Kogi is a state in central Nigeria created in 1991, with Lokoja, one of the country’s most historic cities, as its capital. It is also often described as “the confluence state” because at its capital Nigeria’s two biggest rivers – the Niger flowing from the west and the Benue flowing from the east – meet to form one body of water heading south to empty in the Atlantic Ocean.
In some respects Kogi mirrors Nigeria in terms of the numerous ethnic groups that make up its population. While the Ebira, Igala and Yoruba (Okun clan) are the biggest groups, there are significant populations of other minorities such as the Nupe, the Gwari, Bassa, Kupa and Kakanda, among others.
It is one of the largest states in Nigeria with 28,000 square kilometres land area covered, straddling northern and southern parts of the country, sharing borders with Abuja federal capital territory, Nassarawa, Niger, Benue, Anambra, Enugu, Delta and Edo states.
Climate and Topography
Like most of Nigeria, Kogi state has two distinct weather patterns, including the rainy season that starts in March and stops in October, and the dry season from November to March. Temperatures range from lows of about 20 degrees celsius to highs of about 34 degrees celsius. It has a vegetation made up of a mix of guinea and woodland savannah and tropical forests. The state is dotted with several hills and high peaks such as the Ososo hills that spread from nearby Edo State and Mount Patti near Lokoja.
It is a state with several tourist attractions starting from the meeting point of the country’s two biggest rivers. Lokoja also bears several marks of history, being at a point the capital of colonial Nigeria. There are still buildings that had been used by the British Royal Niger Company (that key protagonist of colonial rule), a spot marking where slaves were freed in the 19th century and the British colonial governor Lord Fredrick Lugard’s residence.
These are contrasted by natural wonders such as the confluence point, the Mount Patti peak just outside Lokoja, the Koton Karfe cave and the warm springs of Eganaja, to name a few. It has been reported in many accounts that Flora Shaw, the journalist that was also the girlfriend of Lugard, was perched at their hideaway atop Mount Patti, watching the Niger flowing below, when she coined the name Nigeria from Niger Area, the the rest was history.
Major towns in the state in addition to Lokoja include Okene, Idah, Koton Karfe, Anyigba and Obajana. Important annual cultural festivals are Italo, Ogani, Oro, Ocho and Ekuechi.