When you go to the North, I recommend the following: Bauchi, Kwara and Niger. The natural beauty is stunning.
For Kwara, take the road up from Lagos (really bad road between Ibadan and Ogbomoso), and while you stay in Ilorin, make sure to find time to visit Jebba. Juju Rock is one of Nigeria’s hidden beauties.
It’s sad that the road is a natural disaster, or you should be able to proceed straight to Niger from Kwara. Don’t dare it. Respect yourself and return to Lagos. Then fly to Abuja, and go by road. The road is reasonable between Abuja and Dikko, but just bearable from Dikko to Minna. Find time to stop at Gurara for some healing, great falls there. Fairly decent road between Minna and Bida. Bida to Mokwa isn’t the best, but the visit to Kainji makes it worth it. Do it.
For Bauchi, I can’t wait to go to Yankari again.
P.S if you can find the time to get to Zaria, and visit ABU. If you’re allowed to the roof of the Vice Chancellor’s office there, I swear, you’ll want to jump off after taking in the view. It’s heaven.