Local History

History of Akwa Ibom State

History of Akwa Ibom State, On September 23, 1987, the state’s region was formed from Cross River State by the military regime headed by General Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida. Before the British invasion of what is now Akwa Ibom State in 1904, there was no central administration among the inhabitants.

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The British did not effectively establish authority of the region until 1904, despite the arrival of many Scottish missionaries in Calabar in 1848 and Ibono in 1887. The Enyong Division was established in that year, covering the territory of the present-day state of Akwa Ibom, with its administrative center in Ikot Ekpene, an Annang city referred to by the eminent Africanist Kaanan Nair as the political and cultural center of Annang and Ibibio.

The different ethnic groups were able to unite for the first time with the establishment of the Enyong Division. Additionally, this gave birth to the Ibibio Welfare Union, which was eventually renamed the Ibibio State Union. This social group was initially established in 1929 as a forum for local development and improvement for educated people and groups that were excluded from the colonial authority. Uyo was selected as the state capital of Akwa Ibom state in 1987 in order to disperse development throughout the state’s several districts.

In Nigeria’s South-South geopolitical zone, the state of Akwa Ibom is bordered on the east by Cross River State, the west by Rivers and Abia States, and the south by the Atlantic Ocean. The Qua Iboe River, which cuts the state in half before emptying into the Bight of Bonny, gave rise to the state’s name. In 1987, Akwa Ibom, which has 31 local government units and its headquarters in Uyo, was split off from Cross River State.

With an estimated 5.5 million people as of 2016, Akwa Ibom is the thirty-first most populated and fifteenth largest state out of the 36. Geographically, the state is divided between the Cross-Niger transition forests in the interior and the mangroves of Central Africa in the coastal extreme south. The Kwa Ibo River cuts across the state before entering the Bight of Bonny, and the Imo and Cross Rivers flow along the eastern and western borders of Akwa Ibom, respectively.

History of Akwa Ibom State

The Stubb’s Creek Forest Reserve is a severely endangered wildlife reserve in the southeast of the state. It is home to declining populations of crocodile, putty-nosed monkey, red-capped mangabey, and Sclater’s guenon as well as possibly extinct populations of African leopard and Nigeria-Cameroon chimpanzee. The state’s coastline is also home to varied cetacean species, including killer whales, humpback whales, bottlenose dolphins, and pantropical spotted dolphins, as well as enormous fish populations.

Modern-day Akwa Ibom State has been inhabited by various ethnic groups for hundreds of years, primarily the closely related Ibibio, Anaang, Oro and Obolo peoples in the North-East, North-West, and Southern zones of the state, respectively. In the pre-colonial period, what is now Akwa Ibom State was divided into various city-states like the Ibom Kingdom and Akwa Akpa before the latter become a British protectorate in 1884 as a part of the Oil Rivers Protectorate?

In the early 1900s, the British actually gained formal control of the area before incorporating the protectorate (now renamed the Niger Coast Protectorate) into the Southern Nigeria Protectorate which later merged into British Nigeria; after the merger, much of modern-day Akwa Ibom became a centre of anti-colonial resistance during the Women’s War and political activism through the Ibibio State Union.

The present-day region of Akwa Ibom was a part of the Eastern Region upon independence in 1960 until the region’s division in 1967, at which point it became a component of the South-Eastern State. Less than two months later, the former Eastern Region, which had an Igbo majority, attempted to secede as the state of Biafra. During the three-year Nigerian Civil War, the area that is now Akwa Ibom was fiercely contested before the invasion of Port Harcourt, and its residents were persecuted by Biafran forces because they were primarily non-Igbo.

The South-Eastern State was reconstructed following the end of the war and the unification of Nigeria until 1976, when it was given the new name Cross River State. Eleven years later, Cross River State was divided with western Cross River being broken off to form the new Akwa Ibom State.

History of Akwa Ibom State

The economy of Akwa Ibom State, the highest oil-producing state in the nation, is centered on the production of crude oil and natural gas. Oil-producing LGAs include Ibeno, Mbo, and Eastern Obolo.

Agriculture is one of the state’s major minor businesses because it produces a lot of cocoyam, yam, and plantain crops, along with fishing and heli-culture. Due in large part to years of pervasive corruption, Akwa Ibom has the seventeenth highest Human Development Index in the nation despite its substantial oil income.

History of Akwa Ibom State


Akwa Ibom State consists of thirty-one (31) local government areas. They include:

  1. Abak
  2. Eastern Obolo
  3. Eket
  4. Esit-Eket
  5. Essien Udim
  6. Etim-Ekpo
  7. Etinan
  8. Ibeno[26]
  9. Ibesikpo-Asutan
  10. Ibiono-Ibom
  11. Ika
  12. Ikono
  13. Ikot Abasi
  14. Ikot Ekpene
  15. Ini
  16. Itu
  17. Mbo
  18. Mkpat-Enin
  19. Nsit-Atai
  20. Nsit-Ibom
  21. Nsit-Ubium
  22. Obot-Akara
  23. Okobo
  24. Onna
  25. Oron
  26. Oruk Anam
  27. Udung-Uko
  28. Ukanafun
  29. Uruan
  30. Urue-Offong/Oruko
  31. Uyo

Akwa Ibom Historical Facts

  1. Created on September 23, 1987
  2. Estimated population of about 7,200,000 people. The annual growth rate of the population is projected at 3.4%
  3. Area: 7,249 Square kilometers
  4. Location: Lying between Latitudes 4o32″ and 5033″ North and Longitudes 7035 and 8025 east. Bounded by Rivers State, Cross River State, Abia State and the Gulf of Guinea on the East, West, North and South respectively.
  5. Main Economic Activities: Fishing (for riverine and coastal dwellers), farming (mostly for upland dwellers), trading, artisanship and whitecollar services. A robust public sector employs significant proportion of the state labour force.
  6. Vegetation: Green foliage of trees and shrubs spanning 129km coastline from Oron to Ikot Abasi.
  7. Climate: Dry season (November – March), Wet season (April – October) Average temperature ranges from 230 to 310 centigrade.
  8. Political Setting: 31 LGAs with Uyo as the State Capital
  9. Growth Rate: Average growth rate is estimated at 3.2%
  10. The first experimental Local Government (County) in British West Africa was Ikot Ekpene in Akwa Ibom State.
  11. The first Roman Catholic Cardinal in Nigeria and indeed West Africa was Cardinal Dominic Ekandem from Ibiono Ibom local government area of present Akwa Ibom State.
  12. The first commissioned Nigerian Soldier NA 01 was Wellington Umoh Bassey of Akwa Ibom State.
  13. Ibibio State Union was the first ethnic organisation in Nigeria to sponsor indigenes to study overseas.
  14. The second highest slave depot in West Africa (The first being Badagry, Lagos) was established in Ikot Abasi in the year 1795, and the famous Bridge of No Return was built in Ikot Abasi the same year.
  15. The first Qua Iboe Church, founded by Rev. Samuel Bill in 1887 is located in Ibeno, Akwa Ibom State.
  16. Mary Mitchell Slessor, a Scottish missionary, spent most of her life in Use Ikot Oku in Ibiono Ibom, Akwa Ibom State, more than she ever did anywhere else. She died in Use Ikot Oku, her grave monument is still intact till date.
  17. The famous Aba Women Riot” of 1929 originated from a market called Ukam Market in Ikot Abasi, where so many women lost their lives in the killing ordered by a colonial Divisional Officer in Ikot Abasi. The riot was led by a woman from Ikot Abasi, Madam Udo Udoma.
  18. The first Chairman, Eastern Nigeria House of Chiefs was Chief Nyong Essien of present day Akwa Ibom State.
  19. The first Governor General of Uganda was Dr. Egbert Udo Udoma from Akwa Ibom State.

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