Owerri is a city in southeastern Nigeria. It is the capital of Imo State and is set in the heart of the Igboland. It currently has a population of about 231,789
and is approximately 40 square miles in area.
The Owerri Slogan is Heartland.
Owerri was the capital of the Republic of Biafra
in 1969. The capital of the secessionist state was continuously being moved as Nigerian troops captured the older capitals. Enugu
, and Umuahia
were the other capitals before Owerri.
Owerri was founded by a man called Ekwema Arugo
. He was the son of Uratta and was forced to leave because he committed an unpardonable sin. Uratta had eight sons namely Orji, Owaelu, Owalla, Umuori, Umunahu, Okwu, Umuoba and Owerri. Umundula is not named separately because it is related to Orji, just as Owerri was not named separately because he was related to Owalla. The proper name of this village is Owere
. In Igboland
, there are several places called Owere. However, this particular Owere village is the most popular. In Igbo language
, Owere means an open place of habitation. Ekwema Arugo, who founded Owere, had five children. These children constitute the five hamlets of Owere village namely:
The ancestor Ekwema Arugo first settled at a place called Ugwu Ekwema. In remembrance of Ekwema Arugo, Owere people have a special celebration called Oru Owere. The festival is usually conducted at Ugwu Ekwema.
The current Eze or traditional ruler of Owere is Dr.Emmanuel Emenyeonu Njemanze of the Njemanze Dynasty. He is titled the Ozuruigbo V of Owere.
Transport and Trade
Owerri has an airport 14 miles southeast of the city, called the Imo Airport
which provides service to Abuja
, Port Harcourt
, and Enugu
. Right now, it serves as an alternate for Port Harcourt
, but it does not serve international purposes. Some major roads that go through the city are; Port Harcourt Rd., Aba Rd., Onitsha Rd., and Okigwe Rd. Roads within the city are; Douglas Rd., Weathral Rd., Tetlow Rd., and Works Rd. Eke Ukwu Owere market is the main market in Owerri.
Owerri sits in the rain forest and produces many agricultural products, such as yams, cassava, taro, corn, rubber and palm products.
Important educational institutions in Owerri include Imo State University
, Federal University of Technology Owerri
, Federal College of Land Resources Oforola, Seat of Wisdom Seminary Owerri
, Alvan Ikoku College of Education
, Federal Government Girls College Owerri
, Owerri Girls Secondary School
, Government Secondary School Owerri
, Development Secondary School Owerri
, Emmanuel College Owerri
, Holy Ghost College Owerri
, Community Secondary School Oforola Owerri, Federal Politechnic Nekede Owerri, Government Technical collge Owerri, Army Day Secondary School Obinze Owerri etc
The soccer clubs Arugo F.C., Heartland F.C., and Papillo F.C. are based in Owerri.
As in most of Igboland, Christianity is the dominant religion. The Catholics and Anglicans have the largest followings and Owerri is home to Assumpta Cathedral, seat of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Owerri (Latin: Archidioecesis Overriensis).
The Seat of Wisdom Seminary is in Owerri.
The archdiocese covers an area of 2,996 km². 670,986 of the 1.7 million people in the area are member of the Catholic church.
- (Dr Tony Emeka Abara) - prominent veterinarian and business man