RETRO: The Oldest Housing Estate In Nigeria

The Bodija Housing Estate is the oldest estate in Nigeria. It is located in Bodija, the eponymous district in Ibadan which the estate is named after. If you have been to Ibadan, you would no doubt have heard about the famous Bodija market, the primary place of petty trade for people living in Bodija and environs. But Bodija did not use to be the hotbed of Ibadan highlife until 1959, when the regional government decided to create more upscale accommodation for its aristocratic population.

The history of the district and the etymology of the name isn’t very clear (that’s another way of saying I couldn’t find it on Google), but in 1959, the Western Regional administration decided to build a highbrow estate upon a 400-acre expanse in the Bodija area, which was at that time at the outskirts of Ibadan. The estate was complete with social amenities-such as light, water, security, access-that were relatively absent from most other locations in the belly of the city. 

While the original intent of the housing estate was to provide housing solutions for the rapidly growing population of the city, the cost of the housing units quickly alienated the lower class inhabitants, paving way for the better-off middle and upper class. Prices varied according to the specifications of each unit. According to the Nigerian Real Estate Hub:

“The Estate project housed 3 types of structures for different classes of people. The first types of houses were priced at £1,200 for lower-income folks, and the initial deposit was £50. The second type of houses available in the estate project were houses priced at £1,650, and an initial deposit of £200 was required before the houses could be occupied. The third type of house cost £3,000 and an initial deposit of £650 was required. As you may have guessed, the highest-priced houses were the houses that were more than a story building.”

The Bodija Housing Estate still exists to date, even though it has since experienced a level of commercialization that has altered its original master plan. Many of the original residential buildings have now been converted to commercial offices and very recently, nightclubs; drawing a bit of protest from residents.

Even as the Bodija Housing Estate is now a shadow of its past glory, thousands of estates have sprung up in the country that holds a promise of the glamour, safety, and magnificence of the old Bodija estate, and we have the honour of building two of those estates here in Abuja. Here is a lead to our projects: The Metroview Estate and the Copa Cabanna II.

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