Every dojo I've visited has taught weapons radically differently. Each dojo has introduced the weapons at a different level. Each dojo meant very different things when they said that 'weapons are important to AiKiDo.' At some dojos, it seemed that the instructors saw the weapons as central to learning the art; at other dojos, they saw it as being largely peripheral like a little bit of spice to pepper up the training.
I don't see any reason not to accept all of these perspectives as valid revealing different aspects of what AiKiDo can be and allowing each dojo to excel in different ways.