Anambra State

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Anambra is a state in southeastern part of Nigeria. The capital and seat of government is Awka. Onitsha, a historic port city from pre-colonial times is the largest urban area in the state. The state's theme is "Light of the Nation", formerly known as the " Home for all". Anambra has 181 towns within it.

Anambra State
Flag of Anambra
Seal of Anambra State Government
Anthem: "With all our hearts, We Pray and ask"
Location of Anambra in Nigeria
Location of Anambra in Nigeria
Coordinates: 6°20′N 7°00′E / 6.333°N 7.000°E / 6.333; 7.000Coordinates: 6°20′N 7°00′E / 6.333°N 7.000°E / 6.333; 7.000
Country Nigeria
 • Governor[1]Willie Obiano (APGA)
 • Deputy GovernorNkem Okeke
 • LegislatureAnambra State House of Assembly
 • SenatorsStella Oduah (Anambra North) PDP
Uche Lilian Ekwunife (Anambra Central) PDP
Ifeanyi Ubah (Anambra South) YPP
 • Total4,844 km2 (1,870 sq mi)
Area rank35 of 36
 (2006 census)1
 • Total4,177,821
 • Estimate 
(2019 By ANSG)
 • Rank8 of 36
 • Density860/km2 (2,200/sq mi)
Demonym(s)Ndi Anambra, Anambrarians
 • Year2007
 • Total$11.83 billion[2]
 • Per capita$1,615[2]
Time zoneUTC+01 (WAT)
postal code
Dialing Code+234
ISO 3166 codeNG-AN
HDI (2018)0.656[3]
medium · 3rd of 37
^1 Preliminary results


The name Anambra is the anglicized version of the river Ọmambala, the Igbo name of the Anambra River which flows through the state as the colonialists could not perfectly pronounce the name of the river.


Anambra's history stretches to the 9th century AD, as revealed by archaeological excavations at Igbo-Ukwu and Ezira. It has great works of art in iron, bronze, copper, and pottery works belonging to the ancient Kingdom of Nri. These have revealed a sophisticated divine Kingship administrative system, which held sway in the area of Anambra from c. 948 AD to 1911. In some towns, such as Ogidi and others, local families had hereditary rights to kingship for centuries.[citation needed]

Great Britain recognised some of these traditional kings and leaders in their system of indirect rule of the Protectorate of South Nigeria. Beginning in the 19th century, they appointed some noble leaders as Warrant Chiefs, authorizing them to collect taxes, among other duties.

Anambra is in the Igbo-dominated area that seceded as part of an independent Biafra in 1967, following rising tensions with Northern Nigeria. During the Nigerian/Biafran war (1967–1970), Biafran engineers constructed a relief airstrip in the town of Uli/Amorka (code named "Annabelle"). Extremely dangerous relief flights took off from Sao Tome and other sites loaded with tons of food and medicine for the distressed Biafran population. Uli/Amorka airstrip was the site where American pilots such as Alex Nicoll, and scores of others, delivered tons of relief supplies to the Biafran population.[4] Disgusted by the suffering and mounting death toll in Biafra from starvation, as well as the continuous harassment of the relief planes by the Nigerian Airforce, Carl Gustaf von Rosen resigned as a Red Cross relief pilot. He helped Biafra to form an airforce of five Minicoin planes Malmö MFI-9 stationed at the Uga airstrip. He named his tiny but effective airforce "Babies of Biafra" in honour of the babies who died from starvation inside Biafra.[citation needed]

Old Anambra State was created in 1976 from part of East Central State, and its capital was Enugu. In 1991 a re-organisation divided Anambra into two states, Anambra and Enugu. The capital of Anambra is Awka.


Cities and administrative divisionsEdit

With an annual population growth rate of 2.21 percent per annum, Anambra State has over 60% of its people living in urban areas. It is one of the most urbanized states in Nigeria.

Agulu Lake

The major urban centres of Anambra state are Onitsha, including Okpoko town,Ogbaru; Nnewi, and Awka, the state capital. Awka and Onitsha had developed as pre-colonial urban centres: Awka was the craft industrial centre of the Nri hegemony. Onitsha is a city state on the Niger, having developed as a river port and commercial centre.

Onitsha is a fast-growing commercial city, and has developed to become a huge conurbation extending to Idemili, Oyi and Anambra East LGAs, with one of the largest markets in West Africa.

In 2012 the tri-city area was dubbed the Onitsha-Nnewi-Awka (ONA) Industrial Axis, in recognition of the expanding industrial capacity. Nnewi (sometimes called the Taiwan of Nigeria)[citation needed] is a rapidly developing industrial and commercial centre. Designated as the state capital, Awka has regained its precolonial administrative eminence.

Other main towns of Anambra state are: Abagana, Abba, Abacha, Umueri, Abatete, Achalla, Achina, Adazi Ani, Adazi-Enu, Adazi-Nnukwu, Agukwu, Aguleri, Agulu, Aguluezechukwu, Aguluzigbo, Ajalli, Akpo, Akpu, Akwaeze, Akwukwu, Alor, Amaetiti, Amansea, Amanuke, Amaokpala, Amawbia, Amesi, Amichi, Amorka, Anam, Anaku, Atani, Awa, [[ Umueri]], Awba-Ofemili, Awgbu, Awka-Etiti, Awkuzu, Azia, Azigbo, Ebenator Ozulogu, Ebenebe, Ekwulobia, Ekwulumili, Enugwu-Adazi, Enugwu-Agidi, Enugwu Aguleri, Enugwu Ukwu, Ezinifite, Ezinihite, Eziowelle, Ezira, Ichi, Ichida, Ideani, Ifitedunu, Ifite-Ogwari, Igbakwu, Igbariam, Igbedor, Igbo-Ukwu, Ihembosi, Ihiala, Ikenga, Inoma, Iseke, Isuaniocha, Isulo, Isuofia, Lilu, Mbosi, Mgbakwu, Mmiata Anam, Nando, Nanka, Nawfia, Nawfija, Nawgu, Ndikelionwu, Ndi-okpaleke, Ndiukwuenu, Nibo, Nimo, Nise, Nkpologwu, Nkpor, Nkwelle-Ezunaka, Neni, Nnobi, Nnokwa, Nsugbe, Nteje, Nzam, Oba, Obeledu, Obosi, Ochuche-Umuodu, Ogbunike, Ogbunka, Ogidi, Ojoto, Okija, Oko, Okpeze, Omasi, Omogho, Omor, Onneh, Ora-Eri, Oraifite, Oraukwu, Orsumoghu, Ossomala, Osumenyi, Owerre-ezukala, Owelle-Olumbanasa, Ozubulu, Ubuluisiuzor, Ufuma, Uga, Ugbenne, Ugbenu, Uke, Ukpo, Ukpor, Ukwalla-Olumbanasa, Ukwulu, Uli, Umuanaga, Umuawulu, Umuchu, Umudioka, Umueje, Umuerum, Umueze Anam, Umuoba Anam, Umudora Anam, Umumbo, Umunnachi, Umunya, Umunze, Umuoji, Umuomaku, Umuona Unubi,Odekpe-Oluumbanasa(11), Utuh,Odeh-Olumbanasa(11), Igbokenyi Olumbanasa(11) Odomagwu-Olumbanasa(11), Allah/Onugwa-Olumbanasa(11).

Local Government AreasEdit

Anambra State LGA Map

Anambra State consists of twenty-one (21) Local Government Areas. They are:


Boundaries are formed by Delta State to the west, Imo State and Rivers State to the south, Enugu State to the east, and Kogi State to the north. The name was derived from the Anambra River (Omambala) which flows through the area and is a tributary of the River Niger.

The indigenous ethnic groups in Anambra state are the Igbo (99% of population) and small population of people who are bilingual, they live mainly in the north-western part of the state.[5]

Anambra is the eighth-most populated state in the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the second-most densely populated state in Nigeria after Lagos State. The stretch of more than 45 km between the towns of Oba and Amorka contains a cluster of numerous thickly populated villages and small towns, giving the area an estimated average density of 1,500–2,000 persons per square kilometre.[6]

Natural resourcesEdit

Anambra is rich in natural gas, crude oil, bauxite, and ceramic.[7] It has an almost 100 percent arable soil.

Anambra state has many other resources in terms of agro-based activities such as fisheries and farming, as well as land cultivated for pasturing and animal husbandry.

It has the lowest poverty rate in Nigeria.[8]

Oil and gasEdit

In the year 2006, a foundation-laying ceremony for the first Nigerian private refinery, Orient Petroleum Refinery (OPR), was made at Aguleri area.[9] The Orient Petroleum Resource Ltd, (OPRL) owners of OPR, was licensed in June 2002, by the Federal Government to construct a private refinery with a capacity of 55,000 barrels per day (~7,500 t/d).

In 2012, following the efforts of Governor Peter Obi and other stakeholders of Orient Petroleum, Anambra State became an oil-producing state. The indigenous company struck oil in the Anambra River basin.[10]

On 2 August 2015, the management of Orient Petroleum Resources Plc said the company planned to increase its crude oil production to 3,000 barrels per day by September 2015, as it stepped up production activities in two new oil wells in its Aguleri oil fields. An indigenous company, Nails and Stanley Ltd, was to establish a gas plant at Umueje in Ayamelum Local Government Area to support economic activities in the oil and gas industry in the state.[11]

Urbanization and structural planningEdit

St Joseph Church, Awka

Since the late 1990s, there has been a migration from rural to urban areas in the state, resulting in Anambra becoming a highly urbanized state: 62% of its population lives in urban areas. In October 2015, the APGA-led state government of Willie Obiano signed a memorandum of understanding with Galway modular housing company, Affordable Building Concepts International, for 10,000 housing units to be built in the state.[12]

Given decades of neglect of infrastructure and bad governance, the shift in human migration has posed problems for the state. Infrastructure improvements, both physical and social, have lagged behind the growth in population. There are problems in environmental sanitation, erosion control, and provision of social services. Major cities have become characterized by inadequate and deteriorated road networks and walkways, unregulated building patterns, poor sanitation, uncontrolled street trading, mountains of garbage, and chaotic transport systems, creating congestion, noise pollution, and overcrowding.[13]

The government of Peter Obi, with the assistance of the UN-HABITAT, produced 20-year structural plans (2009–2028) for three major cities in the State: Onitsha, Nnewi and Awka Capital Territory, to restore urban planning and guide their growth into the future.

The plans contain policies and proposals for land use, city beautification, road infrastructure, industrial development, housing, waste disposal, water supply and health and educational facilities to turn the cities into successful urban areas that can generate employment and wealth, and provide high living standards for their residents.[14]

Anambra became the first state in Nigeria to adopt structural Plans for its cities. With effective implementation, it should systematically grow as a major economic center in Nigeria and West Africa.

The process of urbanization is fairly contributed by population growth, immigration, migration, and infrastructure initiatives like good road, water, power, and gardens, resulting in the growth of villages into towns, town into cities and cities into metros. To have ecologically feasible development, planning requires an understanding of the growth dynamics. There is a fear that if too many people leave the villages, only the aged men and women will be left to farm. This pattern has been seen in Amesi, Akpo, and Achina towns in Aguata local government area. They have been important in the production of yam, Cocoyam, and cassava through consistent agriculture, but such activities have suffered due to the out-migration of youth to the urban centres. There has been both food scarcity in the region and over-population in urban areas.

To upgrade the State capital and improve traffic, Awka, Governor Willie Obiano signed off on construction of three fly-overs between the Amawbia and Arroma end of the Enugu-Onitsha Expressway, a distance of about three kilometres within the city.[15]

Culture and tourismEdit

Ogbunike Caves, listed by UNESCO[16] as a World Heritage Site, is one of the most visited tourist sites in Anambra State. It is classified as a Sandstone cave (Lateritic sandstones of Campanian-Miocene age).[17] The Owerre Ezukala caves and waterfalls are great tourist attractions in the State.[18] Largely unexplored, the caves are said the be the largest in West Africa.[19][20]

Ornamental staff head in the form of a coiled snake, 9th-century bronze, Igbo-Ukwu, Anambra State

Igbo Ukwu Museum:[21] Igbo Ukwu is an ancient town known for its astonishing metal crafts; it continues to attract tourists to see its bronze artifacts. First noticed in 1938, the bronzes were later excavated by Thurstan Shaw (an English archaeologist). They have been dated to the 9th century, and are of high value and historic relevance.[22]

Onugbu soup is a famous dish from the state.[23][24]


Public Educational institutions in Anambra include:Edit

Private universities include:Edit

  • The Tansian University, Umunya
  • Madonna University, Okija
  • St Paul's University, Awka
  • St Peter's University, Achina with a campus at Onneh Town.
  • The UA College of Science & Technology Isuofia
  • The University of America College of Science and Technology.

Awka, the state capital, is also the center of Nigeria's metalwork and carving industries. Literacy rate in the state is comparatively high compared to other states.[specify] Anambra State students have won laurels nationally and internationally in recent times. This is a pointer to the literacy rate of the State when compared to others.[26][27][28][29] Primary and secondary school enrollment in the state is one of the highest in the country.[30] Consequently, Anambra state has the highest number of JAMB candidates going after the limited number of spaces in Nigeria's tertiary colleges. Since 2011/2012 till date (2014), its students have had the best results in both WAEC and NECO-conducted senior secondary school examinations.[31][32]


Anambra's political history can be described as varied. Until the early 21st century, it was marked by considerable unrest. Having a long list of "firsts" in Nigerian history, it has been known by the sobriquet as "The Light of The Nation". On 29 May 1999, Chinwoke Mbadinuju was sworn in as civilian governor of Anambra state, after many years of military rule. His administration was marred by deep problems: the most notable was withholding of teachers' salaries in the school. The teachers finally conducted a ten-month strike in all the government secondary schools in the state.[33]

Before Mbadinuju's rule, secondary education had been free of charge. But his administration imposed a tuition fee of 3,000 Naira per term for all secondary schools, which led to an unprecedented massive demonstration by secondary school students from all over the state. Many people attribute Mbadinuju's failure to political godfathers; his successor also struggled. On 26 May 2003, Chris Ngige was sworn in as the new governor of the state, but he was removed in March 2006 after Peter Obi of APGA filed charges against him of electoral malpractice. The Court of Appeal in Enugu asserted that Ngige's apparent victory in the 2003 election was fraudulent and ordered him to leave the seat.[34]

Obi was ousted by a faction of the Anambra State House of Assembly on 2 November 2006 and replaced by Virginia Etiaba, his deputy.[35] On 9 February 2007, Mrs. Etiaba handed power back to Obi after the Court of Appeal had nullified Obi's removal.[36]

On 14 April 2007, Andy Uba of PDP was "elected" as the new governor of the state and, on 29 May, was sworn in. Reported to be massively rigged, the election was widely criticised. On 14 June 2007 the Supreme Court of Nigeria ruled that Peter Obi's tenure had not ended; therefore there was no vacancy in the governorship. It removed Andy Uba from office and replaced him with his predecessor Obi.[37]

On 6 February 2010, Peter Obi was re-elected governor for a second term of four years, after a hot contest with Chris Ngige, a former governor of the state; Prof. Charles Soludo, a former governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria; and Andy Uba, who was a strong voice in the state's politics.[citation needed] Other contenders included Mrs Uche Ekwunife, Prince Nicholas Ukachukwu, and many others. Twenty-five contestants ran for the office. Obi was affirmed as the winner of the election, having more than 30% votes above the immediate runner-up. Chief Willie Obiano was sworn in on 17 March 2014 after winning 16 November 2013 election. Governor Willie Obiano of All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) was sworn in for a second term in office on 17 March 2018 after the victory at 18 November 2017 elections.[38][39]

Notable peopleEdit

Chinua Achebe
Chuba Okadigbo

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ See List of Governors of Anambra State for a list of prior governors
  2. ^ a b "C-GIDD (Canback Global Income Distribution Database)". Canback Dangel. Archived from the original on 11 March 2012. Retrieved 20 August 2008.
  3. ^ "Sub-national HDI - Area Database - Global Data Lab". Retrieved 13 September 2018.
  4. ^ [1] Archived 23 July 2011 at the Wayback Machine
  5. ^ "Anambra State". Retrieved 25 August 2013.
  6. ^ gamers (22 August 2019). "[Shapefile] Anambra State". Geospatial Analysis Mapping and Environmental Research Solutions. Retrieved 26 May 2020.
  7. ^ Ogbu, Emma. "SOLID MINERALS IN ANAMBRA STATE: NEGLECTED GOLD MINES - Radio Nigeria". Radio Nigeria. Retrieved 26 May 2020.
  8. ^ "Anambra has the lowest poverty rate in Nigeria today - Obiano". Vanguard News. 1 August 2017. Retrieved 26 May 2020.
  9. ^ [2], All Africa, 2006
  10. ^, Nigeria (24 March 2012). "Excitement as Orient Petroleum strikes oil in Anambra". Retrieved 3 December 2015.
  11. ^ Thisday Live, Nigeria (August 3, 2015). "Anambra Refinery Targets 3,000 Barrels of Oil Per Day". Archived from the original on September 26, 2015. Retrieved December 3, 2015.
  12. ^ "Affordable Building Concepts International to build houses in Nigeria". The Irish Times. 30 October 2015. Retrieved 4 December 2015.
  13. ^ Nweke, Anselem (3 October 2019). "Rural-Urban Migration in Nigeria, Implication on the Development of the Society: Anambra State as the Focus of the Study". Rochester, NY. SSRN 3463832. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  14. ^ ". Nigeria | Activities | Structure Plans for Three Urban Areas in Anambra State". Un-Habitat. 13 August 2013. Retrieved 25 August 2013.
  15. ^ "Anambra Today: Obiano builds 3-Arms Zone, begins moves to relocate Govt House". The Sun, Nigeria. June 26, 2014. Archived from the original on December 8, 2015. Retrieved December 3, 2015.
  16. ^ UNESCO World Heritage Centre (27 June 2013). "Ogbunike Caves - UNESCO World Heritage Centre". Retrieved 25 August 2013.
  17. ^ Jochen Duckeck <>. "Show Caves of Nigeria: Ogba Ogbunike". Archived from the original on 1 February 2014. Retrieved 25 August 2013.
  18. ^ "Anambra State Government - Light Of The Nation". Retrieved 26 May 2020.
  19. ^ "Destination. . . Ogba-Ukwu Caves & Waterfalls". The Guardian Nigeria News - Nigeria and World News. 5 August 2017. Retrieved 26 May 2020.
  20. ^ "Ogbaukwu Cave and Waterfall in Owerre Ezukala in Orumba South local government area of the state – Channels Television". Retrieved 26 May 2020.
  21. ^ "Nigeria - Encyclopædia Britannica". 1 October 1960. Retrieved 25 August 2013.
  22. ^ "Anambra State Government - Light Of The Nation". Retrieved 20 May 2020.
  23. ^ Obi-Young, Otosirieze. "For 60 Years, Three Generations of Caterers Have Perfected Ofe Onugbu". Folio Nigeria. Retrieved 17 August 2020.
  24. ^ "The Tastiest Mix of Onugbu". Folio Nigeria. Retrieved 17 August 2020.
  25. ^ "Anambra State – SEREDEC". Retrieved 20 May 2020.
  26. ^ "Anambra girls hit gold at World Technovation challenge". The Guardian Nigeria News - Nigeria and World News. 11 August 2018. Retrieved 26 May 2020.
  27. ^ "Anambra school wins bronze in world scientific competition". The Sun Nigeria. 3 April 2019. Retrieved 26 May 2020.
  28. ^ "Anambra wins 4 national awards in education". The Sun Nigeria. 7 October 2019. Retrieved 26 May 2020.
  29. ^ "Anambra State Government - Light Of The Nation". Retrieved 26 May 2020.
  30. ^ EduCeleb (1 September 2018). "Primary School enrolment rate in Nigeria (State by State)". EduCeleb. Retrieved 26 May 2020.
  31. ^ "Best NECO, SSCE candidate gets Anambra scholarship". Vanguard News. 9 January 2013. Retrieved 26 May 2020.
  32. ^ "Again, South-East leads in WASSCE performance chart". Punch Newspapers. Retrieved 26 May 2020.
  33. ^ "Anambra State Government - Light Of The Nation". Retrieved 27 May 2020.
  34. ^ "Ngige out, Obi in as Anambra gov". The Guardian (Lagos). 16 March 2006. Archived from the original on 24 October 2007. Retrieved 10 February 2007.
  35. ^ "Anambra: How Etiaba Became Governor". Thisday (Lagos), 4 November 2006. Archived from the original on September 30, 2007. Retrieved February 10, 2007.
  36. ^ "Obi Floors Lawmakers - Take Over From Etiaba". Nigerian Tribune (Lagos), Saturday, 10 February 2007. Archived from the original on February 11, 2007. Retrieved February 10, 2007.
  37. ^ " | Africa". Reuters. 9 February 2009. Archived from the original on 21 December 2007. Retrieved 25 August 2013.
  38. ^ "Governor Obiano, sworn-in for second term in office". The Guardian Nigeria News - Nigeria and World News. 17 March 2018. Retrieved 27 May 2020.
  39. ^ "FG not building any airport in Anambra". - No 1 Entertainment Portal. 28 October 2020. Retrieved 27 May 2020.
  40. ^ "Biafran Declaration of Independence | AHA". Retrieved 26 May 2020.
  41. ^ Nwaubani, Adaobi Tricia (15 January 2020). "Remembering the war that many prefer to forget". BBC News. Retrieved 26 May 2020.
  42. ^ "The Nigerian royal who loved to lampoon modern life". BBC News. 8 February 2020. Retrieved 8 May 2020.
  43. ^[permanent dead link]
  44. ^ "Nigerian National Merit Award" (PDF).
  45. ^ [3] Archived 21 November 2008 at the Wayback Machine
  46. ^ "ICTP Prize Winner 1985 – ICTP Portal". Retrieved 25 August 2013.
  47. ^ "Chike Obi and Fermat's Last Theorem". 7 April 1921. Retrieved 25 August 2013.

External linksEdit