BRIEF HISTORY OF DELTA STATE
The area called Delta State was once an integral part of the old Western Region of Nigeria. It became an autonomous entity on August 27, 1991 after having been part of the old Midwestern State (1963 1976) and the defunct Bendel State (1976 1991).
Delta State was created from the then Bendel State 27th August 1991 by the then regime of General Ibrahim Babangida. Delta State is named after the delta region of the River Niger. It’s capital is Asaba.
Warri is the biggest commercial city in the state. Other major towns are Agbor, Ughelli, Oleh, Ozoro, Oghara, Sapele, Koko, Burutu, Okpanam and Ogwashi-ukwu. Delta State can be considered a miniature version of Nigeria, with various ethnic groups.
Delta State shares common boundaries with Edo and Ondo States to the north west, Imo and Anambra to the north east, Rivers and Bayelsa States to the south east. In the south west and south it has approximately 122 kilometres of coastline bounded by the Bight of Benin on the Atlantic ocean.
Delta State started with twelve local government areas. These were split further into nineteen local governments on September 27, 1991, and to twentyfive LGAs in 1997. Asaba, located at the northern end of the state, is the capital. A master plan for Asaba Capital Territory, with an estimated area of 762 sq. km and designed to transform Asaba into a modern metrop olis, is being pursued by the state government.
ABRAKA TURF AND COUNTRY CLUB
The Abraka Turf and Country Club is located in Abraka and features a horse club where an international polo tournament takes place every year during Easter.
It is surrounded by a rich tropical rainforest and bordered by the River Ethiope. You can lodge in the several villas and enjoy tropical sunrise every morning.
You can ride ponies all day or just walk forest trails along the river if you don’t want to ride horses, swim or go fishing.
Abraka Turf and Country Club, the pride of Abraka City, is a private country club. It is known for its lush vegetation, aquatic environment, crystal clear water, and rich tropical rainforest. It is poised to give you the highest level of comfort with its country feel, hospitable staff, and luxurious suites. This amazing relaxation center is bordered by the River Ethiope in Delta. This Turf speaks elegance and its elements express nature’s well-being. The incredible display of the tropical sunrise and sunset can be viewed from every room.The gentle rising of the early morning sun and the sight of the graceful swoops of many birds set the pace of your day.
The Abraka Turf is the perfect place to go for that business trip, romantic getaway or time out with family and friends. It has facilities like WiFi, Massage Showers, Indoor game room with PlayStation 3, and a Bar. It is a good filming location as well as a good place to organize events like anniversaries, birthday parties, and corporate retreats.
KWALE GAME RESERVE
The Kwale Game Reserve is located in the coastal part of Kwale in Delta State.
It is a rainforest vegetation and swamps full of reptiles and water animals – red river hog, sitatunga, and freshwater cum pond water fish.
LANDER BROTHERS ANCHORAGE, ASABA
This month is exactly 179 years since the death of Richard Lander, a British maverick traveler and explorer. He was killed on February 6, 1834 during his third exploratory trip on the lower Niger. Ironically, Richard Lander was also born in February.
In 2004, the Lander brothers marked 200 years of the death of the patriarch of their family, as part of the activities to celebrate the epoch. An expedition trip was organized to follow the same route that Richard Lander took. Richard Lander’s trip took off from Bussa where he presented a medal to the king of Bussa and in return he got the boat he needed to embark on his expedition.
After the trip, the team decided to donate the boat to the Asaba people. A museum was later built in memory of Richard Lander. The museum chronicles the voyage and activities of Lander. The boat formed the fulcrum of artifact museum.
The museum is located off the busy Nnebisi Road beside the colonial grave yard. In front of the museum is the imposing sculpted work anchorage. The Richard Lander Museum is appeal is the huge information on display, not just about the Richard Lander, but an insight into the complexion of the area in the 19 centuries when Europeans became unsatisfied with trading at the coast and became interested in hinterland. These are mostly in form of pictures and text materials.
The six members of the Lander expedition trip made thier way from Bussa to Asaba just like their forebear. The boat used for the trip was called Goo-will. The team decided to donate the boat to the people of Asaba. This boat and other artifacts that have to do with the expedition and Europeans’ contacts with the people of Asaba are the artifacts one sees, while visiting the Richard Lander Museum.
It was built in memory of the Lander Brothers-Richard and John who anchored at about that spot of the River Niger during the expedition that they took over from Mungo Park. The erected anchorage is, however, not the original one but a replica; the original one is at Aboh. The Lander Brothers are credited with the discovery of the mouth of the River Niger.
This led to the opening of the West African trade which eventually replaced slave trade. The anchorage has an information center and a restaurant.
MUNGO PARK HOUSE, ASABA
Mungo Park House was erected by the Royal Niger Company (RNC) in 1886. The Kwale Game Reserve is located in the coastal part of Kwale in Delta State. It is a rainforest vegetation and swamps full of reptiles and water animals – red river hog, sitatunga, and freshwater cum pond water fish. It was built to keep alive the memory of Mungo Park, a Briton who ‘discovered the source of the River Niger’. But sadly enough, he died in 1806 where his boat somersaulted somewhere in new Bussa, Niger State.
And for this singular act, the RNC members, mostly made up of traders that included that Lander Brothers, erected the building and named it after Mungo Park, as a mark of honor, being the first English explorer that attempted to discover the source of the River Niger. Thus, Asaba became the administrative headquarters of the Southern Protectorate, while Lokoja served as the military headquarters.
The long winding Nnebisi road in the historic city of Asaba holds fond memories for residents of the ‘big heart.’ It is reputed to be named after one of the founders of Asaba. It is a commercial beehive that hosts the now rested Asaba textile mills, the Grand Hotel, monuments attesting to the presence of colonial overlords in the pre-independence era, and other majestic looking historical buildings.
But one monument that makes it a cherished destination for most tourists, is the elegant century old edifice known as Mungo Park House, just a stone throws away from the architectural modern masterpiece of Grand Hotel: an amazing brief sequence of the old and the new.
THE NANA’S PALACE
Located at Koko in Warri-North Local Government Area of Delta State, the Palace has now become recognised and approved as a National Monument. Chief Nana Olomu was a powerful nineteenth Century indigenous entrepreneur. As a reflection of the grandeur of his achievements, he built this magnificent edifice at the turn of the century. It houses his personal effects and evidence of his contact with the Queen, administrators and traders of the British Empire. This is national monument also known as “koko palace” located at the port of Koko in Warri North, it is a monument that attracts thousands of tourists.
THE RIVER ETHIOPE
The River Ethiope is found in the Delta State of Nigeria. The River originates from a community called Umuaja and flows through several others before joining the sea at Sapele. The River is shared by four local government councils namely Ukwuani, Ethiope East, Okpe and Sapele with an estimated population of 1.7 million people. The river is about 50km long.
The River Ethiope is a river of outstanding beauty. It is one of the Seven Wonders of the World. It is home to a great biodiversity of plants and animals. The river provides ecosystem services such as flood control, climate change regulation, recreation, spiritual homage, water supply, food, research and education, medicine, building materials etc to many communities through which it passes. However, the ability of River Ethiope to continue to provide these ecosystem services to man and other living things is being seriously hampered as result of development pressure and consequences of climate change driven by poverty, ignorance and corruption.
Believed to be the deepest inland waterway in Africa, the River Ethiope, unlike sources of other rivers, originated from the foot of a giant silk-cotton tree at Umuaja in Ukwuani Local Government Area, Delta State and by the time it courses to Sapele through Abraka, it has become cavernous enough to harbor ocean-going vessels. Its center of attraction is the uniqueness and its unnatural purity.
At most of the points where the river runs across, one could see the bottom of the water from the bank. This had given some people a false sense of shallowness of the river to their peril. Fishes are seen swimming enthusiastically in the water, but rapidly spin out of reach on noticing human presence.The River currently acts as host to numerous tourist sites and is expected to help with irrigation of the 60,000 hectares of land sited at Abraka for the Federal Government cassava bread and high-quality Cassava Flour Development Initiative for a mechanized cassava farm. Tourist to the river source are made to part with either N1,500 or N2,000, according to the discretion of the chief priest, to have a view of the river source.
Though, a structure aimed at exploiting the tourism potential of the river source was built by the state government, the facility, under lock and key is yet to commence operation.
OLONA RANCH & HOLIDAY RESORT, ONICHA-OLONA
The ranch is noted for its traditional African setting with facilities for accommodation, conferences and recreation. The ranch is an ideal place for those who wish to escape the hustling and bustling of city life. Some of its attraction includes, fishing, swimming, bird watching and sumptuous Delta dishes.
GORDON RIVER RESORT, ABRAKA
The resort is located at Abraka on the road to Benin between Abraka and Obaruku and it is a tourist delight for those who want to get away into the kind of serenity that any african jungle can offer. Facilities here include swimming pool, restaurant, and bar and well-furnished chalets, rooms and suites.