- Post 28 September 2011
- Last Updated on 28 September 2011
- By Okey Egboluche
Ebonyi State, South-East Nigeria, popularly known as the Salt of the Nation, came into existence on October 1, 1996. It was carved out of the Old Enugu and Abia States. On creation, the new state chose Abakaliki, a prominent town in pre-independence Nigeria, as its capital city. Since then, the modest city of Abakaliki has become a beehive of activities as it has continuously witnessed an influx of people from all corners of the state (politicians, civil servants, students, and businessmen) as well from the far-flung regions of Nigeria. It has also become a major stop-over town for transporters/passengers en route Northern Nigeria, especially those dealing on farm produce.
|A panoramic view of Ebonyi State Govt. House, Abakaliki|
Abakaliki is located less than two hours from Uburu, a town renowned for its salt deposits, and just about an hour from Enugu, the capital of South-Eastern Nigeria. Being the nearest major town to Enugu has also meant that many business ventures easily spread to the city. As a result, Abakaliki can justifiably be regarded as Enugu extension.
The city has also witnessed quantum development in infrastructure. There is a state university, the Ebonyi State University, EBSU; three tertiary health institutions: the Federal Medical Centre, FMC, the Ebonyi State University Teaching Hospital, EBSUTH (both of which have been merged to become a Federal Teaching Hospital), and the National Fistula Centre; a federal secretariat; the ultra-modern Abakpa Market; two TV stations; two radio stations; the gigantic 18-storey shopping complex, located around Presco Junction, which is nearing completion; as well as an array of banks. Also, the Federal University, Ikwo, the Federal Polytechnic, Uwana, and the now moribund Eagle Cement Company located at Nkalagu, though not in Abakaliki, share proximity with the city.
The major roads in the city are very accessible and adorned with an array of beautiful flowers. The major roads are Ogoja Road (now Sam Egwu Road), Water Works Road, Ezza Road, and Afikpo Road.
Abakaliki is well known for its prowess in arable farming, especially in rice (hence the name, Abakaliki rice) and yam. It also has a thriving quarry industry. But beyond these, the South-Eastern city has other sides too. The indigenes are a very hospitable people. This hospitable disposition has also been imbibed by its residents. For this reason, a visitor to the city has nothing to worry about as he is sure to be welcomed with such greetings as ‘Jokwa!’, ‘Deeje!’, ‘Tokwehu!’, or ‘Idi ike!’ as well as a sumptuous meal of specially prepared Abakaliki rice. For those who cherish fresh palm wine, it does not cost much in the city and complimenting it with readily available bush meat will give you an experience you will never forget. One would also be lucky to get a taste of local delicacies like groundnut soup or Esisa soup with either garri or fufu.
The hospitable disposition of Abakaliki indigenes is also clearly demonstrated in the city’s thriving hospitality industry. The city boasts of myriad relaxation spots for those who want to feel the touch of style. These include Nkwegu Ugbala - The Grand Arena, Heritage Restaurant, Flavours, Salt Lake Night Club, Diamond Point, Prisons Club, and so on. For those who enjoy fast foods, your best bets include Crunchies, City Cheff, City Exotic, Veecee Foods, Mr. Biggs, Feed Well Restaurant, among others. Abakaliki Golf Course, located along Ezza Road, and the lawn tennis court are good leisure spots. The stadium hosts regular sports activities, especially football. If you need to sleep over in the town, which you cannot afford not to, then there are such exquisite hotels and guest houses as Grace Court Hotel, Salt Spring Hotel, Salt Lake Hotel, Eagle Royal Hotel, Ebonyi Hotels, Osborn La Palm Royal Resort, and so on. And if you like them cheap, you’re your choices would be Denco Hotels, EBSU Guest House, Benkol Hotel, Metro View Hotel, and so on. Whichever one you choose, you are sure to have a good time.
|Osborn La Palm Hotel, Abakaliki|
The newest of them all, Osborn La Palm Resort, is indeed in a class of its own. Opened to the public on May 28, 2011, the hotel’s natural ambience and grandeur, comparable to the best in Nigeria, would charm any visitor. Its avenues are dotted with beautiful palm trees and assorted flowers, making the environment very natural and full of life. The rooms on offer at the hotel include the presidential suite with kitchenette, the executive double suite, the executive single suite, diplomatic double and single suite with tastefully furnished rooms, bathrooms, intercom and an indoor swimming pool. There is a 24-hour service, uninterrupted electric power supply, wireless internet service connection, and a wide range of continental dishes for all classes of guests.
For health and fitness aficionados, the hotel has an ultra modern gymnasium which is open to the public. Interestingly, the hotel’s executive double suite has a mini-gym and Jacuzzi. It also has spa treatment, an attraction which only a few hotels in Nigeria can boast of. A visitor can have body massage, steam bath and sauna. The hotel management promises even more packages soon.
Speaking on why she left Lagos and relocated to Abakaliki, the Manager of Osborn La Palm Resort, Mrs. Dikibo, who had a stint with Terrace Green Hotel located at Ajao Estate, off International Airport Road, Lagos, and whose experience in hotel management has come handy in the day to day running of Osborn, said: “It was an adventure, it made me wiser. As it is said, a traveller is wiser than a grey-haired man sitting at a place. My travelling has exposed me to people and it has been a wonderful experience in Abakaliki. I have no regrets.” Her promise to guests is “excellent service”.
So, come to Abakaliki and experience life in a virgin land full of opportunities for the discerning mind.