In this post, I have shared my not-so-good experience at Heroes’ Square Owerri, Imo State, Nigeria.
There is no better way to explain how I’ve schooled in Owerri for five years and I’m still struggling to find my way around town, not to mention hearing of, and/or visiting certain places.
On Sunday, I had a friend who came all the way from Lagos to explore our little town. Nikeh is a Nigerian traveler and travel content creator who has been in the industry for over a couple of years. I have been inspired by her a lot, so as she mentioned sightseeing in Owerri, I was interested in tagging along. You may visit her travel blog here.
On the top of our list were Heroes’ Square Owerri and Maria Assumpta Cathedral, Owerri Archdiocese. The latter did not let us in because our dress code did not meet their standard. So, we went blithely on our way to Heroes’ Square.
About Heroes’ Square Owerri
The Heroes’ Square Owerri (also called Ojukwu’s Center) is a Park in town that consists of a mini stadium and the statues of past leaders erected by the past Imo State governor, Rochas Okorocha, to celebrate the good works they have done for their countries and the African continent as a whole. It was meant to be one of the tourist attractions in the town of Owerri.
Related: A Visit to Aba Nigeria Temple
Locating Heroes’ Square Owerri
Luckily for us, we had my friend, Temple, and his friend with us on the tour, and Temple knew the exact location of the Park. From Maria Assumpta Cathedral’s second gate, (the one that is far off from Control roundabout) we turned left, towards Port Harcourt Road. It took a few minutes to get to Heroes’ Square junction, which is the second junction on our left from the Cathedral.
The area is called New Owerri. We plied the straight road for some more minutes and passed through what looked like an entrance or exit gate until we got to Heroes’ Square on our right.
It was exciting sighting the gigantic statues from afar, and we made our way to the ticketing house to pay for a tour. Unfortunately and fortunately, the house was empty. That meant two things, one, we couldn’t get tickets to see the place. And two, we wouldn’t have to pay to see the place.
We had heard entry to Heroes’ Square was free, therefore, seeing the ticketing house was an initial turnoff. But we went through anyway because there was no one to query us.
Beside the ticketing house was a path that led up to where the statues stood magnificently. Upclose, the monuments were large, way larger than I could have ever imagined.
Something happened as we were watching the statues and identifying the faces. We couldn’t understand or place a story behind the statues of these supposed Heroes. What qualified them to be there? Why were President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and Kwame Nkrumah there and Nelson Mandela wasn’t? My buddies were particularly pissed when they saw the statue of President Muhammadu Buhari erected with grace and respect at the end of the line.
When we toured to our satisfaction and were about to take pictures of ourselves, two men walked in and hollered at us. Walking up to one of them, he appeared annoyed at the fact that we trespassed. We tried explaining things, but he wouldn’t take it. And he asked us to leave.
We didn’t bother asking that he let us stay for a little more time since there was nothing else to see. But on our way out, we noticed a picturesque tunnel and couldn’t keep our faces front and leave as we were told without stealing a picture or two. I took a video of Nikeh, and was about to switch phones for mine when the man caught us again and told us we weren’t allowed to take pictures unless we paid him.
It felt strange paying any sum to someone who we couldn’t even identify as a guard or a guide in a property that is owned by the Imo State government. But since we came all the way and needed to take pictures, we negotiated with him and paid the sum of N1000 to snap for as long as we wanted.
Heroes’ Square Owerri – My Two Cents
Heroes’ Square was a nice place but I felt it could be better. The grasses were overgrown, some of the statues didn’t have names, there was no guide to tell us the story behind the Heroes, and obviously no identifiable ticket official. The men we and some other guys had paid to could have been anyone from anywhere. It only took an angry face and some thick Igbo accent for us to get sold.
Nevertheless, the pictures and videos we got were things to hold onto while we mourn our last 1k.
Have you ever been to the Heroes’ Square Owerri? If yes, how was your experience? Someone here might do with a little conviction. If not, is this somewhere you would like to visit?