Good day, thanks for not heeding to the advice of whoever said you should ignore the link to this post. This is entry two of my 7 day challenge which I started yesterday. Big thanks to everyone who took time to check out yesterday’s intro, dropped comments, shared the link and even followed on twitter. God go make una bigger o.
Today I’m going to take you through the only two cities I’ve lived in for more than 3 months at a time, Benin and Port Harcourt. Even though I tried to shorten this, it still came out lengthy. Kindly leave your comments for FREE at the end of the post. You can also get tomorrow’s post and many more directly to your email by subscribing to the blog. Trust me, it takes only 60 seconds.
No thanks to MTN, I couldn’t post this as soon as I was done with it, but then here it is.
Enjoy today’s entry!!!
My tale of two cities, a modern city and an ancient city. One is regarded as the first city to have witnessed the first Portuguese ambassadors, the other is credited with having the first refinery in the country. Ladies and gentlemen… I present without further ado, Benin city and Port Harcourt aka Bengazi and Pitakwa.
THE ANCIENT CITY: Benin City
Benin is the capital of the state known as the Big heart of Nigeria, Edo state. Benin city has a very rich culture that includes the famous Benin bronze heads, the monarch every other monarch wants to learn from; the Oba of Benin. it is also famous for one of the top universities in the country, University of Benin.
My first knowledge of the city came sometime in 2007 when I read a feature on “Tuke tuke” buses, which are the predominant mode of transportation after commercial motorcycles aka “okada”. From that article, I instantly fell in love with the city and when it was time to apply for JAMB, I quickly put in for UNIBEN as my first choice institution and subsequently got it. This was the beginning of my sojourn in the land of the oba.
To the best of my knowledge the city has 3 points entrance; through Asaba (coming in from Onitsha, Abuja, Kaduna etc), through Warri/Sapele (coming in from Port harcourt) and through Ore (when coming from Lagos) when coming in by road. And through several airports and aerodromes with the major airport being the BENIN AIRPORT, where you can find dilapidated ‘Okada Air’ aircraft. It is on record that Benin is the only city in Nigeria with more than 5 airports that doesn’t have an international airport.
The major industry in Benin city is the hospitality industry which it is known for across the globe only matched in Nigeria by former University of Lagos, now MAULAG. It is more of a service thing here (even exported to europe) as there are only a handful of manufacturing industries. Companies that have their factories here include Guiness, Nigeria Breweries, CocaCola, Pepsi etc. You can also find a branch of NPDC and also
Man shall not live by bread alone, so if you ever need a different dish outside Bread, Mama Ebo’s pepper rice is your best bet. Why? This restaurant runs a TVC on EBS almost on a daily basis, they’re good gaan or else you can stick with Mat Ice, Chicken republic or KFC. But then depends on your pocket. By the way, KFC here is Kada Fried Chicken. Beware, be warned.
When it comes to sports, the city is home to the Samuel Ogbemudia stadium which also hosts home matches of local side, Bendel Insurance; the same club that produced Osaze Odemwingie.
Education wise, the city is home to 3 universities namely; UNIBEN, Benson Idahosa University, Wellspring University. *note that there’s only one university with an acronym*
Moving around the city by road doesn’t cost much with fares on most red and yellow ‘tuke tuke’ going for as little as N20 to N50 per drop even with the January 1 fuel increase, but it comes with its attendant discomfort ranging from rainbow painted female faces, robust women, elderly women that will not hesitate to rain abuse on you at the slightest provocation. This is due to the fact that the city’s transport thrives on diesel and the presence of personal airports which make air transport even more preferable. It also has a very good network of roads even though most of them are currently undergoing reconstruction.
If you drive a vehicle and you’ve never driven against traffic, notify me as soon as possible, you will be given free accommodation at “USELU”. It is common place to see people driving against traffic and still claim right of way. Only in Benin.
If you’re unlike me and you love staying glued to your television and you’re not ready to pay for cable tv, you’re bound to be put in a state of boredom whose capital is bigger than the land mass of the former Soviet union. World class television entertainment is provided by EBS, ITV, NTA, Silverbird and AIT; ITV Radio, Raypower, Rhythm, Bronze Fm etc. If you’re reading this from Lagos, its the opposite in terms of quality broadcasting with presenters delivering subliminal errors on a per second billing plan. You don’t want to miss “ITV owewe”
When it comes to healthcare, the city is served mainly by the University of Benin Teaching hospital at Ugbowo, Central hospital at King’s Square and a psychiatric hospital at USELU road.
Yet another feature of Benin city is their answer to Times Square, King’s square, which is actually not shaped as a square but is roundabout. It is home to 77% of all the bats found in Western Africa and the bats are even rumored to number up to the population of China. The bats are the Bini’s equivalent to sacred cows, they cannot be touched as they’re believed to be their ancestors. Around the King’s square you can find the Oba’s palace, the museum in the middle, the house of assembly, the Central Bank of Nigeria annex… In fact, that is the nerve centre of activities.
Music in Benin is supplied by heavyweight record labels like Lockdown Entertainment(which actually refused to give me a job in 2008), EPP Records, Arrow Gang and is even the home town of Sir Victor Uwaifo (his son Alex Wyfi also sings and produces) etc while the most prominent contemporary artistes include Cyrus Tha Virus, Cycloflo, BiggSplash, Slizzy E, Blaq IQ, Mo’Fame, Maleke (who once contested for the house of representatives) etc. Music production is supplied by a bunch of talented individuals including Ray X, Philtown, Docside, Olele, Tyno, Altims, Cyclo Flo etc.
If you’re ever in the mood for some clubbing experience, Hexagon, Indigo, Club Noble, Zee Lounge, Hypnotic etc are at your beck and call. Not forgetting the red light district aka Time Out.
In terms of festivals, the city of Benin plays host to the annual Igue festival which takes place around december.
In summary, Benin city is relatively cheap in terms of living expenses but lack of adequate social amenities or rather lack of malls or even a cinema, has made sure that some boys have not been sent packing to their villages.
Tweeps that stay in this city on my TL include, @Cyrus_thaVirus, @MrbiggSplash, @Mofame_, @Nomskithel, @TeamUNIBEN, @AIESECBENIN, @Cycloflo, @rayconex etc.
THE MODERN CITY: PORT HARCOURT
Port Harcourt, the garden city of Nigeria is the capital of Rivers State. A city that boasts as the Lagos of the South-South and the third most important city in terms of economic strength. It boasts of 3 universities, one refinery, one petrochemical plant, a gas turbine station, a college of arts and science, a school of nursing amongst others.
The city of port harcourt was named after british businessman, Harcourt Whyte (you heard his name in Duncan Mighty’s Port Harcourt 1st son song) while the ‘Port’ comes from the presence of a seaport, one of the only cities in Nigeria to have one.
There are 3 modes of transportation into the city; by air via the Port Harcourt international airport or the Airforce base terminal; by land buses, taxis; by sea via Onne Port or the Port Harcourt port.
What’s the first thing to look out for when you get into Port Harcourt? The answer is Bole, grilled fish and either a combination of roast plantain, yam or potatoes that is finished off with pepper stew, Port Harcourt’s response to Benin’s pepper rice. There are two points where you can find the best of this delicacy; one at Creek road, the other at Elekahia estate, just by the Liberation stadium.
In terms of educational facilities, the city is adorned by model primary school with standard sporting/learning facilities. The city is home to the state owned Ignatius Ajuru University of Education at Rumolumeni, Rivers State University of Science and Technology at Diobu and the federal owned, University of Port Harcourt at Choba.
The major industry present in Port Harcourt are oil related, and no, not palm oil, alomo oil, baby oil or even kernel oil but the same oil that is causing trouble between Farouk and Otedola. Major operators include Shell, Chevron, Elf, Total amongst other local competitors that range from oil servicing firms to supply contractors. It is even rumored that “oil” is the first word any child born in Port Harcourt learns how to pronounce.
Port Harcourt isn’t devoid of its own red light district, Presidential junction and polo club road are the reddest of them all. I even heard offer discounts to non-oil workers.
When it comes to sports, the city is ably represented in the Premier league by state owned teams, Sharks FC and Dolphins FC (twitter @dolphinsfc) while Rivers Angels represents the city in the female league. There are three major stadia in the city namely; Liberation Stadium, Rumuomasi; Adokie Amiesimaka Stadium which was built for the just concluded national sports festival at Omagwa very close to the airport; Sharks stadium at Old Port Harcourt township. Others include Number 6 field in Town etc.
What goes up must come down, but not in Port Harcourt, especially when you refer to the price of goods and services. Unlike Benin, the cost of living in Port Harcourt is high! It is N50 per drop or you drop before you get harassed by a taxi or bus conductor.
Blue and white are the colors on the city’s public transport vehicles with exception of the ESI Lady cabs that were introduced by the wife of the current governor which adorn a sky-blue and yellow paint and were supposed to driven by ladies only but these days ladies now use adidas aftershave, so don’t be surprised when you see a man in the driver’s seat.
Rumor has it that the word rumor was invented in Port Harcourt, if not tell me why 70% of places start with the Rum- prefix, for example, Rumuola, Rumuomasi, Rumuobiokani, Rumuodara, Rumukwurshi, Rumueme and it goes on.
If you stay in Port Harcourt and you ever want to get a landline, then you should know that your phone number is bound to start with 084 unlike Benin’s 052.
Ever heard of the term waterside boy? It has its origins in Port Harcourt due to the countless waterfronts that are found in the city. The most popular waterfronts are in old Port Harcourt town and Diobu especially at Illoabuchi. Expect to also hear, Mile 1, mile 2, mile 3, mile 4 etc.
The government house if lost, can be found at Forces avenue in Old Gra. The state of the art edifice which recently added the 17 floor former “Secretariat” is also known as “The Brick House” and was rebuilt by the Dr. Peter Odili administration.
Fly overs are gradually becoming a common feature in port harcourt but th major one can be found opposite Isaac Boro park along Aba road and was built by the Diette Spiff administration. Others are at Rumuola, Eleme junction, Rumueme junction, Rukpuoku junction etc.
When it comes to healthcare, the city is serviced by several health institutions chief amongst which are University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital, Braithwaite Memorial Specialist Hospital, Niger Hospital and a string of community health centres scattered around the city… Some of which just started functioning.
In terms of nightlife, Port harcourt can be given a fair rating with clubs such as Casablanca, Blue Elephant, Illusions, Angels etc being the most talked about. *add Tavern to this list if you’re reading this in 2006*
Music in Port Harcourt is dominated by the 1st son himself, Duncan Mighty who by the way, has a new single which he featured Jamaican beer, Shaggy; Burnaboy, Ijaw Boyz Allstars, Posh Kayana, Maxi, MI2, DJ Lecture, Danas, Nanas and not forget the one they call Oba Omega who is the etigi master, as they call him. Not forgetting, this is the same city that produced Sir Rexford Lawson of blessed memory. Music production is dominated by the likes of Lerics whose hits include Trumpet ft Davido,Abeg abeg by Burnaboy; M-Yire who is also a member of the Ijaw boys. If you’re reading this in 2005 or earlier, kindly add Sky B, Stone Cold, Dandy Boy, Daniel Wilson, Iana, Soty and the list can go on for as long as possible.
Silverbird and Genesis Deluxe, provide movie goers with the opportunity to see a movie in a cinema with students getting discounts on special days. How I’ve not still gone there still remains a mystery to me.
Its hard to say which the biggest market is but major markets include Creek road market, Mile 1 market and Oil Mill market which opens only on Wednesdays. Rumor has it that you can buy anything ‘okrika’ from Oil Mill market even if they’ve not manufactured it 😐
Home entertainment is supplied by AIT, SilverbirdTv, RSTV and NTA in terms of television. P.S look out for the programme, Tori for Town, on RSTV. Love FM, Rhythm, Cool fm, Wazobia, Radio PH, Raypower, Garden city Radio will make sure you never have a dull moment on radio. P.S. Watch out for the programme, my domot on 91.7 on Radio PH.
I don’t know much about Benin when it comes to land issues, but when it comes to Port Harcourt, don’t be in a hurry to enter a land deal if you’re not ready to pay fees like, “matching ground, community development” etc.
To every commuter, the fear of Timariv, like LASTMA is the beginning of wisdom. These traffic people can arrest you for the slightest mistake. Someone once paid N240,000 as traffic offence, don’t even think of trying to drive against traffic or you would get a forced lodge at Rumuigbo Psychiatric hospital.
*** dne eht***
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And before I forget, Happy birthday to Ebube Victor don’t knock yourself out.
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