Aro group makes pitch for cultural enrichment in Ireland
2015-08-01 13:49:05 -

By Victoria Prince


“When you blend, you become a refined person and a cosmopolite in the positive sense of the word,” says Dan Ochonma.


And blending is exactly the goal of the newly inducted organisation of which he is chair, Nzuko Aro Okeigbo Ireland.


The representative group for Aro people in Ireland held its inaugural event over the 4 July weekend, officially becoming a part of its parent organisation Nzuko Aro Okeigbo Worldwide.


The Aro people originate from south-eastern Nigeria, and are now settled across the globe. Nzuko Aro Okeigbo Worldwide has approximately two million members in places such as the United States, the UK, Italy and Germany.


“Aro people are noted for their enterprising spirit, be it in the field of business or academia,” says Ochonma. “They are hard-working, they are business-oriented, they are diplomatic. Always on the move and upwardly mobile. That’s why the Arochukwus are settled in almost all nooks and crannies of eastern part of Nigeria, including Rivers State.” 


It’s this drive that has now brought them to Ireland, he says, adding that he hopes Nzuko Aro Okeigbo Ireland will provide a platform for social and cultural integration.


By organising, he believes, Ireland’s Aro will be able to blend in socially and culturally, and to not simply “disappear” into Irish culture. The group’s goal is instead to try and find a middle ground “through acculturation”.


The end result, it appears, is to “marry” these two thriving cultures and allow for a smoother integration for Aro children who are born and raised in Ireland, as well as accommodating the social needs of members in general.


Ochonma has nothing but praise for the richness of Aro culture, and hopes “to show [Irish] people we are activists, rich in culture. We are not a liability, we are full of ideas.”


Nzuko Aro Okeigbo Ireland also looks to support integration on all fronts, whether in politics, sports or social. But doing so, says Ochonma, will require “give and take” between the Aro and Irish people.

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