Top: A street scene in Port Harcourt
Middle: Port Harcourt International Airport, The City Center
Bottom: Government House, Port Harcourt
|Nickname(s): Garden City|
|LGA||Port-Harcourt, Eleme Ikwerre, Obio/Akpor, Ogu/Bolo, Okrika, Oyigbo, Tai.|
|Named for||Lewis Vernon Harcourt|
|• Chairman of Port Harcourt City Council||Chimbiko Iche Akarolo|
|• City||360 km2 (140 sq mi)|
|[Note 1][Note 2]|
|Time zone||WAT (UTC+1)|
Port Harcourt (Igbo: Diobu, Iguocha or Ugwuocha;[Note 3] Pidgin: "Po-ta-kot")[Note 4] is the capital of Rivers State, Nigeria. It lies along the Bonny River and is located in the Niger Delta. According to the 2006 Nigerian census Port Harcourt has a population of 1,382,592. The Mayor of Port Harcourt City is Chimbiko Akorolo. From Iguocha Port Harcourt was renamed by Frederick Lugard after Lewis Vernon Harcourt in 1913 who was the Secretary of State for the Colonies.
The area that became Port Harcourt in 1913 was originally the farmlands of the Diobu village group of the Ikwerre, an Igbo sub-group. The colonial administration of Nigeria created the port to export coal from the collieries of Enugu located 151 miles (243 km) north of Port Harcourt, which it was linked to by a railway called the Eastern Line, also built by the British.
Commercial quantities of crude oil was discovered in Oloibiri in 1956 and Port Harcourt's economy turned to petroleum when the first shipment of Nigerian crude oil was exported through the city in 1958. Through the benefits of the Nigerian petroleum industry Port Harcourt was further developed with aspects of modernisation such as overpasses and city blocks. Oil firms that currently have offices in the city include Royal Dutch Shell and Chevron.
Port Harcourt's primary airport is the Port Harcourt International Airport located in the periphery of the city; Nigerian Air Force (NAF) base is the location of the only other airport in the city; used by commercial airlines Aero Contractors and Virgin Nigeria (now Air Nigeria) for domestic flights. The main educational establishment in the city is the University of Port Harcourt.
Port Harcourt was founded in 1913 by the British colonial administration of Nigeria The purpose of Port Harcourt was to export the coal which geologist Albert Ernest Kitson had discovered in Enugu in 1909. The colonial government caused the people of Diobu to cede their land and by 1913 the building of a port-town was started. Other villages that were later absorbed into the city included Oroworukwo, Mkpogua and Rumuomasi; In the creeks to the south of the original port were the fishing camps and grounds of the Okrika-Ijaw group.
During World War I Port Harcourt was used as a point for military operations against the Central Powers in German Kamerun. After the discovery of crude oil in Oloibiri in 1956, Port Harcourt exported the first shipload from Nigeria in 1958. Port Harcourt became the centre of the Nigerian oil economy and it subsequently reaped benefits of its associations with the petroleum industry by undergoing modernisation and urbanisation. Port Harcourt's growth is further due to its position as the commercial centre and foremost industrial city of the former Eastern Region; its position in the Niger Delta; and its importance as the centre of social and economic life in Rivers State. After the Republic of Biafra seceded from Nigeria in 1967 Port Harcourt fell to Nigerian forces on May 19, 1968. From an area of 15.54 km2 in 1914, Port Harcourt grew uncontrolled to an area of 360 km2 in the 1980s.
Geography and climate
The main city of Port Harcourt is the Port Harcourt city in the Port Harcourt Local Government Area, consisting of the former European quarters now called old Government reservation area (GRA) and New layout areas. The Port Harcourt Urban Area (Port Harcourt metropolis) is made up of the city itself and parts of Obio/Akpor Local Government Area. Port Harcourt City, which the capital of Rivers State, is highly congested as it is the only major city of the state. A law has recently passed by the state house and governor Amaechi's administration to spread development to the surrounding communities as part of the effort to decongest the Port Harcourt metropolis. The Greater Port Harcourt urban area, spans eight local government areas that include Port-Harcourt local government, Okrika, Obio/Akpor, Ikwerre, Oyigbo, Ogu/Bolo, Tai and Eleme local governments respectively has a total population estimate for 2012 at 1,947,000 making it the fifth largest urban area in Nigeria (only the urban areas of Lagos, Kano, Ibadan and Abuja that are bigger than it.
|Climate chart (explanation)|
Port Harcourt features a tropical monsoon climate with lengthy and heavy rainy seasons and very short dry seasons. Only the months of December and January truly qualifies as dry season months in the city. The harmattan, which climatically influences many cities in West Africa, is less pronounced in Port Harcourt. Port Harcourt's heaviest precipitation occurs during September with an average of 370 mm of rain. December on average is the driest month of the year, with an average rainfall of 20 mm. Temperatures throughout the year in the city are relatively constant, showing little variation throughout the course of the year. Average temperatures are typically between 25°C-28°C in the city.
Economy and infrastructure
The city is a major industrial centre as it has a large number of multinational firms as well as other industrial concerns, particularly business related to the petroleum industry. It is the chief oil-refining city in Nigeria. Rivers State is one of the wealthiest states in Nigeria in terms of gross domestic product and foreign exchange revenue from the oil industry, crude oil being its main export earner.
Some of Port Harcourt's more popular and well-known residential areas are Port Harcourt Township (or just 'Town'), GRA (Government Reserved Area) phases 1—5, Rumuomasi, Ogbunabali, Rumuola, Diobu, Amadi Flats, and Borokiri. The main industrial area is located in Trans Amadi. Face-me-I-face-you architecture is quite common to Port Harcourt. The Point Block of Rivers State Secretariat is an icon of the city. An eighteen storey building, it has the tallest building in the South/South and South/East Geopolitical zones combined. The city has an international airport, Port Harcourt International Airport, two seaports (FOT Onne, Port Harcourt Wharf), two stadiums (Sharks Stadium which is the civic center) and Liberation Stadium located in Elekahia and two refineries. The city plays host to the Rivers State University of Science and Technology; there is also a University of Port Harcourt, which is Located in Obio/Akpor which was carved out of Port Harcourt Local Government Area for ease of administration. The city is sprawling in nature as building codes and zoning regulations are poorly enforced. Land is cleared and 'lean to' buildings constructed sometimes overnight. This adds to flooding and sanitation problems since with no proper drainage or sewer system, parts of the city flood during the very heavy monsoon-type rains that fall for half the year.
The Port Harcourt Book Festival formerly known as Garden City Literary Festival remains one of the city's most important and popular events since its inception in 2008. Established by the Government of Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, the yearly gathering improves local literacy levels, promotes reading habits among residents, and benefits exhibitors seeking wider audience. Throughout its annual run, Port Harcourt Book Festival has hosted renowned publishers such as Heinemann, Learn Africa Plc, Africana First Publishers and EPP Books Services. The festival currently continues to draw writers, literary connoisseurs, book sellers and publishers from every walk of life to the city. In July, 2012, UNESCO, IPA, IBF and IFLA named Port Harcourt the World Book Capital for the year 2014, making her the 14th city in the world to be selected as World Book Capital and the first in Black Africa.
In popular culture
- Award-winning Nigerian musician Duncan Mighty is also popularly known as Port Harcourt First Son.
- Singer and actress Muma Gee highlights the city's beautiful scenes and rich culture in her song "Port Harcourt Is Back".
- Reggae-fusion singer Slim Burna sang a song called "Port Harcourt Boy" from his 2013 release I'm on Fire.
- In the film Blood And Oil which tells the tale of two British women and their unusual journey to the hinterland of the Niger Delta, main character Alice Omuka travels to Port Harcourt where she learns of the kidnapping of foreign oil workers.
- Port Harcourt is a location in Blessing Udefe-directed movie The Green Eyed. The movie also premiered in the city.
- Girls Hostel, a Nollywood movie filmed in Port Harcourt helped catapult actresses Mary Uranta and Empress Njamah into stardom.
Under the leadership of Governor Chibuike Amaechi plans have been announced for the creation of a new city to be called the Greater Port-Harcourt City.  The new city is to be located close to the Port-Harcourt International Airport. The total coverage area for the Greater Port Harcourt city Development is 1900 km2 spanning 8 local governments in Rivers State including all of PH Local Govt, Ogu Bolo, Eleme, Ikwere, Etche, Obio Akpor,Okrika, Eleme local government areas. The Authority (GPHCDA) was established by law in April 2009 with a mandate to facilitate the implementation of the Greater Port Harcourt master plan and build the new city.
The Authority is led by an administrator, Dame Aleruchi Cookey Gam, supported by a management team comprising the Secretary to the authority and Board, Dr Silva Opusunju, Director Finance Aaron Obelly, Director Administration (Permanent Secretary) MI Tella, Director Public Affairs Kenneth Anga, Director Legal Dr. Justice Nwobike, Director Projects Edmund Altraide, Director Development Control Sir Ngozi Worgu.
The Greater Port Harcourt city hosted several of the events at the 17th national sports festival tagged 'Garden City games'.
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Port Harcourt.|
- Greater Port Harcourt City Development Authority
- The Expat's Guide to Port Harcourt
- Official Site of the River State Government
- demographia.com (PDF)