Warri markets were like everything else in Warri; they had character. There were several serving the bustling metropolis. And every neighborhood had its own markets.
For Okumagba layout, there was Polokor market and Igbudu. There was also Karien street market for emergency purchases.
Serving Okumagaba estate was Okere market, which was actually the major market for the Okere-Ugborikoko community. It was an “Itsekiri” market. You could get all sorts of produce from the hinterlands of Itsekiri in Okere market.
The market was located on a major road, Esisi road, which swept from Ugborikoko to GRA and as was usual with Nigerian markets, would very often spill into the road, and motorists had to be careful not to drive over the wares displayed daringly by the roadside. Ajamimogha road cut through the centre of the market and extended all the way to the Olu’s Palace area. Okere was mostly for food stuff and groceries.
But there were two markets that fascinated me to no end.
One was Igbudu market. It was rumored that anything you could not buy from Igbudu market did not exist. Igbudu was huge, and one could easily get lost in its labyrinthine interiors. Igbudu had boutiques selling everything imaginable, as well as meat shops displaying freshly slaughtered cattle and everything in between. As I write this I can almost see the fresh looking tomatoes we used to buy from Igbudu market.
The other market I found fascinating was the one known simply as Main market. Main market was the market for more upscale goods, like gold jewelry, coral beads and exotic wrappers and laces. It was to Main market you went if you were planning a wedding and needed to buy uniforms (Aso-ebi). Main market was where you saw market women so gorgeously attired you needed courage to ask, “how much?” We did not go to main market often enough for my liking but I loved those trips.
Main market was on the major road in Warri, the Warri/Sapele road, which we shall talk about another day. It flowed into another market behind; this other market extended all the way to the seaside and this was where you got the freshest, biggest and tastiest shrimps, seafood crabs and exotic seafood. It was known as Ogbe-Ijoh market…to be continued.
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