By Ogunfowoke Adeniyi
Nnewi is a mix of the old and the new, reflected in thatched-roof mud houses alongside concrete buildings as well as the abdication of some fetish features associated with their festivals.
The quiet and peaceful city has seen rapid development as a result of the industrious nature of the natives who are Igbo. It is therefore not surprising that the first wholly Nigerian car manufacturing company is located in the heart of the city. It also has the accolade of being the second largest city in Anambra State after Onitsha.
Whether you are a budget traveller or big spender, you are assured of a fun visit to its various destinations without breaking the bank. A trip from Lagos to Nnewi by road is 6 hours 40 minutes at the cost of about N4,000. Alternatively, you can fly to Asaba and take a smooth ride to Nnewi or drive to Nnewi which is roughly 1 hour 5 minutes.
With a population of 391,227, Nnewi covers four local governments namely Nnewi North, Nnewi South, Ekwusigo, and Ihiala.
Top three things to do
- Take a tour of Innoson Motors
Wouldn’t it be exciting if you visit Nnewi to also check out Innoson Motors which is Nigeria’s only company that manufactures cars? Some Nigerians may ask is this really true. You can go see for yourself if you have a weekend to yourself. Innoson runs a plant in Nnewi and 70% of the car are produced indigenously while the rest are imported. It will be a worthwhile experience.
- Visit the palace of the Igwe
The Igwe of Nnewi is the custodian of traditions and customs. To get a comprehensive history and relics of Nnewi’s past, you must pay a visit to the palace of His Royal Highness, Igwe Kenneth Onyeneke Orizu III. He was coronated on June 2, 1963. He has been on the throne for more than 50 years. There is so much to see and learn about Nnewi at the palace of the Igwe who is also the Obi of Otolo.
- Attend Ofala Festival
Ofala is a popular festival in South East Nigeria especially in Onitsha. In recent years, it is now celebrated by neighbouring Igbo communities including Nnewi. It is a long surviving traditional ceremony of the Nnewi people which marks the climax of the New Yam festival. According to oral history, Ofala Nnewi dates back to the 1950s and the monarch on the Nnewi throne must celebrate it annually. Indigenes bearing gifts pay homage to the Igwe during the festival.
Where to sleep
Price of accommodation in places like Hotel De Decent, Swiss Park Hotel and Suites, Calido Fine Hotel Limited, Kings Palace Hotel Extension, Best Option Hotel Limited and Lennox Gardens is between N6,000 and N7,000. This further lends credence to the affordability of Nnewi.
What to eat
The Igbo have tasty and irresistible cuisines. Abacha, Uha soup, Ofe Onugbu, and Nkwobito are some of the foods you will be served in Nnewi. Some of the restaurants to savour the taste of these foods include Mayan Foods, Ogechukwu Evergreen Restaurant, Eat Right Foods, Tetrazzini Food Limited, Kitchen De Royale and Recoboza Café Restaurant.
If you want to feel the ambience and aura of Nnewi, the best place to go is the Nkwo Nnewi Market. The market is busy 24/7 and you can get everything you need. But if you are not inclined to visit the market, you can check out other places to shop and do other businesses like Learning Point, Precious Creation Services and MT Computer Press.
Ogunfowoke Adeniyi, Travel/Technology Writer