Otukpo is a town in Benue State, Nigeria located in the Middle Belt Region of Nigeria. It is also the eponymous name of a subgroup of the Idoma people. Otukpo is the headquarters of the Otukpo Local Government Area. It was the headquarters of the former Idoma Province, and remains an important town in Idomaland, an area mainly populated by the Idoma speaking people, though with numerous local dialects spoken in the diverse reaches of Idoma land. Otukpo Idoma language is the umbrella lingua.
Otukpo is the seat of His Royal Highness the Och’ Idoma, the Paramount Chief of the Idomas. Prominent Idomas include HRH Ogiri Oko, HRH Elais Obekpa, Hon Ameh Ebenezer Odoh (the first representative of the Idoma nation in the National House of Assembly Lagos- First Republic), Chief B.O Attah, Sen. Andrew Adejo Ogiri of Adoka, Col. Anthony Aboki Ochefu of Ogobia, Comrade Abba Morro, Chief Audu Ogbe, Sir Abu Obe of Adoka and Amedu Idoko of UPU.Ltcol Agaba Daudu MFR, an illustrious otukpo prince from Asa Ehicho village. Prominent families include the Onoja’s, Egboche’s, Obeya’s, Ogiri’s, Ochefu’s, Ekar Onojo’s, Abu’s, Elaigwu’s, Obe’s, Oche’s, Adogo’s, Adejo’s, Edache’s, Agbo’s and the Ameh-Odohs.
Brigadier Emmanuel Ebije Ikwue from the Ikwue family, who belonged to the first crop of officers that were seconded to the NAF from the Nigerian army, took over command of the NAF on 19 December 1969. He was faced with the post-civil war reorganisation of the NAF. This reorganisation witnessed the establishment of additional units and formations and the restructuring of the whole force. Adakole Abechi from the old Nigerian Airways was also a resident.
Before the 1960s, like many peoples in the region, Idoma children used the first name of their father as a surname.
Another prominent Otukpo family is the Akatu Augustine Alechenu family. He was the mayor of Otukpo who brought Otukpo and Idoma into prominence. He brought water mains, electricity, roads, telephone and schools to Otukpo. He introduced the practice of environmental sanitation called “Keep Otukpo Town Clean” well before any other town in Nigeria, and encouraged sports like lawn tennis and table tennis, establishing the first lawn tennis club in Otukpo.
Chief Ella Abogonye was also a prominent son of Otukpo. He provided free medical care for the people of Otukpo during his lifetime through his clinics.
Otukpo is popularly called Texas by Idoma’s sons and daughters and is the favorite go-to spot during festive seasons and holidays. With a wide variety of hotels and restaurants it has entertainment to suit various needs, including the golf course and various clubs and joints.
The former Nigerian senate president, Senator David Bonaventure Mark, comes from Otukpo
The people of Otukpo are predominantly Christians. Christianity came into the town during the colonial era. The Roman Catholic church is the pioneer church in the land and is popularly referred to as Church ‘ufada’ (the Reverend Father’s church). The Methodist church is also popular in the area. Of late, there is the proliferation of Pentecostal churches in Otukpo. There is also the presence of traditional worship (Alekwu) in Otukpo. Although traditional worship is gradually going extinct, the Alekwu (ancestral) Onyonkpo and Achukwu deities are held sacred in many villages of Otukpo. There is also the practice of Islam by indigenous people of Otukpo. The Abu family in Otukpo town are the first indigenous Idoma people in Otukpo that embraced and practiced Islam. Other Idoma indigenes that practiced Islam in Otukpo are the Sule Ujor family, Sule Audu and the Samsudeen Amali family (who can trace their ancestral origin to the Igalas of kogi state).
Otukpo is served by a train station on the national railway network as well as numerous bus and taxi services such as Benue Links, Ageshi Transport, Pleasure Travels, Calculux and Ifesinachi which travel to every major city in Nigeria daily.