There were four market days in Aguluezechukwu and Aguluezechukwu Market was considered one of the biggest in the environs of Aguata in the olden days as far back as 1900 (AD).
The markets were – Nkwo, Nwaolie (Oye), Nwafor-lsigwu and Eke – Otalu, there are still open squares in the idols where they operated. In those days every market is associated with one idol or the other.
In those market squares, shrines were built and the chief priests of those idols remains to offer sacrifices to the idols and receive offerings from people who come to pay homages to the idols. The chief priests of those idols were highly regarded and respected.
The influence of those chief priests added powers to the idols. The idols will be powerful if the chief priests is powerful.
When Nwafor Isigwu tickled, only condiments and oil palm wine “nkwu-enu” were sold occasionally.
“Eke-otalu” operated in the space created in the bush where Otalu shrine was, pagans go there mainly to offer sacrifices. The “Eke-Otalu” was after sometimes shifted to where late Chief Ezechiedo was living in front of his premises, by the side of his shrine
Aguluezechukwu/Ogboji Road. The main aim of establishing the market was to create a forum for selling raffia palm wine and mats for building mathours, bamboos and condiments were also sold. The sale of wine was and is a daily affair and needed daily market. Only the Aros tapped raffiawine “ngwo” then. The Aros live very close to late chief Ezechiedo environ.
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Oil palm wine was then tapped by Aguluezechukwu indigenes and the wine is shared by the tappers and the owner of the palms on equal basis in alternative market days Eke and Afo. The proceeds on Nkwo and Oye are for the tapper.
After some times, the “Eke-Otalu” was transferred to the site where Udokogu Hall is today. The site was given by late Chief Ezenwabachili Anafesi Onyenwe”.
The market trickled for some years. The “Eke-Otalu” was lastly transferred to Obi-Ezeanyim open square. It is called “Ozulu” of “nwaolie” market now. Chief Ezechiedo who showed the site for the Ozulu needed to be remembered.
He lived very long and was the oldest man in Aguluezechukwu then. Because of his long stay, an adage -“as old as Ezechiedo” was established. One of his illustrous sons, Mr. Wilfred Ezechiedo, who was among the first literate sons of Aguluezechukwu became a teacher. He was the first general chairman of Aguluezechukwu and late Mr. B. A. Udechukwu was his able secretary: Late Mr. W. Ezechiedo lived long as his father.
The daily market for the sale of other articles and condiments is presently at Nwaolie market square.(in front of Obi Ezeanyim). It operates daily except on Nkwo market day. On Nkwo market days, Ozulu sits at Nkwo market square, starting from early in the morning till evening. Now, market days are regarded as great day in the town.
The first market established in Aguluezechukwu was Nwaolie by Uga people who first settled round the vicinity of Omelenyi spot. The Nwaolie market operated for years and continues. After sometimes, it was transferred to Aguata at the very site where the Aguata Health Centre is, in about 1918; on request by Aguata workers. It was then known and called Nwaolie Aguata.
The market operated there for some years. It could not sit well because the site was far from the inhabitants of Aguluezechukwu who produces the food items sold. Carrying the food items and wine there became wasted energy for them.
The town decided and transferred the Nwaolie market to its present site at Obi Ezeanyim. The Government also demanded the Aguata site for further expansion. Towns around only came to buy and not to sell. The town, Aguluezechukwu, produced what she sell.
They concentrated more in farm work, wine tapping, hunting, palm fruit processing, basket making and some other local crafts. Animals like goats, sheep, dogs and fowls were also sold. Meat was occasionally sold bush meat and dead animals.
At this time there are provision stores built by the sides of the markets and along both sides of our major roads where daily sales are made.
Aguluezechukwu Market :Nkwo Market
A market was established in Ifite, Aguluezechukwu, and it was given the name “Nkwo” to serve as second market as it was in Uga. The two markets in Aguluezechukwu were named after the two major markets in Uga.
Ifite was given the right to serve as the chief priest to Nkwo deity, and men from Ifite ministered to Nkwo market. “Nkwo market was taken to be the main market in Aguluezechukwu to match with the major “Nkwo” market in Uga. Nkwo deity as well as the environment was large. Social activities were organized there. Nkwo and Nwaolie markets alternated every other day.
Nkwo market day was a great day in the past. Men and women do not go to distant farms to work on Nkwo market day.
Women will prepare, and arrange those articles they will sell and carry them to the market and display them. Those articles are carried in round basket (Nkata) and long baskets- (Abo) Every woman tries to reach the market in time to display her goods for sale.
The stalls were the shades of tall big trees. The women protected their heads with long and curved shaped baskets called sun “Mkpukpu” and rain. made Men with remains spear in grasses. groups wives Those to share and baskets gives wine protected them they bought. wine them to drink.
sharing the wine the men calls their Elderly women were given wine in their Women regards that a great thing. “Nwonya”. The women continued to sell small calabash containers called and buy till evening when the people began to disperse from the market.
It was a bad thing for a woman to be the last person to leave the market. When such a woman reaches home, it will create a great problem and such a woman must be punished by the husband for coming home late.
In those early days ladies do not go to the market to buy and sell, until they enter womanhood. Those ladies will come near “Nkwo” market square and remain there. Then from there, they will send messages to their mothers in the market to give them some food items to prepare for the night.
The ladies take those things and go home and prepare them, leaving soup making for the mothers. After that, the ladies will prepare camwood ‘ufie and edo’ which serve as make up and keep.
They will sweep the compound that evening again to obtain the mothers praises when they return from the market. If there were moonlight, the ladies will gather themselves in groups to go to the stream to fetch water.
The principal foods in those days were yams, cocoyam, breadfruit, maize and beans prepared in different forms. Cassava was not plenty. Many homes were not taking it. Rice when introduced, was taken about two or three times a year on great festivals.
On ‘Nkwo’ market day, if there were moonlight, ladies and young men will go out after supper to organise and enjoy moonlight plays. Youths enjoy moonlight plays.
Some old men and women will also come out in the compounds to tell folks tales to their children. Such folks tales (Akuko ifo) were always educative and the tales helped the children to develop their senses.