Most Livable Cities in Nigeria (2019)

I hope you read last weeks post on the “Most Livable Cities In Africa” – there were a few shockers on that list of African cities, and needless to say there was a bit of controversy.
I expect this post to be very similar – not everyone will agree with our list, as most people have their own biases for their hometown or city they grew up in – please have an open mind and enjoy!
Obodo-Naija tries to take an objective view and we rate the cities based on:

  • Experience – our travels, local culture, nightlife
  • Beautification and solid infrastructure
  • Cost of Living and employment opportunities
  • Modern amenities – access to healthcare, housing, transportation
  • Safety
  • X factor: Chop – which city get betta chop!

Lets jump right in. Drum roll please … sliding in at number 10…

Ibadan City

#10 Ibadan

Ibadan is the 3rd largest city in Nigeria and has a rich cultural history. Apart from being home to Nigeria’s first skyscraper (Coco House), it is also home to the University of Ibadan – one of the most prestigious universities in Africa.

Ibadan offers a lot for local inhabitants, from good schools, decent roads, nice hotels, lounges, an amusement park and the fabulous Agodi Gardens. And don’t worry, there are many amala joints in the city for you to try!

Owerri City

#9 Owerri

Often dubbed the “entertainment capital” of Nigeria, Owerri does not lack for night life and food spots. Owerri has come a long way – once known for hectic traffic, and congested streets, it is now emerging as a thoughtfully planned city – especially the New Owerri side. Hotels seem to be sprouting up on every corner and Oguta lake is not too far a way for day trips and weekend relaxation, and oh, if you have never tried Ofe Owerri – you have not lived yet.

Port Harcourt

#8 Port Harcourt

There is so much promise for this port city. Saturated with an abundance of crude oil – both a blessing and a curse, Port Harcourt , the capital of Rivers state is nestled deep in the troubled Niger Delta. The city is doing a lot to curb the violence associated with the oil trade and they have taken major steps to beautify the city and plan out new sections of the capital.

Local residents have a vibrant nightlife scene, great hotels, an international airport, major institutions of higher learning, and with the many multinational corporations in town, there are employment opportunities.


#7 Warri

Another oil hub situated in Delta State – Warri has transformed into a modern city trying to change its reputation as a polluted and violent region, and is now becoming a hip city to visit and live.

There are employment opportunities in the oil sector, and there is the great Nana Living History museum and other attractions. Lets hope Warri continues to climb the list.

Benin City

#6 Benin City

The beautiful capital of Edo state – this ancient city harbours a glorious past and the rich culture of the Benin people is down right awesome. From the traditional dress, to the fancy bead work and local artisans, this city makes you feel proud to be a Nigerian (even if you are not from there!).

Residents look forward to energetic festivals (Igue Festival), vast local markets, visiting the Oba Palace and much more. Also, don’t forget to try Omisagwe (groundnut soup), very tasty indeed!


#5 Enugu

Coal city as it is known, Enugu is a beautiful city lying at the base of picturesque hills. Enugu is blessed with several attractions as well as decent infrastructure, great nightlife, and prominent institutions of higher learning.

There are a myriad of caves and waterfalls for locals and visitors to enjoy, and please, biko – try and chop a big mound of Isi ewu – you wont regret it, and wash it down with some local palm wine!


#4 Uyo

On a recent visit to Uyo, I must say we were pleasantly surprised. This capital city of Akwa Ibom, has taken direct measures to plan out and create a welcoming and organized city.

The road network is good and the people are friendly and welcoming. It makes a great travel destination and residents have loads of restaurants, hotels and the fabulous Godswill Stadium is a sight to see.


#3 Lagos

Of course lasgidi will be near the top of the list, and many may think it should be number one, but there are some reasons why it does not rank #1. Lagos is the economic, entertainment, culture capital of Nigeria, it is such an electrifying place, one like no other. The bustle and energy in the city is palpable – and you have literally anything and everything at your fingertips.

World class hotels, restaurants, beaches, universities, Eko Atlantic, nightlife, music scene and of course thousands of Buka joints , where you can find whatever your tummy desires. Despite the many wonderful attributes of Lagos, there still is crazy congestion, pollution and the cost of living is sky high.


#2 Abuja

Nigeria got it right when planning its Capital, Abuja. Smack dab in the middle of the country, this city was designed to compete with the finest cities in the world. Well planned neighbourhoods and estates are established throughout the FCT and the roads that connect you are in great shape. World class hotels, restaurants, convention centers, and natural wonders such as Zuma and Aso rock are close by.

With all of these great amenities, comes a great challenge. The cost of living in Abuja is too high, rivaling major international cities like London and New York, and in reality, a nice stable middle class lifestyle is out of reach for average Nigerians, and this is why it cannot by ranked as the most livable city in Nigeria.

Calabar Carnival Festival

#1 Calabar

Calabar is that type of city that reels you in, welcomes you, feeds you, entertains you and offers you a great living experience. The people of Cross River are wonderful, generous and they can cook O! Sitting in the bends of the cross river, Calabar went from a sleepy fishing village to a great place to live, raise a family, and retire.

Cost of living is relatively low, and the local government has done a great job developing the city and creating better roads and business opportunities. While the ambitious Tinapa Resort project was a great idea, the execution has been a bit suspect- however it is still a great place to relax and enjoy. Obudu Mountain Resort is not too far away as well other great attractions: National Museum, Slave Trade Museum and various wildlife reserves. And, when you taste local Afang soup, eh, you go die! These are just some of the reasons why Calabar topped our list, but my suggestion is for you to go and visit, and I am sure you will agree with us.

So what do you all think? Are we spot on? What are your most livable cities in Nigeria, we would love to hear from you – leave a reply below!

Roman Kingsley

Journalist based in the United States and Nigeria, focusing on Real Estate Development and the stories emerging in and around the built environment.

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