Ever wondered why Otukpo is called Texas City? This small town, filled with lots of activities, people from all walks of life and lots of memories is the heart of Idoma nation, the engine and lifeline of Idoma. Otukpo, the ever vibrant town, adorned with red soil, washed by heavy rainfall from March to October, dried by mild and heavy winds from November to February and heated by hot sun from February to March is that town where lots of celebrities in all areas of life are made. Oh! Before I forget, I have not answered the question in my first sentence, right? Ok, let’s chill and read through to the end. Let me break Otukpo down into some themes and hopefully you will find the answers.
With sweet sounds and information oozing from ever blazing Joy FM Otukpo, the most listened indigenous radio station in West Africa (awarded by West African Citizens Awards); it is a sure thing that Otukpo is indeed the Texas of Nigeria and a hub of entertainment in whole of Middlebelt Nigeria. This Otukpo, the starting point for big celebrities like 2baba Idibia, Bongos Ikwue, Blackface, Chris Morgan and lots of other celebrities is one town where lots of entertaining activities go down from Monday to Sunday, January to December and evening to daybreak nonstop.
Night life is so awesome, sweet sounds from clubs and bars every day of the week with small shows on Saturdays and Sundays and climaxing in late December and early January with major events such as the most popular Idoma international carnival, best of its kind in the whole of middle belt Nigeria, The Miss Otukpo Beauty Pageantry which holds on 25th December in Upu, The Miss Idoma pageantry, The Mark D Ball (the biggest basketball and music event in Nigeria), the Ech’ija (an event that showcases cultural heritage of the Otukpo people) and not forgetting the little miss Otukpo beauty pageant and many other events. Indeed, Otukpo is a top spot for entertainment.
While Otukpo might not have big businesses or industries in the town, it is building a reputation in the small business area, especially in leather works as the youths in the town have practically carved a niche for themselves with Otukpo now known as the “Handmade Sandals” capital of Nigeria based on the high quality products they churn out. Trade, farming, transportation, craft, education and hospitality are some of the major economics activities that keep the town going. The presence of a big market and another medium market in the town greatly influence the influx of people from neighbouring towns and states into Otukpo.
Talking about sport, this multitalented town is fully involved. Otukpo, the red soil town have produced big names such as Anthony Ujah, Oyah Alice and some other athletes who are currently playing in Europe and other parts of the world. Football tournaments like the Anthony Ujah competition, Egli Ahubi Cup and the recently started G12 tournament are some of the tournaments that are producing lots of talents. Are you looking for raw talents? Watch out for these tournaments and you will get them in abundance. Least I forget, this red soil town is home to one of the biggest golf courses in Nigeria. The David Mark golf course in Akpegede is a sure place to be anytime you are in Otukpo.
Knowledge, they say is the bedrock and engine of every society. Otukpo is not left out in this area. This red soil town, the headquarters of Idoma land, has greatly produced lots of the best brains in Nigeria and Africa at large. Otukpo is home to many ultramodern primary and secondary schools, colleges of education, colleges of health sciences, one polytechnic and the recently established Federal University of Health Sciences. Big names in the academic field like Prof Jerry Agada, Prof Innocent Ujah, Prof Shamsudeen Amali and many others all trace their educational background to Otukpo.
Talking about politics? The red soil town is a hub of political activities. Being the headquarters of Idoma nation, Otukpo is the host town of the Och'Idoma Palace, the paramount traditional leader of the Idoma people. In national politics, this town is well represented. Otukpo is the hometown of Senator David Mark.
Mention towns that are not welcoming in the world and I will confidently tell you that the red soil town, the Texas of Nigeria will not be on the list. With several entertaining, political, business and sporting activities that takes place in Otukpo, the Otukpo hospitality industry is well equipped to serve it purpose. Entering the town from the north, the first thing that will catch your attention is the beautiful site of Apa Gate Hotel. Going deep into the town, other hotels such as the Abglo Top Hotel, Double K Hotel, Garima Hotel, Golden Palm Hotel and many others are well equipped with top hospitality services and cool environment that is so captivating.
Before I go, let me briefly tell you that Otukpo has some cultural events that are so captivating and intriguing. The Ej'alekwu festival, Alekwu Otigbohi, Aigboko day celebration, New Yam festivals across the lands, coronation of a new King amongst other cultural activities are events that one cannot miss anytime they are happening in this red soil town.
I want to conclude this by saying what makes Otukpo so special is the people, who it seems have subscribed to the “glass half full” mantra as being happy ranks high on the lives of the people of Otukpo town. A place filled with lots of activities and where timeless memories are created for people to cherish forever. Like Texas City in the US, Otukpo Texas is also figuratively known for big things such as people with big hearts. I hope to see you soon in this wonderful small town of ours.