Enugu: The Foundation of the Coal City

One cannot understand a place without knowing its history. Thus, the history of Enugu is not far-fetched. Enugu state was founded in 1909, when Mr. Kikson, a British mining Engineer, stumbled on a large coal reserves in the Udi ridge while looking for silver.

The colonial Governor, Lord Lugard took keen interest in the sudden discovery and by 1914 the first shipment of coal made it to Port Harcourt. Attracted by the developing mining activities, Iva valley, Coal camp and Asata were established by foreign entrepreneurs and the indigenous labourers.The city acquired its township status in 1917, and was called Enugu Ngwo.

 

However, as a result of the rapid expansion towards areas owned by other indigenous communities, the city was renamed Enugu in 1928, in Nike village called Ogui. Nike in Igbo means 'with strength or power'.

Additionally, Enugu state is one of the 36 States in the Nigerian federation and was created in 1991 from the eastern two-thirds of Anambra state. It is located in south eastern Nigeria and broadly populated by members of the Igbo, an ethnic group in Nigeria.The city has a population of 3,267,837 people at the census held in 2007 (estimated at over 3.8 millon in 2012).

There are 17 local government areas in the state headed by local government chairmen, councilors also exist for wards and there are still monarchs in each community but their power is based on influence and tradition. The name Enugu is derived from the two Igbo words "Enu" and Ugwu meaning" top of the hill" or" hill top", explaining the city's hilly geography.

Furthermore, the political setting of Enugu is divided into the state Government and local Government which are the two levels of government in the state as well as other States in the country.

The current executive Governor of the state is, His Excellency, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi who was elected by the people in April 2015 and was sworn in on May 29th, 2015. Barr Sullivan Chime was the former Governor who succeeded Dr Chimaroke Nnamani through election by the people of the Enugu state. He was sworn into office on 20th May, 2007.

Industries presently in the city include the urban markets and bottling companies. The city is also a preferred filming location for directors of the Nigeria movie industry, known as Nollywood. Enugu's main airport is the Akanu Ibiam international Airport which is being upgraded to accommodate larger aircraft.

Trading is a dominant occupation in the urban area, followed by services and a small proportion of the population engages in manufacturing activities, with the most pronounced among them located in Enugu, Oji and Nsukka. Also, the state boasts of a number of markets especially at each of the individual headquarters. Prominent by which is Ogbete main market in the state capital, Enugu.

The power supply in Enugu state is relatively stable. Their power station is located in Oji River, with the deregulation of electricity generation in Nigeria, and the privatization of the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN).

Enugu is located in a tropical rain forest zone with a derived Savannah. It has a tropical Savannah climate. Enugu's climate is humid and this humidity is at its highest between the months of March and November. Also, as in the rest of west Africa, the rainy and dry season are the only weather periods that recur in Enugu.

Other weather conditions affecting the city include Harmattan, a dusty trade wind lasting a few weeks in the months of December and January. Like rest of Nigeria, the state is hot all year round.

The topography of coal city state is aesthetic. The tallest building in the city of Enugu is the African Continental Bank (ACB) tower, located in the Enugu Central Business District (CBD) in ogui, it has six stories and a height of 750 metres (2,460 ft).

The tower erected in the late 50s for the African Continental Bank limited was founded by Nnamdi Azikiwe, the first President of Nigeria after the country's independence from the united kingdom on October 1960. Other tall buildings include the Hotel Presidential opened on August 1963. The seven story building containing 100 rooms located in the independence layout.

In the middle of Enugu is the Michael Okpara Square, dedicated to the premiere of the former Eastern Region, Michael Okpara. Beside the square is the Enugu State Government House, Enugu state House of Assembly and Enugu state Judiciary Complex.

Enugu's coal mines are dotted around the outskirts of the city. The Colliery Camp mines are located in the Iva Valley which is near the neighboring town of Ngwo and Hill top of Enugu. More coal mines are located in Ogbete and Coal Camp layouts, these mines are situated on the boundary of the city near the Iva Valley as well Architectural design in Enugu's early years was in the hands of the British Colonial administration, Enugu's Architecture was consequently very European.

This was evidently seen in the English cottage housing and Victorian houses which were used for housing Europeans and Nigerian Colonial civil servants in the early 20th century. Other examples of these European styles are visible in churches of the colonial era, such as the Holy Ghost Cathedral with its Greco-Roman (Greek or Roman) stained glass windows depicting Europeans. Enugu's roads also depicts of its British rule, much of the cities narrow roads in the Government Residential Area (GRA) have been preserved dating back to the incorporation of the city itself.

In conclusion, Enugu is a home for the Igbo's of southeastern Nigeria as well as others who deem it fit to make it theirs. Christianity, Odinala (traditionalism) and neutralism is their Religion.

Enugu provides visitors as well as inhabitants from the four corners of the globe a fascinating heaven for leisure and business activities, with their fascinating features of tourist spots, art and craft, ancient historical relics and above all hospitability to tourists and love for peace.