Visiting Opobo and seeing the statue and palace of Jaja made me want to see Nana’s equivalent. Besides having similar sounding names and having town’s synonymous with them, they were both sent into exile by the British. Nana was the only one of many sent into exile by the British to come back home alive though.
His palace in Koko is now a museum showcasing some of the items he owned. There are swords and walking sticks he received as gifts from the British Empire. His dining appears to be in impeccable state with beautifully carved chairs and fine utensils and dishes from a time long gone.
The palace also has a kind of secret passageway because Nana wasn’t going to let the British get him a second time (not that they managed to capture him the first time around, he surrendered in Lagos himself). He also built an escape canal by the side of the palace with one end at the Benin River and the other at the Ologbo River.
This is the best museum I’ve been to in Nigeria. Okay wait, not that it had a high standard to beat. I didn’t see the one in Ring Road when I was in Benin because I suspected I wouldn’t be allowed to take pictures. The state-owned museum in Port Harcourt apparently has only photos in it so I haven’t been in it. The federal one is supposed to be an ethnographic museum and is a big meh. So to be fair I haven’t been to many.
If you are interested in reading about Nana then Merchant Prince of the Niger Delta by Obaro Ikime is probably the best place to start.