Nwannem Bia, Nwokem Kedu, those are the very sounds youb are bound to hear serenaded through the length and breadth of the Upper Iweka (opi Iweka) flyover in Onitsha, the commercial capital of the South Eastern state of Anambra, down to the head bridge and to the Main market, then you take a detour to the shoe and leather market at Nkwelle and then to the big market at Eke Awka, just after the Unizik Juntion, the same greeting goes for everyone, a brother is addressed by no other title or greeting but by the “nwokem” salutation and a lady goes by the “nwanne” as well.Regardless of the fact that you have never met the person who greets you or he or she doesn’t know you but the moment you begin to rap in the dialect of the Igbos, you automatically become one of them. That is the spirit that nurtures, revitalizes, breathes and flows through the fold of the Igbo society, the spirit of “brotherhood and the oneness of hustling”. You cannot help but admire the flow and the love which grows between town or three young men or ladies who are Igbo’s and probably have never met before, one might hail from as far as Abakaliki in Ebonyi, the other might come from Orlu in Imo state, the other might come from Ishiagu in the same Ebonyi state but that doesn’t matter, so long as you can understand and speak the language.So then it is a good thing to be able to learn and to speak the Igbo language. Having spent the last decade in the typical Igbo society, I have come to appreciate the oneness which binds the entirety of Igbo society, not forgetting that certainly where there is a 12, there must be a Judas. But the faithful ones are obedient to their cause, fellowship and the hustle to make money, “Ego”. From the Ariaria market in Aba down to the rice markets of Abakaliki to the Ogbete market in Enugu metropolis to the Ogige market inn Nsukka, to the honey market in Obollo Afor down to the food produce in Omor, Ayamelum of Anambra round to the big main market of Onitsha where you have long lines of trucks waiting to offload their goods and containers and then take back goods to the north, one thing is certain and that thing is that the Igbo boys you find in those markets, regardless of whether they own stalls, shops, umbrellas, or even wheel barrows, they are there to make a living, under the hot sun or in the rain and until the make certain their next meal and the one after, they go nowhere. From 20pounds after the Biafran war, the poverty stricken, malnourished, deprived people of the East have risen to become a force to be reckoned with in the decisions of Africa and the world at large. God bless the Igbo man. Nwannem Nwoke Kedu,Odimma.
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