Nine Things I Learned About Cross River (Calabar)

Main entrance, Obudu cattle ranch

Yesterday, I hung out with few of my friends at a local bar in my neighbourhood. I had barely tasted from my beer when two of them blurted “Haw far Calabar naw?” I was stunned for a few seconds. Not because they asked simultaneously nor was I surprised they asked, but because I didn’t just know where to start or even how.

I just kept smiling like a teenager who’s just had her first real kiss.

I managed to answer them but I knew deep down that none of us was satisfied. This is why I had to put up a post to talk about the things I learned while exploring the beautiful state called  Cross River.


1. The people hate their current Governor

Not only is Governor Ben Ayade a Phd holder, his deputy holds one as well. But this didn’t deter the people of Cross River from hurling hurtful words at him. Emphasizing that ‘Big grammar‘ will not put food on people’s table. No political discuss will be complete without making reference to the good days of Donald Duke (the state governor from May 1999 to 29 May 2007).

2. Cross River is dangerously big

“How big will states in northern Nigeria be if Cross River is the 19th largest state in terms of size in Nigeria?” I thought as I journeyed from Calabar to Obudu in a 7-hour ride. Jeez!!!

Eburutu Military Cantonment Calabar
My first morning in Calabar: Eburutu Military Cantonment.

The state is so big that traveling from one local government to another can take hours even when your bus/car is doing 100km/hr.


3. Calabar is her starboy

Yeah! Cross river state is a largely rural state (with only a few places like Ogoja, Ikom and to a lesser extent Akampka and Obudu) even though it boasts of 18 local government areas.

Calabar obviously took the shine probably due to the yearly Calabar street Carnival which happens to be the largest of its kind in Africa. Hence special attention is accorded to make it as beautiful as possible so as to give a good impression to the crowd of visitors thronging in from all over the world. Save for Lagos, ALL state capitals in Nigeria are the most popular and developed/decorated.

4. Clean streets

Though not as clean as what it used to be like when Donald Duke was Governor, you can tell that there is a conscious effort by the people of this state to keep the streets and roads clean unlike other states where the residents are naturally careless about waste disposal.

Ikom, Cross river state
This isn’t Calabar, it’s a road in Ikom

5. Beer palours over Cinemas and Malls

Fun fact: The only functional Cinema (which is filmhouse cinema) in Calabar was recently shut down due to low patronage and heavy taxing according to the people I interacted with.

On the flip-side, the people of this state seems to have sworn an oath of allegiance with beer parlours as you needn’t stress your eyes before spotting one, just the way churches litter the streets of Lagos.

6. Green

Only if the roads were white, the patches of green donated on both sides of every major road would suffice to create a caricature Nigerian flag. This probably must have been caused by the frequent rainfall in the region.

Green farms in Cross river
How else can one explain how green a place is oooo? *bites index finger while tapping the floor continuously with one foot*

7. These People can kill you with greeting.

I took shared cabs approximately 20 times and 99% of these times, every new commuter who joins me on transit greets right after settling in. I was just so amazed. Cabs and bikes are mostly used in commuting from place to place in Cross Rivers but unlike the states in Western Nigeria they do not have a uniform colour.

Bikes used in calabar
You’d barely find any other style in Cross River. It’s been designed to comfortably occupy the rider and just 1 passenger, but if you are ready to be the second passenger, that shiny iron will serve as your seat.

Here are 7 Things I learned Traveling Round South-West Nigeria

8. Banana and Cocoa are the mainstay in terms of farm produce

I journeyed along several communities and settlements within Cross river and one thing I saw constantly every time I look out the cab’s window were people either with bunches of healthy looking bananas on their heads or another group spreading  fermented cocoa seeds.


9. Obudu cattle Ranch is the most popular Tourist destination

Yes, since its rehabilitation during Donald Duke’s era, it’s remained a strong contender as the best destination in not just Nigeria but Africa until new governments (see 1 above) came into office to return it to a bleak shadow of itself.

Main entrance, Obudu cattle ranch
Main entrance, Obudu cattle ranch


Please share my post if you found it useful/interesting.

I’m also alive on twitter and instagram @nomadic_negro

My youtube channel is also here, Please subscribe, it is free.

The image of Donald duke and Ben Ayadi were sourced Here

Have you ever been to Cross River state and have one or two things to add? Please do so using the comment box below.


  1. That’s just explains the situation of this country. Everybody wants quick fix and quick money. And I thought we needed academician in the political industry.

    Thumbs up though to calabar for trying to keep the streets clean cos that’s something Lagos is still a learner