* Food is supplus
*Electricity is 70%
*So many “control”
I am not a travel and tourism blogger but my stay in the Eastern part of Nigeria, Owerri Imo State to be precise and the experiences I had cannot be waved. It was an interesting experience.
I haven’t traveled out of Lagos to the East before so I am so used to the hustle and bustle of the Nigerian ‘Mega City’ as we love to call it now, that makes me believed way of life is the same across Nigeria in term of food, accommodation, transportation, electricity supply, sense of reasoning, corporation, love for culture and etc. All these above-mentioned and more are things I was exposed to in totally different manner, and I asked myself am I still in Nigeria?
I took to my Facebook personal account, check-in to the State and captioned “Still in my country but I feel like I am in a different world”.
Note: this is not an appraisal for any government administration or party or State or tribe but it is an eye opener, an encouragement, and my suggestion to people about how I think we should live as a civilized citizens in this age of civilization that is all about gathering wealth without killing eachother with greed. Although, there are some points listed below that shouldn’t be encouraged e.g “Control”.
Back to my story, for the first time in many years I experienced a customer service that comes with a smile from a small scale supermarket owner with no sign of hypocrisy for sales and i asked myself why? The answer I got was
1). She has a big store loaded with goods for sale.
2). Despite her store being next to a shopping mall she still make steady sales.
3). She spend less on generator mentanance and fuel.
Which brings me to my next point. Electricity in Owerri where I stay is constant. Here I missed PHCN worship chant of ‘up NEPA’ that rings to my eyes like phone call alert whenever PHCN turn on the light in Lagos after few or many hours of black out. In Owerri if electricity goes off in 5 minutes it is back so I guess that makes the ‘ up NEPA’ chant irrelevant in Owerri and I tell myself if this is possible in Owerri it can be made possible all over Nigeria. “This means hope”.
Speaking of lifestyle, I didn’t see much of struggles on the street like Lagos where every morning you must see one or two people arguing over one thing or the other on the street, I would say that’s because Lagos is so congested while Owerri is not (you can check the city population statistics on Google). Owerri people have good taste of fashion, they always dress to kill at all times making there male and female youth looks so beautifully attractive.
Although, the city is still developing but the house structures and shop designs are almost the same as Lekki and mainland common man kinds of structure. A friend once told me Owerri is a land of spending money but now that have been there I think it is also a land of making money if you know what to do to get the money out of people’s pocket because there is money in Owerri. There are many small company product in Owerri than the big ones. During all my stay in Owerri I didn’t see Val-u bread or Butterfield and the likes. What are available are Chinweuba bread, Chinedu butter bread, bread cake, bread doughnuts etc compare to all the big name bread we consume in Lagos.
Coming to kind of cars, they drive around in luxury cars too just like the lagosians and live in big buildings. Unlike Lagos where people’s choice is Toyota Imo state big boys cruise in Lexus. It seems Lexus car is a symbol of social status level in Imo State judging by the calibre of people that uses the brand car in the city of ”Eastern heart land”
Life in Imo city is fun as there are local fast food, drinks and Pepe soup joints in strategic corners with Sharwama and snacks outlet schaterred all over the city.
Yes! Owerri is a fun place but not for a lazy man.
Food business is one of the most thriving business in Imo State. At Ikenegbu where I lodged, it was amazing how different set of food sellers will set up their stands at specific hours of the day and they will all went back home with empty coolers.
Some will resume at 8am – close at 11am, another from 11am to 5pm and 5pm to 12pm respectively.
Rice – 200 naira
Beans – 50 naira
Salad – 50 naira ????
Total = 300 naira.
(You can then buy meat of any amount you want. You will also get one sachet of pure-water for free)
Trust me, without adding the meat the bow is already begging for more space.
So don’t be surprised if your Eastern girlfriend eat so much in one sitting, it is not her fault, Nna food odikwua surplus in the East.
Every city in the world have their challenges when it come to traffic, well, Igbo land is no exception. As just a little hit from one vehicle to another can create a dent or little scratch on the vehicle body and the repairs comes with some great “Naira bills” it is enough reason for car owners to always trash it out (“you don hit my car road English”) on major road causing serious traffic and in some cases standstill for road users thereby wasting their precious time.
Owerri, the Igbo land city I visited made me to realised that Igbo land has her cut of the abovementioned road English speaking drama but it is not as time wasting as Lagos because such drama in Lagos road is lengthy season movie featuring professional English Mafias’ in Suite and tie.
I would say the of Igbo land roads problem is narrowness so I could imagine what the cities will be like in December when Igbo big boys and girls in Lagos go back home to flaunt their acquired 11 months shedder in merriments. According to my acquaintant, Igbo land road during Ember festive periods is always crazily congested.
I must confess movement in the Igbo land is easy as you don’t get to ‘jump a Clif and box the bag’ to board public transport. They have taxi cab in category of car and bus that operates on every ruote with a fixed price under government moderation. In Imo State they have Taximo cars and buses.
I was opportuned to speak with one of the Taximo bus driver and he gave me a download of how to get into the business.
According to him, if you want to become a Taximo car driver you get the required type of car and pay the government department in charge an undisclosed fee for registration and other necessities after which your car will be given a Taximo vehicle number and be painted Taximo colour. To start a Taximo bus transportation business, you will purchase Taximo bus from the government department in charge.
After making the required payment for Taximo bus (which price has been subsidised by the government), you will be given a brand new Toyota Hiace 2000 model that is already customised to Taximo bus design and you are ready for business.
Cool or not cool? It makes movement via public transport a lot easier as you don’t have to drag the bus with anyone to get on board, you will seat comfortably in the 8 passenger back seat commuting bus and alight at your destination conveniently without struggle.
Just like Lagos they also have what is called “Agbero” ( transportation union officers that forcefully collect money from transporters) but Imo Agberos’ are well dressed red and black uniform ticketers that carry out their duties at a coperate level. They don’t force the transporters to buy the tickets instead established a cordial relationship with the transporters which I believe is what is commanding the money out of the transporters pocket without delay.
In my line above, I told you “Owerri is a fun place but not for lazy man” One of the unforgettable remarks I got about Owerri is the existence of “control”. When it comes to fun Owerri is not just a land of beer and pepper soup and other entertaining things but also a land of plenty women which brilliantly explained the existence of what they called “Control”
What is “Control”? Control simply means female cheerful givers. Don’t get it wrong, they are not prostitute but cheerful givers who give whoever they like access to their v**gina.
If you are the type that enjoy s*x so much Owerri will be a paradise for you as most of the ladies there don’t know how to say no as long as you can meet their demands.
However, Igbo land is a beautiful place with nice and caring people and I would love to visit again.