If you thought you lived in a Nigeria with no amazing cities, you may want to take another ride around the country. Indeed, most of the cities across the country are known for their ‘busy lifestyles’, also for their architecture, scenery, cultural heritage and the ‘life of the party’. This is why we’ve come up with a list of the most beautiful cities in Nigeria, in no particular order:
Ibadan is well-known as an ancient city and is the capital of Oyo. If you wanted to talk about the history of the Yoruba people, you may need to visit Ibadan to be immersed in rich Yoruba cultures and traditions. It is located on seven hills (average elevation 700 feet [200 metres]) about 100 miles (160 km) from the Atlantic coast and is one of the most populous cities in the country. It is not a city of remote antiquity but is highly metropolitan and urbanised.
Recorded history of Ibadan begins in 1829 after the region was jounced by extended inter-tribal wars. In that year, the victorious armies of the Ife, Ijebu, and Oyo kingdoms camped at Ibadan and formed the nucleus of the modern city. Today, Ibadan is an administrative centre that houses the Oyo State Secretariat. It is also a centre for different ideas; a home to people of different cultures with the indigenous core of the population still preserving its identity.
Lagos is widely known as the core of the country’s economy and most likely the city with the most diverse of cultural mixtures. Lagos houses about 15 million people within the city and is the second-largest in Africa after Kinshasa. The Lagos metropolitan area has a total population of 21.3 million, making it the second-largest metropolitan area in Africa, after Cairo. It is also the 4th largest economy in Africa, bounded on the west by the Republic of Benin, to the north and east by Ogun with the Atlantic Ocean providing a coastline on the south.
By the late 15th century, Lagos Island had been settled by Yoruba fishermen and hunters, who called it Oko. The area was dominated by the kingdom of Benin, which called it Eko, from the late 16th century to the mid-19th century. Until December 1991, it was the federal capital of Nigeria. Ikeja replaced Lagos as the state capital, and Abuja replaced Lagos as the federal capital. Lagos, however, remained the unofficial seat of many government agencies.
It is one of the fastest-growing cities in the world and also one of the most populous urban agglomerations in the world. Lagos is a major financial centre in Africa; has the highest GDP, and also houses one of the largest and busiest ports on the continent. This is the city with a morning, afternoon and night life – the one that never sleeps.
Popularly known as a ‘coal city’ for its mining activities, Enugu is not a destination to overlook – Enugu is one of the places that have historical secrets hidden in every corner, begging to be discovered. The city is one of the oldest urban areas within the eastern region, is known for agriculture, along with the mining of coal and other solid minerals. Enugu is also for its notable tourist destinations like Awhum Waterfall and the famous Nmanwu Cultural Festival. The city is highly commercialised and life in Enugu is like living in a fast lane. The city is popular for its cuisine, robust industries and of course, the local palm wine.
Calabar, formerly Old Calabar, is the capital of Cross River. It lies along the Calabar River, 5 miles (8 km) upstream from that river’s entrance into the Cross River estuary. It was originally named Akwa Akpa, in the Efik language.
Calabar has long been an educational centre. Its first church school, established by the Rev. Hope Waddell of the Free Church of Scotland in 1846, helped influence the Ekpe secret society to pass a law (1850) prohibiting human sacrifice. By the mid-19th century, after the waning of the slave trade, Old Calabar’s economy had become based on the export of palm oil and palm kernels.
Calabar is often described as one of the most interesting tourist places in Nigeria, especially due to several initiatives implemented during the administration of Donald Duke (1999–2007), which made the city the cleanest and most environmentally friendly city in Nigeria.
Port Harcourt is the capital, largest city, and port town of Rivers. It is located along the Bonny River. In 2006, Port Harcourt boasted a population of 1,005,904 people making it the 5th most populous city in Nigeria. Port Harcourt is a leading industrial centre, has a rich culture and the history of Port Harcourt can be appreciated in many notable buildings and sites throughout the city.
The port was constructed in 1912 by Frederick Lugard, so as to export coal from the mines near Enugu, Nigeria. Prior to the creation of the port, the area was occupied by the Ijo and Ikwere people.
When crude oil was discovered nearby in 1956, the port became the centre of the country’s oil economy. As that industry continued to expand in the post-Nigerian independence era (after 1960), Port Harcourt underwent modernisation and expanding urbanisation as it became Nigeria’s second-largest seaport and the major commercial centre in eastern Nigeria.
Once known as the neatest city in Nigeria, Uyo is called beautiful due to its serene and peaceful environment. The inhabitants are predominantly farmers and traders. With the increased level of infrastructural growth and human development, Uyo is definitely a place to look out for. The town also has a brewery and a textile mill.