Back in 2017, Lagos, Nigeria was ranked as the third most stressful city in the world out of the 500 locations studied by UK-based dry-cleaning and laundry service Zipjet. The research was based on factors like infrastructure, pollution levels, traffic congestion, public transport, debt levels, physical and mental health. Two years later, Lagos is still one of the worst places to live in according to the 2019 Global Liveability Index by the Economist Intelligence Unit.
According to consultant psychiatrist Olufemi Oluwatayo, dealing with these terrible living conditions, in addition to the daily demands at work and responsibilities at home, is enough to wreak havoc on the mental health of anyone living in this busy city. “It is not really hard to see why employees might feel stressed, burned out or exhausted, especially in a city like Lagos. It is no surprise that, in general, many more people seem to be suffering from anxiety and depression,” he said. This is why we have compiled a list of cities that are better for your mental health and they are:
ENUGU: Enugu is the capital of Enugu State. Located in southeastern Nigeria, this city is great for a couple of reasons. Unlike Lagos which has an estimated population of 22 million people and counting, this city has only about 1 million people. Its goad road network makes it easy to move around. Sources of transportation include taxis, bikes (Okada) and buses. The city also has routes that connect to various local governments in the state as well as states in the country.
Other reasons to relocate here include the good power supply, several industries, New Yam festival, a lot of tourist attractions, amazing local delicacies like Isiewu, Abacha, Akpu/fufu, Ugba, Pepper soup, Nkwobi, Fio Fio and palm wine.
IBADAN: Ibadan, the capital of Oyo State, is an amazing place to relocate to as it is reportedly the 3rd cheapest city to live in Nigeria. It has comparatively clean air, no traffic, cheap transportation, historical landmarks, museums, malls, local cuisine, exciting nightlife and lots of companies constantly opening branches here. Fun places to visit include the Agodi Gardens, which has a playground, swimming pool, restaurant and zoo.
There are several cinemas in Ibadan where watching a new blockbuster movie goes for N1000 — N1500, unlike Lagos cinemas where tickets are sold for N2500-N3000. During the week, you can see a regular movie for N500–700. Ibadan is also home to Obafemi Awolowo Stadium, also known as the Liberty Stadium. It is reportedly the first stadium to be built in Africa.
OSOGBO: As the capital, economic and administrative hub of Osun State, this cosmopolitan city has some of the attractions of Lagos city with none of the stress. Benefits of living here include access to good roads plied by motorcycles, tricycles (Kekes) and taxis, power supply, Yoruba delicacies like Amala with Gbegiri and Ewedu that are very affordable. Top tourist spots include the Osogbo branch of the world-famous Nike Art Gallery in Lagos state, Suzanne Wenger House and Centre, Sacred Grove of Osun, Nelson Mandela Freedom Park, African Heritage Gallery and the revered Osun-River, host of the renowned Osun-Osogbo festival.
KADUNA: As of July 2019, Expatistan — a website with one of the biggest collaborative cost-of-living databases of prices in the word — estimated that the cost of living in Kaduna is 28% cheaper than in Lagos. Everything is cheaper here from food, clothing to transportation and rent. According to KnowKaduna, a 2-bedroom flat in a decent area goes for about N200,000 per year.
For work, it has a thriving Agric sector and is close to Kano, a major commercial hub in Sub-saharan Africa. Like Lagos, Kaduna has people from all over the country living and working together which means you do not have to worry about a language barrier. Tourist destinations include Kamuku National Park, Matsiriga Waterfalls, Kagoro Hill, Kofar Gamji Park and the famous Kajuru Castle. There is also the bonus of eating some of the best suya in the country.
UYO: Uyo is the capital of Akwa Ibom state, located in South-South Nigeria. It has a population of less than a million, according to the 2006 Nigerian Census which is an edge over Lagos’ overpopulation problem. Popular destinations include Unity Park, the National Museum of Colonial History, the Amalgamation House where Lord Lugard proclaimed the amalgamation of the Northern and Southern protectorates of Nigeria in 1914. Uyo is also home to the Le Méridien Ibom Hotel Golf Resort, Akwa Ibom International Stadium, a 30,000 seater, multi-purpose sports complex regarded as one of the best stadiums in Nigeria, Ekpe Festival, the Ibom Tropicana Entertainment Centre and clean beaches.
Unlike the business and craziness of Lagos, Uyo has a calmer, more relaxed pace. You will find good roads, cheap transportation and even cheaper, amazing mouth watering delicacies.