Exhibit An Underrated Wonder by Nonso Chukwudum
About two decades ago, someone told a story of how he was travelling from South West to South East in a public vehicle. He said that when they got to the Niger Bridge, a northerner in the vehicle, on looking down from the bridge and seeing the arrays of buildings in Onitsha, wondered aloud, "Why then do Igbos complain that the Federal Government is not doing anything for them when the Federal Government has built all these for them?"
Little did the northerner know that the buildings were built by individuals, Ndi na agba mbo na Main Market Onitsha (people who are hustling at Onitsha Main Market). Onitsha Main Market is not the biggest market in West Africa n'enu onu (for nothing); there is something to show for it.
Those of you who have not visited Onitsha may not really understand why the northerner assumed that the buildings were built by the Federal Government. In Onitsha, there are arrays of buildings that should be counted as one of the wonders of the world because they are really a wonder to behold. In some layouts in Onitsha, like Awada and Nkpor, there are arrays of 3 storey, 4 storey and 5 storey buildings, so impressive and dominating that it maybe difficult for one to accept that they were built by individuals.
Those who live in Onitsha take these arrays of buildings for granted because they are used to it, but the truth is that there may not be any other place you will see such sight in Africa or even in the whole world. Come on, we are talking of arrangements of 3 storey, 4 storey and 5 storey buildings, which are RESIDENTIAL buildings, and which covers about 10 km square area of land.
Political power does not automatically translate to economic power. Igbos are bereft of political power at the federal level in Nigeria, but they have economic power, and are unapologetically developers.
It is who they are. It is in their DNA and they do their thing, both at home and abroad. So it is ridiculous when people of other ethnic groups tell Igbos to go back to their "villages." Igbos have beautiful ultramodern cities (by African standard).
And leaving their comfort zone to spread to other places is not being greedy. It has to do with their migratory characteristic which is an aspect of their entrepreneurial nature.
By the way, since we are a nation, that should not be a problem. It is a way of mingling and assimilating, which promotes national unity.
NB: This post is not to instigate hate or to "sub" other ethnic groups. No, It is just to correct wrong impressions.
Like someone said, "There are a lot of misconceptions about the Igbos and Igboland, and it is high time the Igbos began to tell their stories to change the narrative, because nobody will do it for us."