Bauchi, which doubles as the capital city of the northern Nigerian state of Bauchi, is located on the tapering northeastern edge of the country’s central plateau at an altitude of about 914 metres. It was named after a hunter Baushe, who was said to have guided Yakubu Gema, a commander in Usman dan Fodio’s jihadist army, to the spot where he built his base in the formative years of the Sokoto Caliphate in the early decades of the 19th century.
Bauchi’s attractions included its fertile soil and conducive weather. The vegetation of the area is largely savannah intermixed with wood and thorn brush. Farmers in the area grow crops such as cotton, dates,potatoes and grains including maize, millet, sorghum, guinea corn and rice, among others, and rear cattle, sheep, goats, horses and donkeys.
Over the years Bauchi continued to attract many new settlers because of its potentials and suitability for agriculture, trade, habitation and accessibility to trade routes.
In 1901, the then British imperialist forces overran the city, sacked the Caliphate-appointed Emir of Bauchi and brought the emirate into its Protectorate of Northern Nigeria, with Bauchi as a provincial headquarters.
By 1914 a narrow-gauge light railway line was constructed to link the city with Jos to enable the evacuation of tin from Jos to the main rail line at Zaria that headed to the southern ports. This was later modernized, adding an even shorter connection to the southern link.
Bauchi was later to play a key role in the politics of decolonization that subsequently ensued. Both Nigeria’s first Prime Minister Abubakar Tafawa Balewa and the renowned politician Aminu Kano were at a time in the 1940s both teachers at the Bauchi Middle School. It was there that they, along with others, formed Jamiya Mutaren Arewa, a socio-cultural organization that focussed on current affairs from the perspective of the north. This society later evolved into the Northern People’s congress (NPC), the political party which dominated the politics and government of the region during the decolonization period and the early days of independence. Aminu Kano went a different way to form the Northern Elements Progressive Union, which prided itself on championing the cause of the poor and downtrodden, known locally as the Talakawa.
A city emerges
Bauchi has since grown into a metropolitan city serving as a home to people of diverse ethnicities, including the Hausas, Fulanis, Kanuris, Garawas, Angas, Junkuns, Nupes, Igbos, Yorubas, and many others, both local and foreign.
Bauchi was also a major attraction to Islamic scholars of of whom settled there and established Islamic scholarship centres that became part of the city’s renown.
However, Bauchi, growth and development had come at a great prize.
Bauchi as a modern city and state capital has witnessed tremendous development in term of infrastructure in the past decades. The city now has substantial road network and impressive public buildings that have added colour to the city’s landscape. There are also several federal establishments there are located within the city ranging fr. These include, military institutions, training centres for para-military agencies.
Bauchi also has a well developed transportation system, including a modern airport, which provides easy access both in and out of the city. The city equally serves as a transit route to many cities in Northern Nigeria.
Apart from Federal and State Government presence, which can be felt in and around the city, Bauchi has very strong private sector presence in terms of financial institutions and corporate business organizations. There are also a lot of industrial establishments, which have taken advantage of the abundant mineral deposits in the city and its environs. Among such mineral deposits that can be found in Bauchi include, marble, limestone, iron ore, antimony and columbite. All these have made the city very viable for investment.
Bauchi is a tourism-friendly town. Apart from the city’s alluring landscape, Bauchi is a staging point for visiting sites such as game reserves, ancient cave paintings, rock shelters, traditional and modern industrial centres and monuments. These include the Yankari Game Reserve, Lame Burra Game Reserve and the ancient rock paintings at Gaji and Shira.
To add value to its tourism potentials, Bauchi has several high-profile hotel establishments that are available to serve the needs of tourists and visitors. Bauchi also has well developed sporting facilities and ultra-modern stadium that have been provided to promote sporting activities. The city has played host to may important national and international sports competitions, all National University Games and Sports Festivals.
Bauchi has come a long way from a rural settlement into a modern city, with vibrant commercial, business and political activities that have made it one of the most important cities in Nigeria. It is today a major tourism hub and home to some large business organizations, especially vegetable and fruit processing industries. There is no doubt that Bauchi will remain a major attraction for investment and tourism. It is a city that needs to be explored.