FIVE THINGS YOU PROBABLY DIDN’T KNOW ABOUT IMO

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Imo is one of the states in the South East of Nigeria, located in the heart of Igboland. Its capital city is Owerri, the state’s largest city, and the state’s main economic stay is agriculture and commerce. It’s a bustling state with a lot to offer in culture, history and even business and investment opportunities. We share 5 things about Owerri you probably didn’t know.

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  1. It has a Zoological Garden

Owerri, the capital Imo State, is the home of the Nekede Botanical Garden, a well-tended area for displaying varieties of plants labelled with their botanical names. It’s a spectacular garden on a large landscape with ever-changing beauty. It’s one of the major tourist attractions of Imo state. Some hotels to lodge in while visiting include Rockview Hotels, Santiago Suite etc.

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2. It’s the Location of the Amadioha Shrine

Well, this is not exactly a place the majority might want to visit, but some might find it interesting to know Imo state is the location of the shrine of the famous deity, Amadioha. Amadioha is the Igbo traditional god of lightning and thunder. The Amadioha shrine is particularly situated in Ngo Okpala Local Government area of Imo State.

3. It has Its Very Own Signature Hill (Peculiar to the State Alone)

The rolling hills of Okigwe is located in the north-eastern part of Imo State. It possesses very attractive and appealing qualities that lists it as one of the major tourist attractions in Imo State and in Nigeria. The hill consists of a series of expanding hills with varying heights and ruggedness. It’s indeed a fascinating attraction and one of nature’s finest works. The hills provide a suitable site for camping and picnicking with friends and family, and it’s a great site to enjoy the endowments of nature.

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4. The State Was Named After the Imo River

Imo State came into existence in 1976, after the Nigerian Civil War. It was originally part of the now defunct East Central State created in 1967 by General Yakubu Gowon. The state was created at Ngwoma named after the Imo River. After the state creation, part of it was later split off in 1991 as Abia State and another part became Ebonyi State.

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5. It has One of the Biggest and Most Viable Oil Palm Plantations in West Africa

The Ada Palm Plantation Complex situated in Imo State, is believed to be the biggest and most viable oil palm plantations in West Africa. The palm plantation was established in 1974, occupies about 4,310 hectares of land, with a housing estate and was one of the nation’s major sources of foreign exchange before the discovery of Petroleum.

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Top 5 Places to learn Igbo History and Culture

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The Igbos, one of the main ethnic groups in Nigeria, are known to have a rich culture and remarkable history. While modernization has ensured the erosion of certain aspects of their culture, much of its history has been preserved, including relics from the past which reveal its heritage.

We list 5 of the places where the culture and history of these people who dominate the eastern part of Nigeria can be discovered.

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The Igbo-Ukwu museum is in Ngo village, Igbo-Ukwu, Anambara state. The town, Igbo-Ukwu is of great historical and cultural significance in Igbo land as it is notable for bronze artifacts from a very sophisticated bronze metal-working culture centuries before other known bronzes of the region. It is in recognition of this that the Federal Government in Nigeria granted approval for the hosting of an annual National New Yam Festival in Igbo- Ukwu to promote the culture and tradition of Ndigbo and new yam festival. The festival takes place at National Yam House built by the Federal Government in Igbo- Ukwu since 2005. The Igbo-Ukwu bronze treasures were accidentally discovered by a worker who was hired to dig a cistern by Mr. Isaiah Anozie during dry season in 1939 . Subsequent archaeological excavations of the area led by Professor Thurstan Shaw led to the discovery of other sites , making a total of three sites: Igbo Isaiah (a shrine), Igbo Richard (a burial chamber), and Igbo Jonah (a cache). Among the recovered object include a ritual Pottery Vessel,Scabbard, Pendant with rams head, Human face with scarification, Bronze bowl and a pear – shaped bowl. While some of these artefact have been exported and some lost, the Museum plays a significant role in preserve the remaining Igbo ukwu pieces, indigenous productions, which are vital in discerning the ancient history of not only Igbos, but of the human existence within ancient Africa. lgbo-Ukwu Museum has remained an attraction to tourists mostly because of its bronze artifacts. It is great place to visit as the bronze pieces are a sight to behold.

The Long JuJu Shrine of Arochukwu

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Arochukwu is the third largest town in Abia State (after Aba and Umuahia) in southeastern Nigeria and is a famous tourist destination as the cave of the famous long juju oracle is a particular attraction. It is originally, a religious centre with a well-laid down administrative structure headed by a Chief Priest. The cave is believed to hold the long metal pipe through which the gods speak to the people, and was used to judge the perpetrators of crimes in the old time. A dark kilometre-long series of tunnels, some deeply mysterious features of the shrine include the Throne of Judgement, where Chukwu would decide on the fate of a person, the Tunnel of Disappearance, and the Red River, which would turn coloured when a person was killed. What makes this shrine, also known as Ibinu Ukpabi, a spectacular historical site in the region is the role it played in the slave trade era and thus the impact it made in Nigeria’s history.In the 15th Century, when the slave trade was introduced, West African middlemen used it to their advantage, as the condemned were no longer killed inside the shrine, but secretly sold on into slavery. The mystic Long-Juju shrine, the slave routes and other relics of the slave trade era have become important tourist attractions in the area as a result of what they represent in Nigeria’s history.

Mbari Cultural Centres

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Mbari is a traditional arts and crafts center retained by the Imo State council for Arts and Culture. Situated at Ikenegbu in Central Owerri, Mbari, it is an open air museum that houses monumental arts depicting the culture, tradition and history of the Igbo people. Sometimes referred to as the ‘house of gods’, it is a huge tourist attraction. Although Mbari is a monumental art sacrifice to “ALA” the earth goodness, it also shelters artistic representations – artefacts as well as sculptures- which tell of the prevalent social life of the Igbos and images of other prominent deities that inhabit the traditional Igbo cosmic system. These deities include Amadioha (the god of thunder), Ogwugwu (the god of the forest), Nwaorie (the goddess of Nwaorie River), Ahiajoku (the god of harvest), etc. Closely attached to each deity are images of animals such as monkeys, tortoise, rams, snakes and owls, believed to represent errand spirits or mystical messengers of the deities. There are also images of Ikoro, the Igbo traditional instrument for communicating messages; unfamiliar creatures such as the ostrich (Enyi Nnunu); a certain tall figure representing Alakuko, allegedly the tallest man in Igboland; ‘Onye afo toro’, a man whose stomach became bloated because he committed an abomination against Ala, etc Contrary to general assumption, Mbari is neither a centre for idol worship nor an idol in itself. It is an art form that has its origin very deep in Igbo cultural and religious beliefs and practices. The Mabari cultural centre is a three dimensional cultural facility, made up of the Mbari House, Mbari Museum Kitchen and an amphitheatre, and definitely a must-see location.

 

National War Museum Amafor Isingwu Umuahia 

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National War Museum Amafor Isingwu Umuahia is a museum set up to exhibit relics used during Nigeria’s Civil war of 1967. The museum has the largest collection of the Nigerian civil war weapons that are no longer in used. The weapons are from both the Nigerian military and the defunct Biafra. Commissioned in 1985, the museum is located at Ebite Amafor in Isingwu Autonomous Community in the Umuahia North Local Government Area. The museum’s location was chosen because it was where the bunker housing the famous shortwave radio “the Voice of Biafra” was transmitted from. It has three galleries featuring items on the traditional warfare, armed forces and Nigerian civil war weapons. War relics in the museum include weapons used during the pre-colonial civil disturbances, warfare materials used during communal and inter-tribal wars and those of the Nigerian civil war. The Museum Complex opens at 10am and closes at 6pm daily with a gate fee of N100.  For those who did not experience the civil war, they may not get a mental picture of how it occurred without visiting the  museum. And for those who did, they could relive the period by visiting the museum. It is a perfect way to gain firsthand knowledge of the civil war, a huge part of Nigeria’s history. It is certainly a place to go.

Mungo Park House 

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Mungo Park House, also known as National Museum Asaba, is tucked behind the Delta State High Court and the state Library Board complex along Nnebisi Road, Asaba,  Delta state Nigeria. Although named after Mungo Park, the man who discovered River Niger, the prominent colonial vestige of pre-fabricated wooden storey building was never owned or visited by Mungo Park. The house was constructed by the Royal Niger Company (RNC) in 1886 and served as the first British administrative headquarters in the country and invariably the first government house in Nigeria. The Mungo Park House offers education on Nigeria’s rich historical background (mainly that of trade and investment in pre-colonial era) and journey to civilization.  Although some parts of the building are slowly dilapidating due to the elements (weather corrosion), it is definitely a place to visit. The museum is also just a few blocks from the popular Grand Hotel, Asaba.

 

5 unique ways people show affection in Eastern Nigeria

The eastern part of Nigeria, largely dominated by people from the Igbo tribe, is a unique place to visit or live in.  Aside from serene environs stretched over the area and the generally low cost of living, there is a profound exhibition of culture and deep respect for customs and tradition; and this affects how the locals interact and relate with others around the country and world at large.

Basically, people living in the eastern area are far more emotionally reserved than their counterparts in the Western or Northern parts of the country and some visitors find this disconcerting. The truth, however, is that they can actually be both affectionate and demonstrative when it comes to showing affection, though, they may not show it in the way that is expected. To help visitors looking to understand the lifestyle of these people,Jumia Travel reveals 5 unique ways people in eastern Nigeria show affection.

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Hail with praise names and titles

A very common way people in the eastern parts of Nigeria, especially Aba and Owerri, show affection is by hailing the person with fancy titles and praise phrases. Some of the popular appellations include Chief, Oga, odum, Eze e.t.c. They also use phrases that tend to exalt the person being referred to, such as “onye Isi” meaning “the man man”, “Nwoke ukwu” meaning “Big guy”.

Brag about the person

Another way they show affection is by bragging to others about the person or about something the person did or is going to do. Usually, when they start to brag, they first make sure  the person is within earshot, so the person knows they are favored or loved. Parents usually do this a lot with their kids rather than just hug them or share such emotional words as “I love you” and more.

Symbolic/significant gifts

Giving gifts is a common way people from around the world show affections, but people from the eastern parts of Nigeria take this a step further when they want to channel affection. From unexpected surprises to gifts of farm animals and food, they gift abundantly in the bid to show affection .This is also why Nigerian women prefer to marry Igbo men who genuinely care about them.

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They share what they have

The Igbos are generally considered to be tight-fisted and selfish. The key stereotype is that they love money and would amass as much wealth as they can without offering same opportunities to others. While this has not be proven and is largely regarded to be false, there actually is an atom of truth to it. Igbos would actually only share their food and possessions if they like a person and want to show affection.

Exhibit domineering behaviors

This may seem conflicting, but people from the eastern parts of the country usually demonstrate their love by being more controlling of the person’s behavior or activity. This is why the parents tend to be very strict with their children and the people seem to be meddlers.

Visit Ebonyi State – Salt of the Nation

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A fairly bustling metropolis combined with some of the most famous salt lakes in Nigeria, this southeastern State is known for being peopled by the very industrious Igbo ethnic group.  Located in the southeast geopolitical zone of Nigeria, Ebonyi State was created in 1996 and it is called “the salt of the nation” because of its huge salt deposit. The state is divided into thirteen local government areas which include Abakaliki, Afikpo South, Afikpo North, Ebonyi, Effium, Ezza, Ezza South, Ikwo, Ishielu, Ivo, Ohaozara, Ohaukwu and Onicha. Ebonyi has its perks which have encouraged tourist to flood the state with a population 1,739,136.

Ebonyi State is indeed blessed with many destinations that are alluring, charming and beautiful. The capital city of Ebonyi  is Abakaliki. Jovago.com, Africa’s No 1 hotel booking portal unleash the sights and sounds of Ebonyi to enable you have a hassle free journey.

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Top three sites

The Abakaliki Golf Course

The Abakaliki Golf Course is both a tourist destination and relaxation spot. It will be a wholesome experience if you can play golf by swinging a few holes alongside friends and other tourists. The Abakaliki Golf Course is of international standard and it is also thoroughly well kept. You can learn how to play golf but if you are not interested in playing, you can simply watch and cheer the players. At the golf course, friends are quickly made which is the more reason you should check it out as it is peopled by top business executives and government functionaries. It is located at the Abakaliki Township stadium and has a clubhouse, practice facilities, as well as a snack bar

Okposi Salt Lake

You have unfinished business with Ebonyi if you do not check out the Okposi Salt Lake. This is because salt is a natural resource in the state which it is known and it is a must see. A visit to the lake will offer you a firsthand experience of the traditional salt making process and how women engage in the thriving business of salt trading.  Salt production has existed for about 400 years in Okposi Okwu. The trade was discovered by two hunters namely Ekwuna Chita and Uta Anoo. You can be magnanimous and buy the salt as a souvenir.

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Abakaliki Greater Rice Husks

The igbos are known to be incredibly industrious. Their sense of industry and craftsmanship is amazing. You will find in any legal business. Hence, it is not surprising, they cultivate rice, process it and over the years, until it became a source of livelihood for the people of Abakaliki. You will see  rice husks piled into huge heaps which is a significant proof of how the trade has survived for decades. The rice mill industry serves is the source of the local rice delivered to most Nigerian homes. The rice husks have become sort of landmark for the people of Ebonyi State and they are proud of it.

Shopping

Most of the stores are located in the capital city. These small scale malls are more popular in the just-evolving state. There are also mega malls you can do your shopping. These stalls stores are King Nancy provision stores, Omeh Okoro ventures and Michael provision.

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Sleeping

The hotels in Ebonyi are quite affordable and inexpensive. The price range is between N5,000 and N10,000. Some of the hotels are Salt Lake Hotel, Ebonyi Hotel Abakaliki, Grace Court Hotel & Salts, and Klasson Suites Limited. You can select other amazing hotels among the 72 available ones on Jovago.com.

Unwinding

Abakaliki is the most important city in Ebonyi and it is where all the restaurants and nightclubs-for the night crawlers- are concentrated. You can get a good and tasty plate of goat head or ‘Isiewu’ or a plate of yummy pepper soup with a cup of newly tapped palm wine (the best palm wine is tapped in south-east Nigeria) . With these plates, you are on your way to having an exhilarating time in Ebonyi. If you do not fancy the palm wine and pepper soup or goat head ritual, you can try their delicious local cuisine in the following restaurants – Ogbuefi joint, Flavour Gardens and Restaurant, Paradise Bush Bar,  and D Base Bar.

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Fun fact

A popular staple in Nigeria is Rice. In homes and at parties it is a must consumed carb. Despite the Abakaliki rice, Nigerians still prefer to import rice from other parts of the world. Well, perhaps it is good that #BuyNaijaToGrowTheNaira is trending on social media. Perhaps, someday, Abakaliki rice will be the rice eaten in every Nigerian home. The rice is very delicious.

US Academic report: Igbo People may be the Most Brilliant Black African Race

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A United States Academic report for The year 2015 has suggested that the Igbo people of South Eastern Nigeria are the most Brilliant black African Race.

This doesn’t come as much of a shocker taking into account the Two Igbo students who broke records by gaining admissions into 8 Ivy League Schools. The students, Harold Ekeh scored 2270 out of 2400 on his SATs while Augusta Uwamanzu-Nna scored a 101.6 GPA.

17-year-old Harold Ekeh is a senior student at the Elmont Memorial High School in Long Island while Augusta Uwamanzu- Nna is a high-school student from Long Island, New York.

The 8 schools offering the admissions include: Brown University, Columbia University, Cornell University, Dartmouth College, Harvard University, Princeton University, the University of Pennsylvania and Yale University.

The report reads: “A search through the promotional materials of school for a black student – all schools and colleges would always show some black faces in their promotional materials if they have any – reveals that they have had at least one black student, and it was, unsurprisingly, a Nigerian Igbo.”

According to two online news portal, NBC News and MSN, the two teenagers are faced with “a big decision to make soon.” as Harold Ekeh has 13 admission offer from universities, 8 of which are Ivy League schools which according to NBC makes the choice-making decision harder than usual.

Ekeh while Speaking with NBC News said: “It’s very, like, stunning. It’s like getting hit with a brick, honestly. When you see congratulations, you’re like, wow your hard work has paid off, definitely.”

5 things to know before marrying an Igbo girl

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Are you in love with an Igbo girl and planning to marry her? Then this is for you!

Igbo girls, a sect of Nigerian girls from the south-eastern parts of the country, are one of the most beautiful and intelligent women in the world. However, they have other unique quirks which impact their marriages considerably.

For those who have fallen in love with Igbo girls and are unaware of these other things that come with being eternally linked to them, we have put together a little list to help you understand your wife to be. Please keep in mind that list is applicable to most Igbo girls, but not all, like everything else, there are exceptions to the rule.

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They value the presence of their family

Igbo girls have deep regard for family and so usually want to have members of their family around most of the time. Her relationship with her parents, siblings and even extended family is close knit and she will not compromise or cut them off in a hurry.

Any guy marrying an Igbo girl has to keep in mind that their home will always be packed with family members gossiping, quarrelling and laughing. Even if you decided to live far away from family, be rest assured that she will keep sending random things back home, will get home-sick a lot and so, will be in constant communication with her family.

They will speak their language to the children

While most Igbo girls are well-groomed and can speak English without the detection of a local accent, they are usually well-versed in their dialect and are proud to speak it at any time. Even when they marry from other tribes or country, they do not neglect their dialect for their husbands or a foreign one.

Their children most usually speak this mother-tongue first before learning that of their husband or any other language. So also, they tend to pass down unique Igbo traits and traditions to their children even if they are married into other tribes.

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They will take care of you with love

Igbo girls are beautiful and intelligent, but most of all, they are very caring, hardworking and industrious.

They are generally strong women and while the husband plays the head of the home and brings home the bread, she most likely ends up being the foundation of the house: takes care of the kids, the budget, the food, the home generally. She will not hesitate to take up several jobs to support her husband and family, and she will still fulfill her wifely duty to keep everyone happy.

They are very religious

Igbos are very religious people and their preferred religion is Christianity. Most Igbo girls are brought up in strict religious homes and as such, they have the fear of God and the belief in His supremacy instilled in them.

Even when they get emancipated from their parents, they still carry those values with them into their marriage and homes. Be prepared to go to church every Sunday, and observe religious holidays and church programmes once married to an Igbo girl, they hardly compromise on this or convert to other religions.

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Their local delicacies will fill out the home menu

Igbos have a large variety of delicious dishes and their women are trained to know these recipes from an early age. They also have a love for their local meals and so they find it difficult to change their diet to food from other areas.

No doubt after marriage, especially if they are married to someone from another country or tribe, they can make the necessary compromise and eat other dishes, but be rest assures that they will not throw their home food completely away. They find ways to cajole their new family into accepting their local dishes and this is usually easy as Igbo meals are usually delicious and the girls are great cooks.

IMO State: The Eastern Heartland

                                                                                           

The charming state of Imo whose capital city is Owerri offers a fascinating history and a perfect view into the rich cultural heritage of the Igbos of South East Nigeria.

It is a bustling city with some of the most popular landmarks and was one of the earliest states created on February 3rd, 1976 during military rule. This is a reason why it is also known as the Eastern heartland.

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With its administrative organs spanning across 27 local government areas, the state is relatively peaceful and a tropical paradise that guarantees a swashbuckling stay for tourists and visitors. Interestingly, there is a local airport named the Sam Mbakwe airport located in the heart of the capital, so you can fly into Owerri from any airport in Nigeria.

Important cities in the state aside from Owerri are Isu, Okigwe, Oguta, Oru, Mbaise, Mbatoli, and Okpala among others.  Jovago.com, Africa’s No 1 hotel booking portal rounds up everything that will help visitors and tourists navigate the Eastern heartland.

TOP THREE SITES

Oguta-Lake

Oguta Blue Lake

Oguta Blue Lake is the main tourist attraction in Imo state.

The lake’s radiance reflected through its lush green ambiance give a beautiful appeal, attracting tourists from near and far. This water body is  important to the livelihood of the Oguta people as it serves as a fishing hub for fishermen.

According to history, the lake was a channel for transporting palm produce during the colonial era and served as a marine base for the Biafran army. Your visit to Imo is incomplete if you do not go to the Oguta Blue Lake. Do not also forget to visit the Oguta Lake Holiday Resort which is a stone throw from the lake itself.

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Mbari Cultural and Art Centre

The pride of the Igbos in Imo state and by extension South East Nigeria is that they hold dearly to their culture.

One place to appreciate this cultural phenomenon is the Mbari Cultural and Art Centre. It is an open space museum that carefully shelters priced artefacts of Igbo heritage. The centre is divided into three sections made up of the Mbari Museum Kitchen, Mbari House and an amphitheatre.

Ada Palm Plantation Complex

This massive Palm Plantation Complex seats on 4,310 hectares of land in Ohiji/Egbema Local Government Area of the state. It is largest oil plantation in West Africa and is a place that tourists visits to check out the location for one of Nigeria’s economic mainstay before the discovery of oil. It was setup in 1974.

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EATING

There are many delicious cuisines that get their origin from the Igbos. Some of these meals are now consumed in different parts of Nigeria especially where Igbos are found.

The delicacies include Akpu and Uha soup, jakwu abacha and Okpa among many others. So where can you find these traditional cuisines as well as continental dishes? They include Best Lady restaurant, Crunchies, Jevinik restaurant, Kilimanjaro and Renny’s place. They located in the Owerri.

SHOPPING

No matter your preferred style, your taste can be substantially satisfied in Owerri, the state capital.

There are one stop shops like the Owerri Mall, and other small scale stalls like the Mall AladinmaKez Shopping plaza. If you want to have a feel of the sights of sounds of the streets, visit the Relief market located in Ikenegbu extension layout, Owerri. There are also smaller stalls on the outskirts of the city.

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LODGING

Securing excellent and tastefully furnished accommodation is not a problem. Your choice and how deep your pocket is will determine the nature of the hotel you will reside when you visit Imo. From Prisma hotel to Concorde hotel and much more are available for booking on Jovago.com at the most affordable price.

FUN FACT

Oguta lake is the second biggest lake in Nigeria after Lake Chad.  The lake is important to the livelihood of the people of Oguta village where it is located.

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