Abeokuta is the state capital of Ogun State in southwest Nigeria. It is situated on the east bank of the Ogun River, near a group of rocky outcrops in a wooded savanna;[2] 77 kilometres (48 mi) north of Lagos by railway, or 130 kilometres (81 mi) by water. As of 2006, Abeokuta and the surrounding area had a population of 449,088.

Abeokuta from Olumo Rock
Abeokuta from Olumo Rock
Abeokuta is located in Nigeria
Location in Nigeria
Coordinates: 7°9′39″N 3°20′54″E / 7.16083°N 3.34833°E / 7.16083; 3.34833Coordinates: 7°9′39″N 3°20′54″E / 7.16083°N 3.34833°E / 7.16083; 3.34833
Country Nigeria
StateOgun State
 • City879 km2 (339 sq mi)
66 m (217 ft)
 • City451,607
 • Density510/km2 (1,300/sq mi)
 • Metro

Geography and economyEdit

Abẹokuta lies in fertile country of wooded savanna, the surface of which is broken by masses of grey granite. It spreads over an extensive area, being surrounded by mud walls 18 miles in extent.[3] Palm oil, lumber, natural rubber, yams, rice, cassava, maize, cotton, other fruits, and shea butter are the chief articles of trade. It is a key export location for cocoa, palm products, fruit, and kola nuts.[2] Both rice and cotton were introduced by the missionaries in the 1850s and have become integral parts of the economy, along with the dye indigo.

Abeokuta lies below the Olumo Rock, home to several caves and shrines.[4] The town depends on the Oyan River Dam for its water supply, which is not always dependable.[5] The dam is situated in the Abeokuta North local government area of Ogun State in the West of Nigeria, about 20 km northwest of the state capital Abeokuta. The dam crosses the Oyan River, a tributary of the Ogun River.

Abeokuta is the headquarters of the federal Ogun-Oshun River Basin Authority, which is responsible for development of land and water resources for Lagos, Ogun, and Oyo states. Included in this are irrigation, food-processing, and electrification.[2]

Local industries include but not limited to fruit canning plants, plastics, breweries, sawmills, and an aluminum products factory. South of town are the Aro granite quarries.[2]


Abeokuta Taxi

Abeokuta is connected to nearby Lagos by a railway that was completed in 1899, with a length of 77 kilometres (48 mi). Roads connect it to Lagos as well as Ibadan, Ilaro, Shagamu, Iseyin, Sango Ota, and Ketou.[2]


Chief Sodeke first settled Abeokuta (meaning literally "the underneath of the rock"[6] or indirectly "refuge among rocks")[2] in 1830 as a place of refuge from slavehunters from Dahomey and Ibadan. The village populations scattered over the open country to take refuge among the rocks surrounding the city. Here they formed a free confederacy of many distinct groups, each preserving the traditional customs, religious rites and the names of their original villages.[3]

The original settlers of Abeokuta were of the Egba nation, descendants of Eso Ikoyi chiefs that had followed the first Alake of the Egba when he left Oyo during the reign of an early Alaafin and joined him to establish the Egba homeland in the Egba forest.[7] Later, when their descendants fled said homeland in the Oyo Empire (which they had previously been subject to and which was now collapsing spectacularly), they began to wander from place to place—a state of affairs which continued until they finally discovered Abeokuta.[2] Eventually, some members of other Yoruba clans came to the settlement as well. Baptist and Anglican missionaries from Great Britain began to serve the area in the 1840s,[2][7] in addition to Sierra Leonean creoles and Brazilian returnees.

Because Abeokuta was in a key location for the palm oil trade and because it was the so-called capital of the Egbas, Dahomey soon became hostile. In the 1851 Battle of Abeokuta, the Egba defeated King Gezo and the Dahomey incursion. They again beat back the Dahomey military in 1864.[2][7]

Aerial view of Abeokuta in 1929

The 1860s also saw problems arise with the Europeans, namely the British in Lagos, which led to the Egba first closing trade routes, followed by the expulsion of missionaries and traders in 1867.[2] Between 1877 and 1893 the Yoruba Civil Wars occurred, and Abeokuta opposed Ibadan, which led the king or alake of the Egba to sign an alliance with the British governor, Sir Gilbert Carter. This occurred in 1893, which formalized the Egba United Government based in Abẹokuta which became recognized by the United Kingdom.[2] In 1914, the Egba lands were incorporated into the colony of Nigeria by the British, with Abeokuta as the provincial capital.[2][7]

A short introductory expose of The Egbas in Egba dialect by a native speaker

In 1918, an uprising took place, the Adubi War, which was related to the levying of taxes and the policy of indirect rule by Sir Frederick Lugard, the British Governor-General.[2] This was the only internal threat to British control of Nigeria during the course of the First World War.[8]

The Abeokuta Women's Revolt, led by the Abeokuta Women's Union (AWU), took place in the 1940s. It was a resistance movement against the imposition of unfair taxation by the Nigerian colonial government.[9]

In 1976, Abeokuta became the capital of the newly created Ogun State.

Notable buildingsEdit

Abeokuta was once surrounded by 18 miles of wall,[8] and remnants of the historic wall still exist today. Ake, the traditional residence of the Alake, along with Centenary Hall (1930), are both in the Egba Alake's territory. There are secondary and primary schools and the University of Lagos Abeokuta Campus opened in 1984.[2] This campus specializes in science, agriculture, and technology. This has since been changed to an independent full-fledged tertiary institution, Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta (FUNAAB) in 1988.

The Green Legacy Resort is a large resort/hotel[10] built by former president Olusegun Obasanjo and investors. The Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library (OOPL) is also located within the grounds of the resort

The Governor's office located at Oke-Mosan is also a notable building. The Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta (FUNAAB) located at Alabata road in Abeokuta is also one of the notable buildings in Abeokuta and one of the most beautiful public University campus in Nigeria.[11][12]

Notable peopleEdit

Photo galleryEdit


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External linksEdit

  Media related to Abeokuta at Wikimedia Commons