By steve anyebe
Texas is the popular local sobriquet in reference to Otukpo town in Benue State, Nigeria. How the town came to adopt the name, honestly, I know not. I grew up to meet it being used by my seniors, probably around the mid-seventies. However, while growing up, I came across Texas of the United States of America (USA). So, invariably, we came to believe that our own Texas was akin to foreign values, things that were rated higher than our own (rightly or wrongly). The origin of the word is shrouded in mystery, but its usage is clearly understood.
In 1992, I was in a Molue bus in Lagos. For those who know Eko well, it was the Orile–Okokomaiko route. I had hardly jumped on the smoky thirty footer rickety bus when someone shouted a greeting at me from a distance. It turned out to be Fred, my childhood friend, who was already inside. He had always had a loud disposition, and lived up to that billing very well on this occasion.
“Man Steveoo!”, he bellowed from up front. Before I could regain my balance from the sudden jerk of the Molue, “when did you come from texas? Good to see you men”, Fred hailed, giving me a thumbs-up simultaneously. All eyes inside the molue turned towards me. Obviously in the minds of the bus passengers I had come back from God’s own country, America. A big deal at the time! A few girls in the bus actually smiled at me. That is if it was not a psychological feeling I had at the time oh.
Knowing however that Fred was referring to Otukpo, but certainly not one to let an opportunity of raising my status slip by, I shouted back at my friend, loud enough even for a deaf person to hear, that it was last week I landed in Lagos. Incidentally I was dressed in a blue jeans jacket atop marching blue jeans trousers, considered to be typical American dress code in those days. No wonder when I unboarded at Iyana Oba, a neatly dressed young man alighted and asked if I could help him procure American Visa.
All over Nigeria, Otukpo (aka texas) has become known as the place to visit if one wants to catch some real good time. The best of palmwine, all kinds of bushmeat(especially grasscutter), astonishingly pretty girls, parties, inexhaustible pounded yam and okoho soup(the unforgettable local soup which only locals can handle but which visitors savour), and lots more. The Christmas period has especially become the time not to miss texas. What with Prince Eddie Ochai and his novel Idoma International Carnival, Face of Idoma Beauty Pageant, Musical Talents Hunt, and many other colourful shows!
Nonetheless, Otukpo town has its unique stories. Each section of this old town has its own unique life and story. In the sixties, the popular areas in Otukpo town were Ojira, Central town, Eupi, Igbanonmaje, Jericho, Entali, GRA, and Asa. These were where the good, the bad, and the ugly could be found in all sizes, colours and shapes. The town has now expanded to include Zone HB, Sabon Gari, New Haven, Atakpa, Down GRA, Olena, Obaganya, Ebologba, Ikobi, Okpobeka, Babylon, Pipeline, Ochito Ghana, Upu, and Otada.
It should be very interesting to know how Otukpo town started and grew into all these segments, each with its own peculiarities, social life, economy, politics, and prospects.
I call on all texans to come let’s tell our own story.
Tell us about your area: the history, the people, the economic and social go life, the politics, the peculiarities and uniqueness, everything.
Locate me on WhatsApp Nos 09049894820 and 08140568402* and let’s get started!
Categories: James Ibechi