.
There are 19 villages in Arondizuogu and some of the villages are duplicated in different communities. The town has observed only limited government development in terms of infrastructure, roads, water and electricity. Most of the development are based on community efforts. Thus some communities have managed to drill boreholes, bring in power supply, develop roads and bridges, build schools and community health centers, by levying and taxing members of the community.
The town like most Igbo communities observe four-day week which revolve around the markets namely Oye, Afor, Nkwo, and Eke. Likewise, many of the major masquerade markets are subsequently named as Nkwo Achi, Nkwo Father, Eke Aniche Uwakonye, Nkwo Ndubisi, and Nkwo Ogbuonyeoma.