From proceeds from commodities such as Cocoa, Rubber, Timber, and so on, the first skyscraper in tropical Africa was built. The 105 metres building located in the ancient city of Ibadan, the capital of Oyo state in Nigeria, was completed in 1965. Even after it was engulfed by fire on the 9th of January, 1985, this great monument was rehabilitated in 1992 for commerce. It serves as the first skyscraper in Nigeria.
The building is a modest 24 storey high-rise structure, property of Odu’a Investment Company Ltd. Cocoa House is a major landmark in Ibadan. Though Lagos Metropolis, as the industrial and commercial hub of southwest Nigeria, claims pre-eminence over Ibadan, from a historical perspective, Ibadan is Lagos’s big sister. The building formerly called “Ile Awon Agbe” (i.e. “House of Farmers”) is now popularly known as Cocoa House. It was the tallest building in Africa in the 1960s.
The whole of Ibadan stood still on January 9, 1985, when news spread that Cocoa House was on fire. The city’s firefighters watched helplessly as fire, which began in the top storeys, gutted the entire building. Ibadan’s firefighters had neither the equipment nor training for fighting fire in a skyscraper. It was luck that the fire began after offices had closed for the day, possibly from an electrical spark in a malfunctioning electrical equipment. The house was finally renovated for use in August 1992.
Wearing chocolate colour which communicates cocoa, the source of its finance, Cocoa House has since maintained an impressive presence in the district, still affirming the leadership ingenuity of Chief Obafemi Awolowo and his team. An aerial view of the city reveals a sprawling Ibadan with its seven historic rocky hills that once tucked the town. They were later swallowed in view by rapid expansion of the city in the 20th Century. Ibadan is the largest city south of Sahara.
Historically, the city was the place where the armies of Ibadan unified to defeat the Fulani Caliphate in 1840 when they attempted to expand further into the southern region of modern-day Nigeria.
It is home to one of Ibadan biggest clubs – KokoDome and is clearly situated in the heart of Ibadan (in Dugbe precisely). Some buildings around Cocoa House are Shoprite and Heritage mall.
A city famed for brown roof definitely has an iconic tower they can boast of.