I don’t know if many of you know this, but I lived in Abuja for 2 and a half years before moving abroad for University and life sort of happened from there. I moved to Abuja for my physiotherapy internship at the National Hospital in Central Area. I shared a flat with someone I met at work and she became Aunty Joke. We lived on the outskirts of town in a residential development called Gwarimpa, and as such, Utako market which was about 10 – 15minutes drive away was my local market. For someone who grew up in Lagos and was used to huge, bustling, borderline manic markets, utako was a welcome and refreshing difference. It wasn’t massive, you could do your business in under an hour if you so desired, the market stalls were close to each other i.e. you could buy meats in one minute and next door is the woman selling vegetables. That inane walking around associated with many Lagos markets used to dig my head in. Big Oladunni should never read this. Lol.
I moved out of Abuja in 2009, and despite visiting twice since then, I never got the chance to go to Utako market. Thanks to my trip to Abuja courtesy Red Chilies restaurant, I got the fantastic opportunity to shop in my beloved Utako market again, and I had such a good time, I didn’t want to leave. I may be romanticising it, but, please bear with me. I hadn’t been there since 2009 and nostalgia was hitting me in waves. Because i was shopping on a Sunday, first thing i noticed was it wasn’t as busy, which was fine for me. It allowed me to spend as much time as i would like in the market, gisting with the traders, and generally taking all the sights and sounds of Utako market. From deliberately going to buy a can of Maltina so that i could change a 500 Naira note to give a beggar selling alms 250 naira, to sitting down and gisting with a crayfish seller about the voting patterns of the east during the last election, to conversing with a vegetable seller who was shocked about my knowledge of Igbo soups and said I must marry an Igbo man (insert Big Oladunni screaming, hahahahaha).
Utako market is a cross between a modern market with shops and the traditional open air market with stalls. All fresh ingredients are sold from stalls which are concentrated in one area, well except for the front of the market which has mini stalls of people who sell fresh fruit, plastic bags and the yummiest roasted groundnut ever. It was at this outside area that I saw this beauty below, which someone called a Bouquet of Ponmo on Instagram
I can’t visit all the markets alone, so if you would like to contribute to this feature of the site, i.e. if you would like to be a DK Market Reporter, no matter where in the world that you live, please let me know. I will provide login details for you to write a feature, upload your pictures, which will be vetted by the Editor, and then go live.