Dei Dei Market Abuja and Igbo Traders Evolution


When I first went to Abuja to join a part of my family after secondary school,Lt Gen Useni was the FCT Minister.His Minister of State was Dr Ikejiani-Clark.A lot of people from the East were selling building materials in containers by the roadsides and FCDA was having trouble getting them off the major Abuja roads.Then the building materials market union leaders gathered one Sunday and went to Mrs Ikejiani with a keg of palm wine and kolnuts.”Nne,kedu nke I ga ano ebea,a na achughari umu nne gi etua?(Mother,how can you be here and they are chasing your kinsmen up and down)Give us a land to build a market for building materials bikonu. We beg you in the name of God”.

That is how Dei-Dei International Building Materials market came about.Some doubters refused to pay for the allocation slots while many paid for multiple allotments in that bush that later became a market.

Among the first people selling steel rods in Dei-Dei were men like Nwora and Ukachukwu.I still remember Ukachukwu’s motorcycle at the time.I also remember Nwora’s pickup van that he used to transport rebars for his customers at a reduced price.The boys doing the traditional Igbo apprenticeship with him were my friends;Itego,Obiora,Afam et al.

Twenty years later,both traders and hundreds of others from Dei Dei market became richer than the FCT Ministers who built that market.Chief Nworah is the highest private property developer in Abuja.He is the CEO of EFAB estates.He has a street named after him in Abuja and received national honours.
Chief Ukachukwu is the CEO of Snecou Group.He is also a renowned property developer and one time National Assembly member.Both of them are from Anambra.I think they are 100 times richer than those former Ministers of FCT.Dr Ikejiani died in 2011 while Lt Gen Useni is now a Senator(not sure).

Do you know why I told this story?Did you learn anything from it?



Mbe Nwaniga

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