OWERRI


OWERRI

by Nnagoziem THEVYRUS Udensi
Founded in the 14th century, Sitting in a rain forest and produces many agricultural products, such as yams, cassava, taro, corn, rubber and palm products is the warm heartland city; owerri, one of the finest cities in the present east of the Niger which annually presents the country with a beautiful female image; miss heartland.  Owerri is a well planned city from its broad roads, narrow alleys, busy market, secluded offices, classy hotels, towering residential homes, numerous schools filled with enthusiastic students, tropical farms, fresh water rivers, warm atmosphere and windy nights; owerri is as well identified by the Federal government as one of the planned cities in Nigeria.
It was planned by Mr. Tetlow being the headquarters of Owerri province and later by a Swiss Consortium - Finger Hooth and Partners who Designed the New Owerri; an idea conceived by the first Imo state military Governor the then Commander Ndubuisi Kanu. The City’s airport 14 miles (23 km) southeast of the city, called the Imo Airport grants flight services to Abuja, Lagos, Port Harcourt, and Enugu. Right now, it serves as an alternate for Port Harcourt. Apart from the city airport there is also an international cargo airport, the Sam Mbakwe International Cargo Airport. Within the city plying on broad asphalt Some major roads that go through the owerri city are; Port Harcourt Road, Aba Road, Onitsha Road, and Okigwe Road.  Local intersection Roads within the city are; Douglas Road, Weathral Road, Tetlow Road, and Works Road and Eke Ukwu Owere market is the major market in Owerri. The busy small town rigged with more than five major higher learning institutions including one of the best federal engineering schools; federal university of technology owerri (FUTO) and also an up to standard federal polytechnic sited in Nekede, a state university (IMSU), a state polytechnic and Alvan Ikoku college of Education, crawling with students  keeps the town lively. Private business offices, residential homes and leisure spots make up the peaceful capital of Imo state. Pronounced Owerre meaning ‘he has taken’ short for owerrela ihe maraya aka meaning ‘he has taken what is rightfully his according to the traditional story of the origin of Owerri which narrates how the founding father of owerri Enem Oha fled his original village to settle in owerri with his domestic family after a life threatening dispute with his younger brother who was challenging his birth right.
 The beautiful city set in the heart of the east thus the city slogan ‘the heartland’ consists of three Local  Government  Areas including Owerri  Municipal, Owerri  North and Owerri  West, it has an estimated population of about 400,000 people living presently in the city of owerri. Just Like oka to Awka, Anambara State,  Ogwu to Awgu, Enugwu to Enugu, and okuna’ano to Awkunanaw The advent of the British saw the anglicizing of Owere to Owerri but pronounced as though it was spelt Owere for easier spelling and pronunciation soothing their accent.  Owerri was the first Divisional Headquarters later Provincial Headquarters during the colonial Government and furthermore the capital of the Republic of Biafra in 1969. in addition, It is strongly believed that in owerri there is huge crude oil and natural gas reserves like most of the Igbo land areas, sighting the oil prospecting which began in Owerri before the second world war. It was then suspended on the Second World War outbreak. As The war ended and shell D’Arcy returned to Owerri in the forties of the last century to continue the oil prospecting building a shell camp in Owerri. Situated in Owerri up to the early sixties shell then moved down to Port Harcourt when their level of technology could not strike oil in Iho in Ikeduru LG.A of Imo state. Nevertheless presently, a Chevron Rig yet to be commissioned is situated in owerri.  Owerri is in a way considered a valley because it is a land approached as you descend hills with two rivers; Nworie on the West border while Otamiri Is on the Southern border. The two Rivers influenced the culture of the people, as owerri indigenes traditionally do not fish in Nworie River but do so in Otamiri River, they do not eat fish from Nworie River. The source of Nworie River had a deposit of Emerald a precious solid mineral but not in commercial quantity. There is also Lake Nwebere at Imo State University, Owerri. A New development has since ensured after the introduction of democracy and the new government of the present Governor. There has been Improvement in Education, healthcare, workers welfare and standard security, owerri in a peaceful town still developing rapidly and priding itself as the entertainment capital of Nigeria.

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