Maria Ude Nwachi, nee Egwu is a jazzy and snazzy young lady. Popularly known as Afikpo Chic, she left New York City in 2006 to return to her homeland, Afikpo and establish one the largest and most exquisite facilities in Igbo land. Named Maria Island Resort, Afikpo Chic revels in her love for her hometown, Afikpo as well as Igboland as a whole. Also the coordinator of the most popular Facebook page in Nigeria, Afikpo Chicexplains unveils the resort to Jungle Journalist even as she challenges Igbos worldwide to give up the idea of developing the Diaspora at the expense of Igboland:
What was your motive in establishing Ndi Igbo social forum on Facebook?
I have always been someone who likes to brag about where I come from. It’s just who I am. In fact, due to this obsession, I am most happy when I’m addressed as Afikpo Chic. I am usually as happy as a lark when I am in my village. I am out of my mind with joy. Even my jeans and other wears are customized with the words “Afikpo Chic”! I will say “Afikpo or Nothing, Afikpo is the best, Afikpo this, Afikpo that’, so then I created a forum called “Afikpo people” on Facebook and it became an instant hit then. But when I searched for something about Igbo people, I could not find anything good enough or big enough on Igbo, and Facebook has become so big then. So I decided to do something about that. So I created the page to create an awareness, for people to be proud of being Igbo- ‘Igbo this, Igbo that, Igbo for life, you know’.
Another big reason is the development of Igboland. Already, I had set a good example because I feel I have the bona fides to tell people to come and develop Igboland- I had already done that. I have already put over a billion naira worth property in my village, and I felt that I have the qualifications to say, ‘hey guys, come do the same’. I built a sort of island home; I had always wanted to build a good structure in Igbo land, particularly my village, Afikpo. The complex is literally done, except for one section, which I intend to use as a hotel. Since then I have been travelling.
|Afikpo Chic poses for at Club de Maria|
“Ndi Igbo are being held hostage in this country by our own investments. Nothing can fall in place till this is fixed. Even if we have a president of Igbo extraction, it’s not going to solve anything in this particular issue. Igbos can’t talk, they can’t make kpim because of their investments”
|Leading to a back gate|
I built the first night club in my state, Ebonyi. It was a platform I felt I could use to tell Igbos to please come home and develop home. What is going on now in Igboland is sickening. An Igbo young man will leave Igboland, go to Lagos, Kaduna, Kano or wherever before he can make it. There is nothing going on there, all our big boys, all the rich men are busy developing Lagos, Kaduna, Kano and Abuja. I, Afikpo Chic, I built mine at home with my own small money. Because of what I did, a lot of Afikpo big boys are now coming home and building businesses and building homes. But I challenge Igbo businessmen to beat what I have done in Igboland. I am only a woman, and I have 11 massive structures. Try it, Umu Igbo, this is a challenge. Come and beat Afikpo Chic, come and beat my island. So, that’s one of the reasons I started the Ndi Igbo page. Then I got pregnant in 2009, and it incapacitated me from my business, but it gave me the time to sit down and start working on my page. It was then that I really developed it.
|The Nite Club|
After nine months, I hired a couple of admins that are on payroll. As I talk to you, there are 10 admins on payroll, and costs me about N300, 000 a month to run. But the bottom line is that we have done so well that Ndi Igbo page has become the number one Facebook page in Nigeria. It’s not easy. This page has brought Igbos together mote than anything else has done in a very long while- I don’t remember anything playing that role.
|Playing with her boy, Okochi|
|Leading to the club! 1st entrance.|
|Lead and Let Live Gate|
|Lounge and Gardens|
|Driveway and parking space|
|Who’s this hot Igbo babe!!!|
|Okochi, the ‘king’ of Maria Resort|
|Massive entrance area|
|The hotel under construction|
|Closer view of Club de Maria|
|Exclusive de Maria|
|Ada Igbo ji eje mba, Afikpo Chic|
|Strolling the compound|
|Taking a shot|
|And one more..|
What is Maria Island Resort like?
|In the lush-green gardens of Maria Resort|
Maria Island Resort is something I just thought of while I was in America. I just told my people to look for a vast land and buy it. They bought a huge land, about 45 plots. I put up my private facility, where I live, then there is a guest house, then a night club where people hold weddings. The outside of the night club is really beautiful. I did it because I wanted Igboland to be developed. That thing that is in America, that is in London, in Lagos and Abuja should be in my home land. That is why I want to tell my people, Ndi Igbo that the only way we will amount to anything in Nigeria, in this world is by making Igboland livable. If they make Igboland a place to live, a place to work, then we have some hope. If not, Igbo man should just forget all of their aspirations. If they do not make Igbo land livable, if they do not stop this shameful, mass migration of Igbo brains outside Igboland- going to Ibadan, to Kano, to Port Harcourt, going to places they hate them where their properties are not safe, hmmm. But even if their property is safe, if their own land is unlivable, if others cannot migrate to Igbo land, we are doomed. The only solution an Igbo man has is to make a conscious effort to develop our home. I think this thing should start with the governors, but the way I look at it, I don’t trust them. As am talking to you, Peter Obi of Anambra State has built the number one mall in Africa in Abuja. Just imagine that. Is Abuja not the headquarters of Boko Haram?
|A section of the living quarters|
I hate to say this here, but from my discoveries, T.A. is a very tribalistic governor, in the sense that he can close his eyes and say, its Igbo land or nothing. Whether you like T.A or not, I am telling you that the only Igbo governor that is very Igbotic, Igbogborigbo– village governor like T.A doesn’t exist. He is the only governor that can say, ‘okay, let’s do it, but it must be in Igbo. I don’t know what to tell you, but Ndi Igbo are being held hostage in this country by our own investments. Nothing can fall in place till this is fixed. Even if we have a president of Igbo extraction, it’s not going to solve anything in this particular issue. Igbos can’t talk, they can’t make kpim because of their investments. They are like women in this matter.
|T. A. Orji|
“From my discoveries, T.A. is a very tribalistic governor, in the sense that he can close his eyes and say, its Igbo land or nothing. Whether you like T.A or not, I am telling you that the only Igbo governor that is very Igbotic, Igbogborigbo- village governor like T.A doesn’t exist. He is the only governor that can say, ‘okay, let’s do it, but it must be in Igbo”.
Can we compare Maria Resort to Obudu Cattle Ranch?
Actually, this is coming from one person, which is me, a woman, with my small money to compare with Obudu where one billion dollars is just a small thing. Its coming from one person with one head o, a girl for that matter. But with that small money, its quite something else. The Maria Island Resort is a structure to behold by any standard on earth.i am not bragging because you are a journalits and I want you to write me a fat story, no, this is for real. Its there in the pictures and pictures don’t lie. So, Maria Island is a result of my desire to do something in Igboland, ‘that thing wey dem dey build for Londo, for Nu Yor, for Vitoria Isla, Lekky, I want am for my village’. But the most important things is, ‘hello, Igbo men, this is a girl talking, you will never be a full man in this Nigeria, until you go home and build your own house. They will always hold you hostage. Dear Igbo men, listen to me, na me dey talk, you will never be a full man. You will be like a woman, yeah.
|Maria Ude Nwachi|
“If you no come develop your land, go dey gallivant for another man’s land, talk anyhow there make you see anyhow. And you know, that why you don’t talk, kpim”.
If somebody comes and says that an igbo girl has been raped by a Yoruba guy in Lagos, what are you people going to do? You will hold a meeting and say, lets solve this problem. Because if you don’t, you wan show yourself. It’s not your land. They are holding you hostage- the Hausa, the mba mmiri (Riverine states), Yoruba, they are all holding the Igboman hostage. How long are you going to live that kind of life? Start your Biafra now, it’s very simple for you, instead of complaining no one is giving you Biafra. The Biafra that needs to start right away is Igbos making a conscious effort to go back home. Even if its 50 % you need to take home, you can invest that, and turn Igbo land tyo a place that any son or daughter of Igboland can go back there and work, live comfortably with your children. That is what this Facebook page, Ndi Igbo is doing, and it is working. If not, Igbo is doomed. That is what am telling you. That is just it. Right now, if we put a building and claim that so so ans so igbo man built this in Lagos, the insults they will heap on you, the curse dem go curse you eh, you go know say na your mama born you. So its already working in a way, but its going to take time. So this is my letter to dear Igbo men.
If you come develop your land, go dey gallivant for another man’s land, talk anyhow there make you see anyhow. And you know, that why you don’t talk, kpim.