AROCHUKWU WOMEN AND SOCIETAL CHANGE, 1970-2010
This study on Arochukwu women and societal change argues that Aro Women played a pivotal role in the infrastructural, economic, social and political transformation of Arochukwu, a society once dominated by men before the outbreak of the Nigerian Civil War. The impact of the Nigerian Civil War in Arochukwu was severe. The town witnessed massive infrastructural decay and loss of human population mostly of the male population. This situation was also prevalent in other parts of Igboland. The study using a qualitative method, based on oral tradition, written sources and other available evidence, argues that even though Aro society is purely a patrilineal society, the impact of the Nigerian Civil War on Arochukwu brought a change in its societal and organizational structure to the degree that Aro women were repositioned from the subservient position they had occupied to a more complementary position with men. Suffice it to say that thips resulted into a series of rapid transformation and a total restructuring of a society that was once bedeviled with loss of human population and infrastructural decay. Aro women did not only transform Arochukwu, they also controlled and dominated the economy – agriculture, commerce, traditional industries, health and education sectors, as well as setting the ethical and moral standard of the society. All these activities helped in the strengthening of inter group relations between the Aro and her Igbo and non-Igbo neigbours after the war. This work also explored how Aro women wielded political power in Arochukwu, the kind of structures and agencies that enabled them accomplish all they did especially under Nzuko Inyom Aro. The study examined the various resistance and protests made by women in reaction to certain policies of the local and state governments. Profiles of some Aro women who played leading roles were reviewed as a result of the relevant contributions they made in the development of Aro society. The importance of this study lies in the fact that no academic study of Aro women had been undertaken.