By Ezeakukwu Emmanuel Nsoedo
The name Nnewi evokes curiosity in a lot of people of different ancestry and tribes. But, unfortunately, it is mainly subjected to numerous interpretations, albeit erroneously inclined to make assumptions that do not come close to describing the people of Nnewi in practical terms.
Nnewi, the land of gold, is metaphorical in the representation of bountifulness in both wealth and the real gold that used to adorn the shrine Of the Edo goddess’ shrine.
The overwhelming perception of Nnewi people is often ascribed to being business people or at best, traders that may or may not have formal education. Of course, this is one of the misplaced assumptions of the people.
In fact, the general assumptions of people from different tribes, and to some extent, a many people of Igbo tribes that live far away from the town equally do associate the successes of people of Nnewi’s descent to the use of supernatural means to acquire money.These were often displayed in the movies, to which many people have internalized to be a reflection of reality when dissecting the formula in the pursuit of life’s success as ascribed to Nnewi people.
In reality, Nnewi people are very talented, and this talent is imbued to being a people very adept at being tenacious in pursuit of a goal. This attribute may not be so unique to Nnewi people alone; however, a significant percentage of Nnewi people are deemed more successful than most people of other towns. That does not translate to Nnewi people possessing a unique magic wand to achieve more success than others in life’s pursuit.
Traditionally, there is the Nnewi fable to explain away the penchant for Nnewi people to possess wealth far more than their contemporaries. This is the aspect that they dedicate to the Edo goddess. The story portrayed obedient and dedicated children who devoted themselves to serving and adoring their mother, Edo, during her lifetime. Edo had thus blessed her off springs with riches besides ensuring lasting protection from any harm.
The history of Nnewi has been marked by continuous success going from generation to generation. In every evolutionary trend, the Nnewi people have continued to achieve better than the next best group of their peers in most endeavors they participate in. For example, despite the lack of government support in attracting infrastructure and development in Nnewi, the people of Nnewi have been able to do whatever it takes to ensure the presence of facilities in the town through self-help. But beyond that, their achievements have been astronomical in comparison with any ethnic group in the world. The former military president, General Ibrahim Babangida dubbed Nnewi “the Japan of Africa”. That aptly describes the level of ingenuity of the Nnewi people.
The reality behind the success of the Nnewi people ought not to be examined in light of written work since the reading culture has dramatically diminished. Still, for better understanding by a wider society of persuasions, we believe it should be pursued through a widely- circulated visual medium beyond immediate Nigeria’s environment to the rest of the world.
Since the Nnewi people’s catchment area is the entire planet, why not some of her people or some smart folks take up the challenge of telling the real story behind her successes? Meanwhile, our newspaper will be exploring some of the attributes in the coming days that form the bedrock of Nnewi’s success story.