By Gab Ndu Okpalaeze

Early to bed, early to rise, was part of our nursery rhymes then. But for most inhabitants of Awka, the capital of Anambra state, those rhymes have been confined to the dustbin of history. It is for them early to bed, late to rise.

Have you taken time to check on the pattern of economic activities in the ancient black-smith town of Anambra, which some thirty one years ago emerged the capital city of the new Anambra state? If you have, you would have noticed that Aroma Junction, the socio-economic hot-bed of the city, comes to life barely few minutes to eight o’clock in the morning. This is a sharp contrast when compared with Onitsha, which wakes up about four hours earlier.

Indeed, Nkpor Junction, Upper Iweka, Ose Okwodu and other strategic areas of Onitsha come alive with commercial enterprises and other economic activities, as early as half past four in the morning, everyday.

By that time, the hardworking women  from Orumba-Aguata axis, or Nnobi-Umuoji area, have already arrived in town with their fresh vegetables, palm oil, fruits and other food stuff. Meat dealers are already transporting their goods from the Umunya abattoir, Oye-Olisa, Afor-igwe and other such slaughter houses, to the commercial capital of Anambra. Trust the resilient fish dealers who have traversed many communities to ferry their fresh fishes from Omambala, Ogbahu, etc to Ose market Onitsha, from where they redistribute to retailers, at that hour of the morning.

The vast area that has become Onitsha and its environs are woken up by the hooting of horns and dazzling lights of commercial vehicles, accompanied by loud shouts of Ose Main Market-Ose, Nkpor - Toll Gate- by Express, etc, on daily basis. 

By the time all these things are happening at the same time, you would not need any other sign to know that Onitsha has woken up for the day’s socio-economic engagements, which significantly contribute to the growth of the national economy.

Compare this with the seemingly no-skin-pain posture of Awka and you would appreciate the economic sense our people make by rising up early to face the challenges of putting food on the table of their families Monday-Sunday. But you cannot say this with certainty of Awka, despite the street lighting project of the Obiano administration that has put away darkness and fears.

The area is peopled by essentially public servants and it is a university community too. It is not easily discernible whether it is the ‘white collar job’ syndrome of the workers in Awka that influence the artisans, traders and even professionals, like pharmacists, doctors, lawyers, etc, or it is the other way round.

But the bottom-line is that you can hardly get any attention were you to need the services of a lawyer, pharmacies or kiosk in most parts of Awka capital city, if it is ‘too early’ in the day.

It has always been a mix grill of laughter and disappointment, watching the empty streets, locked up shops and markets, as their owners sleep away their time, waiting for the town to come alive on her own, by eight O' clock in the morning!

 At the end of the day, the socio-economic life of all residents are somehow affected, and it would seem, more on the minus side#

From Awka, Anambra State, this is Gab Ndu Okpalaeze, trying to make some little kobo-kobo economic sense.###



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