BRIEF HISTORY OF KOGI STATE
The state was created in 1991 from parts of Kwara State and Benue State. Igala is the majority ethnic group in the state. The state as presently constituted, comprises the people of the Kabba Province of Northern Nigeria. One of the first Qadi in the Kogi State was Faruk Imam.
There are three main ethnic groups and languages in Kogi: Igala, Ebira, and Okun (a Yoruba Group) with others such as Bassa Nge of Bassa L.G.A, Kupa and Kakanda speakers, who are a people of Nupe extraction under Lokoja L.G.A., Bassa-Komo which is also of Bassa Local Government Area, Oworo people (A Yoruba Group), Igbo, Ogori Magongo, and Idoma.
The name Nigeria, was coined in Lokoja by Flora Shaw in the hill of Mount Patti, the future wife of Baron Lugard, a British colonial administrator, while gazing out at the river Niger .
CONFLUENCE OF RIVER NIGER AND RIVER BENUE
The town Lokoja is the capital city of Kogi State in Nigeria located in the North-central part of Nigeria with over 60,000 people. Lokoja is privilege to be the place where river Niger and river Benue converges. River Niger from its origin in the Guinean highlands in Guinea passed through Mali, Niger, Benin Republic (4 countries) before reaching Nigeria.
The river is a major source of economic activities for inhabitants across the rivers banks and a natural habitat for aquatic animals. At the confluence in Lokoja is a plain beautiful landscape, calm water surface dotted with green vegetation that in no way obstructs visualization.
At the tip of the confluence is a narrow mass of land that can be developed for tourist to embark on from a boat, there they can see the bigger Niger. The town Lokoja is the capital city of Kogi State in Nigeria located in the North-central part of Nigeria with over 60,000 people. Lokoja is privilege to be the place where river Niger and river Benue converges.
River Niger from its origin in the Guinean highlands in Guinea passed through Mali, Niger, Benin Republic (4 countries) before reaching Nigeria. The river is a major source of economic activities for inhabitants across the rivers banks and a natural habitat for aquatic animals. At the confluence in Lokoja is a plain beautiful landscape, calm water surface dotted with green vegetation that in no way obstructs visualization.
LORD LUGGARD’S REST HOUSE
The British colonial master, Lord Lugard started living here around 1912. He built a network of structures which today are historical sites, to ease his stay and facilitate trading in the region.
It is a simple structure which consists of his living room, the guest room and other utility rooms. It has been said it was in this house that Lugard actually came up with the idea of amalgamating the country to be made up of North and South.
Apart from the solid structure that is still comparable with modern structures, there were several colonial buildings in this area that served as courts, offices, residential houses and recreational centres.
The rest house has been preserved both by nature and government intervention to look as it was during Lord Lugard’s days. It was built from locally sourced stones although its roof has been repaired using modern materials. There are two statures by the side. That of the two occupants of the rest house, Lord Lugard and his wife.
There are also flags of Great Britain and Nigeria by the statures. It is seen as a mini-museum of colonial history and if you are on a tour, the tour guide is sure to give a brief view of live during the Lugard period. It is nice to take a time off your hiking and view this historic site given its significance.
The lush green Mount Patti is 458.3 meters high and located in Lokoja, capital city of Kogi state. It is from here people gaze up at it’s magnificence with awe.
Located in the confluence of the Rivers Niger and Benue, the area has been inhabited for thousands of years by many ethnic communities and was previously a centre for trade.
Lokoja is the first administrative capital of modern day Nigeria.
Known to many as the birthplace of the concept of the Nigeria project, Mount Patti is a major tourist attraction among other natural attractions Lokoja boasts of. Visible from anywhere in the town, it is a plateau of about 1500 feet above sea level with a stretch of about 15 kilometres.
Remarkable for its fertile soil, elevated view of the sprawling town and neighboring confluence, distinctive features, and its part in Nigeria’s history, it draws tourists to view its magnificence.
Prominent of its interesting features is a big Baobab tree that is claimed to be over 100 years old, and Lugard’s Rest House.
LORD LUGARD’S RESIDENCE AND OFFICE
Lord Lugard’s Residence and Office was built in 1901.
Now hosting the State Government House, this was the first residence and office of the Lord Lugard on getting to Nigeria.
Retaining its original structure with minor renovations to reflect the taste of time, this white building with columns and rocks served as the seat of Lord Lugard’s power during the time when Lokoja served as the capital of the Northern Protectorate.
Many decades after, not wanting to do away with the colonial legacies of the city, the State Government made it the Government House when it was created in 1991, thereby retaining its importance as the apex powerhouse of Kogi State.
LATE ATTA OF EBIRA PALACE
The Late Atta of Ebira Palace was built in 1927.
Formerly the palace of the late Ohinoyi of Ebiraland, Alhaji Ibrahim Atta, it has been turned into a museum.
It was the palace of the then reigning Ohinoyi Ibrahim Atta, the traditional ruler of the Ebira land, from 1917 to 1954. This distinctive and imposing palace is a combination of both ancient and modern architectural designs.
This building is one of the major tourist attractions Okene has to offer. Successfully preserved and turned into a museum, it is one of Kogi’s most famous example of adaptive reuse.
OHINOYI OF EBIRALAND PALACE
Ohinoyi of Ebiraland Palace is located at Itakpe Road, Okene, Kogi.
This is the seat of power for the Ohinoyi of Ebiraland, the traditional ruler of the Ebira tribe. It is rated as one of the most beautiful palaces in West Africa, this elegant palace is a sight to behold.
Currently the residence of the present Ohinoyi Ado Ibrahim, it serves as a political, historic, traditional and religious powerhouse for the Ebira people.
WORLD WAR CENOTAPH LOKOJA
The World War Cenotaph in Lokoja, Nigeria is a remembrance arcade for fallen heroes. It is located along Murtala Mohammed way, besides federal medical centre in Lokoja, the colonial Nigeria administrative center and headquarters of the Royal Niger Company.
The cenotaph was conceived in 1995, under the former ministry of health and social services, Kogi State during the regime of Colonel Paul Omeruo, the previous military administrator of the state. This cenotaph is a war memorial, built in memory of the British and Nigerian officers, as well as other ranks. This is specific to the pack, who lost their lives in the world wars. The war memorial, a gigantic concrete block with old artillery mounted on it, is situated in the middle of light cannons and machine guns placed on small pavements.
It exhibits relics of weapons employed by the British forces against the German forces in defense of their colonies in East Africa and Cameroon. This is clearly implied by the year, 1914 Cameroon and 1918 East African wars boldly written on the remnants of the cannon on display.
The displayed cannons signify disparity between the technology of the old era and present day military weaponry and warfare. The cenotaph has a measurement of 16.8 × 50 meters.
Another spectacular feature of the cenotaph is an inscription of the names of eminent military personnel who served in the two world wars. This is found on tables laid on the side of the cenotaph. In other words, a memento of three heavy artillery guns is seen with names of exceptional soldiers engraved on a plaque and placed on the huge concrete block accommodating one of the artilleries.
THE IRON OF LIBERTY LOKOJA
The Iron of Liberty refers to the place where slaves were freed in 1860 by the anti-slavery British crusaders. The area is marked with two iron poles. Lokoja, because of its location near the banks of River Niger, was an important centre for the slave trade in Nigeria.
Lokoja’s strategic location at the bank of the River Niger made it an important center for slave trade in the 18th and 19th centuries. The Iron of Liberty is located in the compound of the first primary school in northern Nigeria. Here, many slaves were freed at the end of the slave trade. On the Iron of Liberty is an inscription.
Lokoja was an important centre for slave trade during the Nupe wars. Lokoja became a collection centre for slaves seized from slave merchants to be consequently set free.
The spot where such slaves were freed is marked with a piece of iron now referred to as the Iron of Liberty. It is a monument any tourist in Lokoja should not ignore.