Nnewi skyline
Photo: Nnewi.info

Nnewi;  town in Anambra State, Nigeria with a population of 900,000 (2019 est.). Nnewi is virtually dotted with industries of all types and sizes. Many indigenes of Nnewi would explain the town’s rural setting despite the preponderance of industries as unwillingness on the part of authorities concerned to reciprocate what they, in their individual capacities, have put on the ground to make Nnewi an industrial centre for Nigeria’s economic and technological growth.

Nnewi has always been reputed for being a town of dynamic traders and business people. The environment has had a telling effect on their professional inclinations right from the days of their forebears. The town’s land mass is small and not so fertile. Thus, by compulsion, they had to move out of the town and go into trading. But Nnewi’s meteoric rise as an industrial town could be traced to the pre-colonial years when some indigenes became prominent in business ventures spread all over the country. One of the most noticeable of this group was Sir Odumegwu Ojukwu who emerged as a foremost and pioneer transporter in Nigeria. Ojukwu brought in a lot of Nnewi indigenes into the transport business as mechanics, bus conductors, spare parts dealers and so on. As a result of this, the people became fully exposed to the business of transportation and allied services. Subsequently, Nnewi sons such as  Augustine Uodibe of Ekene Dili Chukwu and Chief E.E. Ojukwu of Eekeson dominate transport business in the country. A lot of companies that belong to indigenes of the town are involved in the manufacture of automobile parts. By the start of the Nigerian Civil War, Nnewi indigenes had consolidated their business interests nationwide.

One sour point of the war was the inability of Nnewi indigenes to do business effectively outside their town. Clashes between Nnewi and Onitsha people over trading and other business ventures at Onitsha during and after the War made many of the former to pack bags and baggages back to their town.” The result was a remarkable success. Nnewi metarmophosed into a big commercial centre and is today the home of automobile spare parts in Nigeria. With the coming home of Nnewi indigines to set up business ventures in the town, the stage was thus set for industrial growth. The first Individual to build an industry at Nnewi was one Samuel Anazodo. Anazodo’s efforts failed because foreigners involved with him were not honest. After Anazodo was James Edokwe who had a factory at Onitsha and a satellite at Nnewi.
TELL May 15, 1995

Tope Apoola
Profession: Writer