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Ahmadu Bello Way in Ilorin
|• Total||765 km2 (295 sq mi)|
|• Density||1,188/km2 (3,080/sq mi)|
|Time zone||WAT (UTC+1)|
Ilorin was founded by the Yoruba, one of the three largest ethnic groups in Nigeria, in 1450. It became a provincial military headquarters of the ancient Oyo Empire, and later became a Northern Nigeria protectorate when Shehu Alimi, a descendant of Shehu Usman Dan-Fodio, took control of the city through the spread of Islam. The capital was occupied by the Royal Niger Company in 1897 and its lands were incorporated into the British colony of Northern Nigeria in 1900, although the emirate continued to perform ceremonial functions. Although the city retains a strong Islamic influence, Christianity is now widely practised in the city due to the significant immigration of people from other parts of Kwara State and the rest of Nigeria.
Ilorin has a 20,000-capacity stadium and two professional football teams, Kwara United F. C. in the second-divisionNigeria National League and ABS F.C. in the first-division Nigerian Professional Football League.
The city has the only standard baseball court in west Africa. It has also hosted several national handball competitions.
Television and radio stations in Ilorin include NTA Ilorin, Radio Kwara, Unilorin FM, Cruise FM, Royal FM, Sobi FM, Ray power FM and an office of the News Agency of Nigeria Ilorin.
The political economy of Kwara State can be traced to 1967 when it was created. Since then the state has undergone various developmental efforts, mostly initiated by the federal government given the nature of the Nigerian state, a centralized federal system where development policies and programmes originate from the center.
The state has a large area of rich agricultural land. The limestone and dolomite of Oreke, Idofian Kaolin and clay near Ilorin and other parts of the state, pure gold in Kaiama and the Patigi area, and the highly exportable rich tantalite deposit of Iporin make Kwara State rich in primary resources.
Despite these favourable conditions, Kwara State has only a few major industrial companies, notably Global Soap and Detergent Industries Nigeria Limited and the International Tobacco Company. Successive administrations have attempted to attract industrialists to the state. Several meetings were held with Kwarans both in Lagos and Kaduna, among others, but with little response. Former Governor Bukola Saraki made some progress in his efforts to lure more investors, demonstrated by successes in the fields of finance, education, health, water and rural development, agriculture, and industrial development.
With such efforts, Ilorin has become the hub for cashew processing in Nigeria and Olam International has set up Africa's biggest cashew processing plant. The plant processes 100 MT of cashews every day and provides employment to over 2000 workers.
Recently established industries include Dangote Flour Mills, Tuyil Pharmaceutical company, KAMWIL, Golden Confectionate Food Industries, Chellaram Motor-Cycle Assembly plants, and Rajrab Pharmaceuticals.
To encourage both local and foreign investors, the state government provides various incentives, such as a 100% waiver on statutory payments on land, which was also made available to the Dangote Industries Limited for the flour mill complex.
|Climate data for Ilorin (1961–1990)|
|Average high °C (°F)||33.7
|Daily mean °C (°F)||26.0
|Average low °C (°F)||19.0
|Average rainfall mm (inches)||6.2
|Average rainy days (≥ 1.0 mm)||0.4||1.1||3.9||7.5||10.4||13.0||12.0||10.9||16.4||10.4||1.3||0.5||87.8|
|Average relative humidity (%) (at 15:00 LST)||29.2||29.0||37.3||51.1||59.7||65.9||69.3||70.2||68.6||61.5||39.4||32.6||51.1|
|Mean monthly sunshine hours||210.8||210.0||217.0||204.0||220.1||189.0||136.4||117.8||132.0||195.3||222.0||226.3||2,280.7|
|Mean daily sunshine hours||6.8||7.5||7.0||6.8||7.1||6.3||4.4||3.8||4.4||6.3||7.4||7.3||6.26|
Ilorin's central location makes it easily accessible to all parts of the country by air, road and rail.
Although Ilorin International Airport has been re-designed and equipped as an international cargo airport, there are scheduled commercial flights to and from Ilorin by Arik Air and Capital Airlines. Current destinations include Lagos, Abuja and Jos.
Ilorin offers reliable road transport services to Lagos, Ogun, Osun, Ondo, Oyo Ekiti, Kogi, Niger, Kaduna and the Plateau States. Similar services are available to and from Onitsha, Port Harcourt, Abuja, Aba and others.
The major roads in the city are generally good, with relatively well-developed intra-city public transportation. Other roads that need repairs are gradually receiving the attention of the Kwara State Government.
There are three modes of transiting from place to place in the city – the most popular being the conventional taxis. Car-hire services are available in major hotels. There are commercial motorbikes, commonly called "Okada", and the more recent arrival on Ilorin's roads, "Keke NAPEP", imported commercial tricycles given on loan to beneficiaries in the National Poverty Eradication Programme.
The city is a mixture of cultures, populated by Yoruba, Hausa, Igbo, Fulani, Nupe, Baruba, other Nigerians and foreign nationals. There are large Christian and Islamic populations. Many ceremonial activities, mostly with religious aspects, take place in the city throughout the year.
Ilorin has a friendly environment (generally called the "Home of Peace") and hence hosts different religious practices and training institutions. Located on the city's GRA, the degree-awarding United Missionary Theological College (affiliated with the University of Ibadan) produces many church ministers, teachers and theologians of all denominations. The College of Arabic and Islamic Legal Studies in the Adeta area trains Muslims in various Islamic, Arabic and social science disciplines. Alfa Alimi's Mosque and residence is said to have been built in 1831. It was the first Juma'at Mosque in Ilorin.
The city also has a range of tourist attractions such as the imposing Sobi Hill, said to have offered protection to natives during intertribal wars in ancient times. The Okuta Ilorin is located in Asaju's compound, Idi-Ape Quarters. It is the stone on which Ojo Isekuse, one of the founders of the city, used to sharpen his metal tools. It was actually called "Okuta ilo irin" (meaning stone for sharpening metals), and Ilorin is said to have derived its name from there. The stone was a deified object of worship and sacrifice offerings in the past.
Pottery is a big business in Ilorin. The city has the biggest traditional pottery workshops in Nigeria. They are located in the Dada area of Okelele, Eletu in Oju-Ekun, Okekura, Oloje, Abe Emi and Ita Merin.
The traditional textile industry also thrives in Ilorin. In various parts of the city, aso-oke, textiles hand-woven on simple looms, are made in large quantities. Aso-oke is purchased by traders and fashion designers from Kwara State, other parts of Nigeria and abroad.
The cultural center houses the Kwara State Council for Arts and Culture, its performing troupe, and a gallery with artworks and antiquities. Souvenirs of cultural and historical values are also available.
Metropolitan Park, a recreation park, is located on Unity Road. The Kwara State Stadium Complex has an Olympic-sized swimming pool with facilities for diving.
The National Commission for Museum and Monuments has one of its centers in Ilorin, with interesting cultural and ethnographic objects from Nigeria's many cultures. The Esie Museum is of major note.
Christianity in Ilorin
The city has a host of ancient and modern churches with very large congregations, such as the holy order of Cherubim and Seraphim churches, Anglican, Methodist, Celestial Church of Christ, The Holy Trinity Gospel Church International, Evangelical Church Winning All (ECWA), Catholic, Seventh day Adventist and Protestant populations of the Christian faith. Most Christian churches in the state started schools and introduced innovative ideas that were readily adopted by the Muslim schools.
Ilorin Central Mosque
The first Ilorin central mosque was founded in 1820 in the Agbarere Area, popularly known as "Ile-elewa", under the leadership of Sheik Imam Muhammad Munab'bau. This was followed in 1835 when another central mosque was built at Idi-Ape during the reign of the first Emir of Ilorin, Abdus-salam. However, more than a century later, this central mosque could no longer cope with the growth in the Muslim population of the city. For this reason, in 1974, the ninth Emir of Ilorin, Alhaji (Dr) Zulkarnaini Gambari, invited Grand Mufti Alhaji Mohammed Kamal-u-deen and the then present Wazirin Ngeri of Ilorin, Dr. Abubakar Sola Saraki, to co-ordinate the fundraising and construction of a new central mosque.
The present Ilorin Central Mosque
On April 30, 1977, the foundation was laid for the new mosque by the Emir of Gwandu on behalf of the Sarki Musulmi, Sultan Abubabar III. The new Ilorin Central Mosque was completed and officially opened in 1981 by the former president Alhaji Shehu Shagari. Today the mosque is generally dilapidated with visible structural defects like cracks showing on some of the columns, the concrete walls and the domes, causing profuse leakage in a number of locations.
The "New" Ilorin Central Mosque
Planning for the rehabilitation, refurbishment and redecoration of the Central Mosque started in 2007 when Alhaji (Dr) Ibrahim Zulu Gambari, CFR, the eleventh Emir of Ilorin, with assistance from Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki, the Turaki of Ilorin, and the former Governor of Kwara State, set up a technical committee headed by Alhaji Shehu Abdul-gafar on the rehabilitation and enhancement of the central mosque. The committee has invited expertise from specialists in mosque construction from around the world, especially from Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Nigeria.
In addition to the general restoration and enhancement of the mosque, it will now have a total of 99 domes of different diameters, 75 feet above the floor. The large dome will be of gold finish while the four big domes around it will be coated in green with reflective illumination. The mosque form is enveloped within a pyramid shape with a square base and 45 inclinations for the faces. It has four accessible minarets, each standing at a height of 150 feet. Moreover, all the dilapidated domes and minarets with mosaic finishing will be restored and finished with cut-to-size marble. The exterior and interior will also be covered by special marble while the expanded courtyard will be constructed with heat-absorbing granite (marble) finish. The doors and windows will be replaced with specially designed ones befitting the new mosque concept.
It is also home to the following educational institutions:
- State Polytechnic, Ilorin
- Federal Government College, Ilorin
- Kwara State College of Education, Ilorin
- Muhyideen College of Education, Ilori
- Kwara State College of Arabic and Islamic Legal Studies, Ilorin 
- United Missionary Theological Seminary.
- School of Nursing and Midwifery
- National Centre for Agricultural Mechanization
- Agriculture and Rural Management Training Institute
- Michael Imoudu Institute for Labour Studies
- Federal Training Center
- Government Secondary School, Ilorin Founded in 1914
- Bishop Smith Memorial College
- Ansarul Islam Secondary School, Ilorin
- Mount Carmel College, Ilorin
- Ilorin Grammar School, Ilorin
- Government Secondary School, Adeta, Ilorin
- Government Day Secondary School, Karuma, Ilorin
- Government Girls Day Secondary School
- Army Day Secondary School, Sobi Barrack, Ilorin
- Saint Anthony's Secondary School, Ilorin
- Cherubim and Seraphim College, Ilorin
- "Kwara (state)". City Population. Retrieved 26 November 2015.
- "The World Gazetteer – Ilorin, Nigeria". Archived from the original on February 9, 2013.. Retrieved February 18, 2007
- "FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA : 2006 Population Census" (PDF). Web.archive.org. Archived from the original (PDF) on March 5, 2012. Retrieved 25 July 2016.
- " Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Illorin". Encyclopædia Britannica. 14 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 312.
- "Northern Conference". Retrieved 9 July 2017.
- "NPFL Clubs". Retrieved 9 July 2017.
- "Ilorin Climate Normals 1961–1990". National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Retrieved 22 July 2016.
- "ingentaconnect Christian churches in Ilorin, Nigeria: a brief historical survey". Ingentaconnect.com. 2004-04-01. Retrieved 2013-12-17.