Abia State (Igbo: Ȯra Abia) is a state in the South-East geopolitical zone of Nigeria, bordered to the north and northeast by the states of Anambra, Enugu, and Ebonyi, Imo State to the west, Cross River State to the east, Akwa Ibom State to the southeast, and Rivers State to the south. It takes its name from the acronym for four of the state's most populated regions: Aba, Bende, Isuikwuato, and Afikpo.[5] The state capital is Umuahia while the largest city and commercial centre is Aba.

Abia
Abia State
An image of the Abia State Tower
Abia Tower in Umuahia
Flag of Abia
Seal of Abia State
Nicknames: 
God's Own State
Igbo:Ọ̀hà Chineke
Location of Abia State in Nigeria
Location of Abia State in Nigeria
Coordinates: 5°25′N 7°30′E / 5.417°N 7.500°E / 5.417; 7.500Coordinates: 5°25′N 7°30′E / 5.417°N 7.500°E / 5.417; 7.500
Country Nigeria
Date created27 August 1991
CapitalUmuahia
Government
 • BodyGovernment of Abia State
 • Governor[1]Okezie Ikpeazu (PDP)
 • Deputy GovernorUde Oko Chukwu (PDP)
 • LegislatureAbia State House of Assembly
 • SenatorsC: Theodore Orji (PDP)
N: Orji Uzor Kalu (APC)
S: Enyinnaya Abaribe (PDP)
 • RepresentativesList
Area
 • Total6,320 km2 (2,440 sq mi)
Population
 (2006 est)[2]
 • Total4,112,230
 • Density650/km2 (1,700/sq mi)
Demonym(s)Abians
GDP (PPP)
 • Year2007
 • Total$18.69 billion[3]
 • Per capita$3,003[3]
Time zoneUTC+01 (WAT)
Postal code
440001
Dialing Code+234
ISO 3166 codeNG-AB
LanguageEnglish
Igbo
HDI (2018)0.640[4]
medium · 8th of 37
Websiteabiastate.gov.ng

Of the 36 states, Abia is the 32th largest in area and 27th most populous with an estimated population of over 3,720,000 as of 2016. Geographically, the state is divided between the Niger Delta swamp forests in the far south and the drier Cross–Niger transition forests with some savanna in the rest of the state. Other important geographical features are the Imo and Aba Rivers which flow along the Abia's western and southern borders, respectively.

Modern-day Abia State has been inhabited for years by various ethnic groups, primarily the Igbo people. In the pre-colonial period, what is now Abia State was a part of medieval Kingdom of Nri and Arochukwu-based Aro Confederacy before the latter was defeated in the early 1900s by British troops in the Anglo-Aro War. After the war, the British incorporated the area into the Southern Nigeria Protectorate which later merged into British Nigeria; after the merger, Abia became a centre of anti-colonial resistance with the Women's War being started in Oloko.

After independence in 1960, the area of now-Abia was a part of the post-independence Eastern Region until 1967 when the region was split and the area became part of the East Central State. Less than two months afterwards, the former Eastern Region attempted to secede in the three-year long Nigerian Civil War with Abia as a part of the secessionist state of Biafra. At the war's end and the reunification of Nigeria, the East Central State was reformed until 1976 when Imo State (including now-Abia) was formed by the Murtala Muhammed regime. Fifteen years afterwards, Imo State was divided with eastern Imo being broken off to form the new Abia State; but in 1996, part of Abia's northeast was removed to form a part of the new Ebonyi State.[6]

Economically, Abia State is based around the production of crude oil and natural gas along with agriculture, mainly of yams, maize, taro, oil palm, and cassava. A key minor industry is manufacturing, especially in and around Aba.[7] With its fast growing population and industrialization, Abia has the joint-eighth highest Human Development Index in the country.[8]

GeographyEdit

Abia State, which occupies about 6,320 square kilometres, is bounded on the north and northeast by the states of Anambra, Enugu, and Ebonyi. To the west of Abia is Imo State, to the east and southeast are Cross River State and Akwa Ibom State respectively and to the south is Rivers State. The southern part of the State lies within the riverine part of Nigeria, it is a low-lying tropical rainforest with some oil-palm brush,[9] the southern portion gets heavy rainfall of about 2,400 millimetres (94 in) per year and is especially intense between the months of April through October.[10] The rest of the State is moderately high plain and wooded savanna.[9] The most important rivers in Abia State are the Imo and Aba Rivers which flow into the Atlantic Ocean through Akwa Ibom State.[citation needed]

History and populationEdit

Abia State is one of the thirty-six States in Nigeria and has about seventeen Local Government Areas out of the 774 Local Government Areas that constitute or make up the Federal Republic of Nigeria.Abia State was created on the 27th of August in the year 1991 during the government of General Ibrahim Babangida. The State is located in  the south-eastern part of Nigerian. Abia state was created out of Imo State and the two sister states share boundaries. Abia State known as one of the constituent states of the Niger Delta region. The State has its capital is Umuahia while the commercial city of the state is Aba. Abia State is also referred to as GOD’s OWN STATE. The name "Abia" is an abbreviation of four of Abia state's densely populated regions Aba, Bende, Isuikwuato, and Afikpo.[11][12]

Abia State is an Igbo speaking state and are found under the Igbo ethnic group. The Igbo people, who are one of the indigenous peoples of South-eastern part of Nigeria, make up 95% of the population. Their traditional language, Igbo is in widespread use.[13] English is also widely spoken, and serves as the official language in governance and business. In Abia State over 7  million people are mainly Christians.[14]

Infrastructure and economyEdit

Crude oil and gas production is a prominent activity, as it contributes over 39% of the State's GDP.[15] However, the indigenous oil companies- through the Marginal Fields Programme (MFP)- have not found it easy to attract the requisite funding and infrastructural capacity to explore some of the marginal oil fields which are about 50 in the State.[16]

The manufacturing sector only accounts for 2% of the GDP.[15] The industrial centre of the state is in Aba, with textile manufacturing, pharmaceuticals, soap, plastics, cement, footwear, and cosmetics.[9] In addition to the above, Abia State Government has just built a 9,000 capacity multipurpose International Conference Centre in Umuahia. This edifice of international standard was built by Governor T.A Orji to enhance tourism as well as boost the state economy through hosting of major International and Local events.

Representing 27% of the GDP,[15] agriculture- which employs 70%[15] of the state workforce- is the second economic sector of Abia. With its adequate seasonal rainfall, Abia has much arable land that produces yams, maize, potatoes, rice, cashews, plantains, taro, and cassava.[9] Oil palm is the most important cash crop.[9]

Oil and gas explorationEdit

There are over 100 oil wells and 3 installed flow stations in Abia State.[16][17] There is also an associated gas plant, Abia/NNPC gas plant.[17] As of 2012, boundary Commission said it returned 42 oil wells from neighbouring Rivers State to Abia.[17] This would have meant Abia being fourth largest oil-producing state in the country.[17] Oil giant, Shell, holds most of the licenses for the wells in the State and has concentrated on the estimated 50 wells that are considered high-yield.[16]

The State produced 36,000 barrels of crude oil per day; "Imoturu produces 23,000 barrels per day and Isimili flow station produces over 8,000 barrels of crude oil per day.[citation needed] Then four oil wells in Izaku go to Obigo flow station. About 30 oil wells from my village go to Umuri and about eight oil wells from Umurie go to Afam", lamented Samuel Okezie Nwogu, Chairman of Abia State Oil Producing Development Area Commission (ASOPADEC).

However, the State has complained of poor funding from its oil revenue federal allocation.[17]

University and collegesEdit

There are four universities in the state: the federal-owned Michael Okpara University of Agriculture at Umudike,[18] the state-owned Abia State University in Uturu,[19] and the Gregory University[20] Uturu and Rhema University[21] in Aba, both privately owned, Abia State College of Education (Technical) Arochukwu [1], Abia State University Law Campus Umudike, Umuahia. There are two tertiary hospitals, the Federal Medical Center (FMC)[22] in Umuahia and the Abia State University Teaching Hospital in Aba, which serve as referral hospitals in the State. The Abia State Polytechnic[23] is also in the city of Aba. There are two major power plants in Abia, The Alaoji Power plant[24] and the Geometric Power plant.[25] Abia is one of the most peaceful states in Nigeria and has been a "haven" for foreign investors. The state's population has grown rapidly since its creation.

TransportationEdit

The nearest airport to Abia is Sam Mbakwe Cargo Airport (Owerri Airport), an hour drive to Umuahia and Aba; and Port Harcourt International Airport, 2 hours. Akwa Ibom Airport (Akwa Ibom State) can also serve would-be visitors. The distance between Uyo (Akwa Ibom) and Umuahia (Abia) is: 73.28 kilometres (45.53 mi).

The rail transport is also another means of travel, very effective but currently on revitalisation. Aba is connected to Port Harcourt by rail. Umuahia is connected to Aba and Enugu by rail.[9] The coastal parts of the State are equally accessible with boats and canoes.

LanguagesEdit

Below is a list of Languages of Abia State organised by there LGA:[26]

LGA Languages
Arochukwu Igbo
Ini Igbo
Obi Ngwa Igbo
Umuahia South Igbo
Umuahia North Igbo
Ikwuano Igbo
Isiukwato Igbo
Ukwa West Igbo
Aba South Igbo;
Aba North Igbo
Isiala Ngwa North Igbo
Isiala Ngwa South Igbo
Obingwa Igbo
Umunneochi Igbo
Ugwunagbo Igbo
Ukwa East Igbo

PoliticsEdit

The State Government is led by a democratically elected Governor who works closely with members of the state's House of Assembly. The capital city is Umuahia. There are 17 local government areas (LGAs).

 
Abia State House of Assembly, Nigeria

At statehood in 1991, Abia was ruled by Ibrahim Babangida-appointed Military Administrator Frank Ajobena before Ogbonnaya Onu was elected governor later that year under the Third Nigerian Republic. Onu governed for nearly two years before Sani Abacha ended the Third Republic and reinstated full military rule. Under the Abacha regime, three more Military Administrators (Chinyere Ike Nwosu, Temi Ejoor, and Moses Fasanya) were appointed before Abacha's death and the accession of Abdulsalami Abubakar. Abubakar appointed one more Military Administrator, Anthony Obi, before starting the transition to democracy in 1998.

In 1999, Nigeria returned to democracy and Orji Uzor Kalu was elected governor on the platform of the People's Democratic Party. Consequently, he was sworn in on 29 May 1999. In 2003, when it was time for fresh elections, Kalu re-contested on the platform of the PDP and got a second mandate to govern (the Constitution of Nigeria limits Governors to two terms in office). At the end of Kalu's term in 2007, Theodore Orji (PPA) defeated Onyema Ugochukwu (PDP) in the 2007 gubernatorial election to become Abia's next Governor. In 2011, Theodore Orji defected from the PPA to the PDP before being re-elected for another four-year term later that year.

In 2015, Okezie Ikpeazu (PDP) was voted in as the ninth Governor of Abia State.[27] Four years later, he won re-election in 2019, defeating Uche Ogah of the All Progressives Congress and Alex Otti of APGA to be sworn in as Governor for a second term on 29 May 2019.

Local Government AreasEdit

Abia State is made up of seventeen (17) Local Government Areas. They are:

Traditional rulersEdit

Title Ethnic Group Name Class LGAs Palace
Enyi (Eze) Aba Igbo / Eziama Aba Eze Issac Ikonne 1 Aba North Osusu Aba
Ochiudo 1 Aba Ukwu Igbo / Aba Jonathan U. oguejiofor (JP): Justice of Peace of Federal Republic of Nigeria, Abia State
Osimiri III Aba Igbo / Aba Eze (Barrister) Sunday Emejiaka 1 Aba South Aba
Eze Aro Igbo / Arochukwu Mazi Ogbonnaya Vincent Okoro (Eze Aro III) 1 Arochukwu Oro Arochukwu
Ugwumba 1 Ndida Ozaar Igbo / Asa Eze Samuel Chukwuemeka Agu Ukwa West Umuebulungwu, Ndida Ozaar Autonomous Community
Ike 1 Ikeisu Igbo / Isu Augustine O. Igwe (Ike I) ? Arochukwu Ikeisu (Utugiyi)
Ezeala III Aro Ngwa Igbo / Aro Ngwa Eze Edward Enwereji ? Osisioma Ngwa
Ugo Oha (Eze) Etiti Mgboko Umuanunu Igbo / Etiti Ngozi Ibekwe 1 Obi ngwa
Eze Ukwu 1 Ngwa-Ukwu Igbo / Ngwa Benard Enweremadu 1 Isiala Ngwa Ngwa Ukwu Kingdom. The ancestral home of Ngwa Land.
Nya 1 Nunya Igbo / Oguduasaa M.E. Ihevume ? Isuikwuato Nunya Autonomous Community
Ossah-Ibeku (Eze) Umuahia[28] Igbo / Osaa Nze Hope Onuigbo X X Umuahia Amibo, Nsukwe
Eze Uturu Igbo / Uturu A.E. Ude ? Isuikwuato Uturu
Igbojiakuru (Eze) Alayi Igbo / Alayi Ukeje Philip ? Bende Ndi Elendu, Amaeke Alayi
Awu (Eze) Isuamawu Igbo / Isuikwuato Surveyor Chris E Aboh, FNIS ? Isuikwuato Eluama Isuama
Enachioken Abiriba Igbo / Abiriba Kalu Kalu Ogbu 1 Ohafia Abiriba
Ohanyere I Ohiya Igbo / Umuahia Eze Abel E. Uhuegbu ? Umuahia South Umueze, Ohiya
Eze Ohanyere I Ahiaba Ubi Igbo / Isiala Ngwa Eze D.O. Ogbuisi ? Isiala Ngwa North Abia
EZE TOWE 1 Umutowe. Igbo / Eze G. C Onwuka ? Umuahia South Abia
Okaa Omee I Amaikwu, Abia Igbo / Uche Nwamarah ? Umuahia South Abia
"Ehi II" Ehi na Uguru Auto. Comm, Umuguru Igbo / Umuguru Eze E. E. Eluwa 1 Isiala Ngwa South
"Ochi 1" Ochi na Isuochi. Comm, Umunneochi Igbo / Umu Nneochi HRM EZEKWESIRI 1 Umu Nneochi Abia

Culture and tourismEdit

Tourist destinations include:

  • Arochukwu is associated with slave trade.[29]
  • Azumini Blue River waterside[30]
  • The Amakama wooden cave; a hollow tree that can accommodate up to twenty people.[31][32]
  • Caves located in the north, ranging from Umu – Neochi to Arochukwu.
  • Traditional festivals and dances
  • National War Museum, Umuahia and Ojukwu Bunker in Umuahia
  • Museum of Colonial History in Aba
  • Akwete” cloth weaving at Ukwu East LGA
  • Ohafia War Dancers
  • AmaforIsingwu biannual Iza aha ceremony
  • Akpe Festival in Umuahia[33]

Notable peopleEdit

ReferencesEdit

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