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Awka - WHITHER THE WAY FORWARD

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Awka: THE ADRIFTNESS OF THE GENERATIONAL HANDOVER

Culled from the book:

Written by Engr. Victor Chinweze
~Ubachukwu ka mma, Awka.
Phone: +234 8033063948
Email: vichinweze@gmail.com

CHAPTER TWO

THE ADRIFTNESS OF THE GENERATIONAL HANDOVER

Awka of the time past grew in fame and wonder beyond borders, so much so, that at the thick of the incursion of the Federal troop into the Igbo heartland during the Biafran war, Awka was their major port of call.
At Awka, they leveled every building and structures that bore semblance of some form of habitation searching for the 'industries' and 'factories' where the Awka people were purportedly manufacturing ammunition and equipping the Biafran soldiers and frontiers!

Awka lost heavily in men and materials as a result of the war. The remnants, that is, the returnees, however who did not have further trade or ezi-ije to nurture, relapsed into the traditional work of blacksmith, medicine, woodwork and carvings.
It was so, as these set or remnants of the renowned Awka Black-Smiths (who bore the trauma of the civil war), in seeking strong commercial value, therefore, conglomerated at certain portions of the Eke Awka market...
Then, they could easily be found in clusters around Eke-Awka Area, leading up to the old Timber-shed, facing the St. Mary’s Catholic Church road (on the side leading towards Works-road from the Timber road junction).
Also, the portion of the area leading to the Post-Office building from the back alley-way.


As time went past, their numbers started to diminish. There was no longer the structure and culture of nwa-uzu; apprentice (that would have ensured continuity), which went unfashionable and extinct, that is, not when western education held sway.
Therefore, this last batch of professional Awka blacksmiths went somewhat to obscurity. And lo! The Black Smith work of the great Awka people became practically unpracticed in the large-scale order that brought it to prominence.
Nowadays, that-renowned Awka blacksmithing culture and trade is only but practiced sparingly, even at that, government agents continuously hound the few practitioners around as makers of locally made pistols and guns.

What else? That renowned Awka Blacksmithing skills, enterprises and culture are now etched in our minds, stickers, symbols and sculptures.
Other forms of human endeavors have taken over their place in time.

It is worthy of note that at that time, not long after the war, Awka people stabilized, but not without the Awka society evolving in a way that is suggestive of the strong post-war variables that contended with her tradition and culture.
Awka men and women started delving into diverse trades and routes that were before untested, remote or forbidden.

Yes, after weathering the effect of the losses due to the war, there was little attached to the time honored blacksmith and crafts.
Most of our fore-bearers who survived the fratricidal war were barely literate enough to comprehend the quick-paced changes and societal transformation that Awka was going through. They ended-up sleeping quietly.

It could be said that they were barely strong enough to live along with the changing times.
Even if they did, most Awka sons and daughters again scampered into distant lands in search of the Golden-Fleece and/or greener pastures.

Most obu in Awka, were left practically empty as the heir apparent(s) were in far away distant lands within the Nigerian geographical locations or overseas and may have vowed never to return until s/he has made enough money to show for the long sojourn in foreign lands.

Worst still, in the 90’s, the proliferation of the quick and dubious means of making money found easy recruits from the surging men and women.
Most people plying their legitimate trades could not fathom seeing their mates who just left for the city (say Lagos), returning home during festive seasons (say Christmas) with solid cars and even some were erecting state-of the-art houses.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Dangers of Roadside Business

Written by Nduba Jekwu, Umubele Awka

Commentary: Road Trading - A Risky Business.
We continue to thank Chukwu-Okike Abiama and Imoka Nnomi and Ive na-emeli Oka ive that no life was lost following the accident that occurred in the morning of Monday, 15th August, 2016 on the Umuzocha/Umudioka  axis of Zik avenue in Awka, the Anambra state Capital. However, properties worth millions of Naira was lost and humans casualties recorded but what are the lessons to be learnt from the incident.

It's on record that not less than 50 lives have been lost since such incidents started occuring in Awka especially at the end of Arthur Eze road which joined the Onitsha-Awka-Enugu express road and this is because people sacrificed themselves for no just cause by trading on the express road. My brother Eze-obodo has always asked rhetorically, "A na-akpo oga na main road?" literally it translates, "does one play on the expressway? The answer is certainly no for no one with sane mind would do that but it baffles me how people risk their lives just for money sake. It took the combined effort of the government of Maazi Peter Obi and the Awka traditional head to put a stop at the dangerous business people do on that spot at UNIZIK junction.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Anambra: I was buried for three days before I was crowned king -Eze Onyensoh

~The Punch Nigeria. Sunday, August 14, 2016.

His Majesty, Eze Obidiegwu Onyensoh (Nri Enwelana) is the traditional ruler of Nri Kingdom, Anambra State. In this interview with our correspondent, TONY OKAFOR, the royal father, gives insight into his kingdom and more.

Was your growing up days rosy?
Growing up was bad because I came from a highly poor family. My father married 10 wives; my father was one of the traditional title holders (Onye Ichie) in this community.

Does it mean your lineage didn't have royalty?
No, it had. My great grandfather was Nri Enwelana the first. He was also an Eze Nri. He was the 10th Eze Nri. I'm the 26th Eze Nri in this kingdom.

Back then, most men used to marry more than one wife, was your father among them?
I grew up in a polygamous family and you know what that meant. But my father died in 1943; I was only a couple of months old when my father died, so I did not get to know my father, and I did not get to know my mother either. My mother passed on after my birth.

So who took care of you then?
I started taking care of myself at a very tender age. There was a lot of problem, a lot of challenges. I never got that parental love, so I grew up all by myself. There was no person to take care of me. Nevertheless, God guided me to grow up. I was then thinking that maybe something is waiting for me in future.

How were you able to go to school then?
It was very difficult for me to go to school in this community. The primary school I attended had no roof, and I had no slate to write on, so I wrote on the ground and the teacher would come and examine my work on the floor. I used to wear one cloth for over a month and most times, the cloth would get torn on my body. No one was responsible for me, so I did everything by myself. It was a difficult world, but I managed to grow up.

It must have been very tough…
It was very tough. I could remember when we were small, I would walk naked and you could even see the ribs in my body. To eat was a problem and even when I managed to eat, it would be once a day. No one took care of me in that very large family. I went through primary school without books. I was just guided by my own destiny.

But you eventually left the village…
It was during my secondary school that I left this village for Hope Waddell, Calabar. I did not last in that school however, because I had to leave again. After Hope Waddell, I went to another school in Port Harcourt, and that was where I finished my secondary school in 1964.

Flood Menace in Awka Town

Written by Nduba Jekwu, Umubele Awka

Following the light showers which lasted for about an hour in Awka on Monday 15th August 2016, in the Obunagu road which leads to the Obunagu community, there is an access road - an alleyway to Eze-Uzu's Palace comming from Ikwodiaku Primary School and leading to Udoka  Housing Estate Awka. This road is completely blocked by heavy floods.


Causes
It's noteworthy that the portion of the said road has drainage lines by the sides but it's disheartening that the activities of the residents living around the area had caused the drainage system to be blocked with sand, refuse and even structures had been raised on the gutters.

Secondly, the road, including the drainage system were shallow and poorly constructed and not suited for the sloppy terrain of the area having in mind that the area could be muddy and swampy when there is no sure way of freeing the soil from retaining water.


Furthermore, it seemed that the area had been for long forgotten by both the State and Local Governments. This is evidently indicated by the neglect which the volume of portholes showed, Even extending to the Obunagu/Dike/Works road junction.

The neglect and abandonment is also very obvious from the way, manner and the silence of previous governments at overseeing the approval processes for people who were allowed to construct buildings on water pathways, thereby letting the tarred road to continously soak and retain rain water that will end up as serious flood that will erode and destroy the strenght of the road.

Passionate Plea:
It will surely take the will and collective effort of all to address the anomalies, both the citizens and government alike.
I therefore call on the Anambra State Government authorities through the Awka Capital Territory Development Authority and the Local Government Authority to come to the rescue. Given that the presence of the Awka Monarchy on that road should  accord it the kind of regard and urgency it deserves.

As the government of Chief Willie Obiano (Akpokuodike Global) is willingly working to raise Awka and place her in the world map as a city to be reckoned with, I urge her citizens especially the residents of the affected area to be law abiding and environmentally conscious. They should be able to cooperate with the government to do their job in providing quality and long lasting infrastructure in our dear Anambra State.

We should therefore devolop, maintain and sustain a positive and healthy lifestyle within Awka and Anambra State in general.
We should be able to work in partnership with the government agencies to keep Anambra State clean and healthy.
Remember, Cleanliness is next to Godliness!

Long live Oka!
Long live Anambra state!
Long live Igbo land!


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THE AWKA PEOPLE, a book by Amanke Okafor

Oyibo ka mmadi, Ma na Oka kacha mba! (The Whitemen is creative above all men, But the Oka man comes next to him!) --from an Oka war chant (okili) This is the story of the Oka people, the fathers that begat us. It is the story of the Oka people as they were before the British came into their lives and seized control of their country and their destiny, and later merged their city – state with the great body polity known as Nigeria.
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