After reading through this thread, it is becoming clear to me that how each individual learns, may dictate whether or not they find weapon practice useful.
We all learn in different ways, the classic example seen in this thread is when one person says that after years of weapon practice and then a change to mostly empty hand techniques, his techniques improved. Another person said that only after a change from pure empty hand to introduction to weapons did his aikido improve. So who is right? Both men. They trained in a way that allowed them to make the most sense of aikido in regards to their personal learning styles.
So I think the debate on whether weapons should be included in aikido training is not so black and white.
Perhaps if it works for you, so be it.
If you want to put weapons into the syllabus for historical context, fine.
If weapons seem pointless for your trainng, well that is fine too.
Do what you must to better your aikido - with or without weapons
Just a thought.