Nigeria 36 States, Capital and Their Slogan

Nigeria States and their Capital

Nigeria is the most populous country in Africa with over 216 million citizens. Nigeria occupies the 14th position in the list of largest countries in Africa by area as it covers 923, 768 km² space.

Talking of area, Nigeria has 36 States and a Federal capital territory known as Abuja. Each state has a governor controlling and coordinating its affairs.

There are more to know about Nigerian states, including their capital cities, slogans, governors and brief history. All these are what we shall be discussing in this article, so we advise you seat-back, relax and be attentive while we hit the ground running.

Table of Contents

How Many States Are In Nigeria

There are 36 states in Nigeria. They are divided into six geo-political zones, including the North Central (NC), North East (NE), North West (NW), South West (SW), South East (SE) and South (SS).

Nigerian States in the Southwest region are Ondo, Osun, Ogun, Oyo, Lagos, and Ekiti; while the North East states include, Borno, Gombe, Adamawa, Yobe, Bauchi, and Taraba.

Sokoto, Zamfara, Kaduna, Kano, Jigawa, Katsina, and Kebbi are the Northwestern states; while Benue, Kogi, Kwara, Nasarawa, Niger, Plateau and Federal Capital Territory (Abuja) belong to the North Central (also known as the Middle Belt)

South East region of the country consists of Ebonyi, Anambra, Enugu, Imo and Abia. South-South Nigeria which is often referred to as the Niger Delta region contains Delta, Edo, Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Cross River and Rivers.

Each state contains nothing less than 18 local governments, while all the 36 states jointly produce 774 local government areas. This explains why there are 774 Local governments in Nigeria.

Meanwhile, it’s crucial you know that the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja, is not a state. Its affairs are governed by some set of trusted officials chosen and controlled by the Federal Government.

Abuja is a very big city with numerous state-of-the-art buildings and structures. It serves as home to many political offices and meeting venues in the country.

The presidential Villa is located in Abuja; while the senate house and house of reps’ offices are also situated in the famous city.

It will interest you to know that every Nigerian state is a semi-autonomous political unit as it shares political powers with the federal government.

The country’s constitution gives each state the power to create its own constitution guiding its citizens and region. Though the federal government allocation varies from state to state, the Nigerian constitution clearly declares no state is supreme to the other.

Nigeria States and their Capital

Do you know that Ikeja is the capital city of Lagos? What about Ondo state do you know its capital? Well, it’s okay if you don’t know them.

Just take a cursory gaze at next paragraph, you will find a complete, well-arranged list of all the states in Nigeria and their capital. Gently go through the table to know the capital city of every state in Nigeria.

Nigerian States and Their Slogan

Each state has a unique slogan which describes its attributes or the historic roles it plays in making the country a better place for Nigerians.

So, let’s take out time to discuss the 36 states, their slogans, and other important information you should know about them.

1. Abia State – Umuahia (God’s Own State)

Occupying the first spot on our list is Abia state also known as the God’s own state. Located in the southeast part of Nigeria, Abia is one of the most populated states in Nigeria with over 3.7 million citizens.

It is believed that Abia State is as big as the whole of Uruguay in terms of population. Abia isn’t only known for its massive population, but also a home of creative and intelligent craft men and women who know and have all it takes to manufacture valuable and sellable products to the international market.

Aba, the China in Nigeria, is a famous commercial city in Nigeria and it is located in Abia state. This explains why many graduates who studied engineering courses and some other professional courses love traveling to the God’s own state to practice all they studied in school.

Aside from being a good products-producing state, Abia state citizens are also involve in farming as there are a large percentage of farmers in the state.

The Abia state soil is good for planting food crops like cassava, yam, rice, potatoes, plantain, maize, and taro. However, Palm oil is the most valuable and important cash crop in Abia state.

Abia was created in 1991 and the name was coined out of the four most prominent tribes in the state at the time namely Aba, Bende, Isuikwuato, and Afikpo.

2. Adamawa State – Yola (Land of Beauty)

Adamawa state is known as the land of beauty, a state located in the northeast Nigeria.

“Adamawa” was formed out of the name of a warrior, Modibbo Adama Bin Ardo Hassan, who fought, conquered and settled in the region in the 19th century.

Adamawa has quite a significant amount of mountains across its regions. Unsurprisingly, it is one of the most mountainous states in Nigeria.

The land and soil support farming, hence it’s no surprise that the people of the state are predominantly engaged in agricultural practices.

Adamawa State is known for cash crops like groundnut and cotton. Other food crops like maize, millet, rice, guinea, cassava, and yam are also cultivated in the state.

With 21 local government areas and over 4.2 million Citizens, Adamawa is larger and more populated than Abia state.

You would love to know that the whole of Croatia and Adamawa has the number of citizens. Adamawa is largely dominated by the Fulani-speaking people and the Fulfulde who jointly cover 70% of the population.

3. Akwa Ibom – Uyo (Land of Promised)

What first come to your mind whenever you hear “Akwa Ibom?” Akwa Ibom is one of the Niger Delta states, which means it is located in the south-south geopolitical region of the country.

Also known as the land of promise, Akwa Ibom remains the highest oil-producing state in Nigeria and neighboring nations.

Akwa Ibom is a hub for tourists looking for a safe and secure place to explore in Nigeria, thanks to its beautiful, neat and healthy environments.

With over 5.4 million population and 31 Local Government areas, Akwa Ibom is believed to have similar population as Slovakia, although the European nation enjoys better economy and standard of living.

It will interest you to know that the Akwa Ibom state is named after the famous Qua River from Iboe, and it shares boundaries with the Atlantic Ocean.

Though there are many tribal groups in Akwa Ibom, the state is dominated by Ibibio, Annang, Oron, Eket, and Obolo.

4. Anambra State – Awka (Light of the nation)

Located in the southeastern part of the country, Anambra State is currently known as “Light of the nation” having changed its slogan from “Home for All” few years ago.

The beautiful city of Akwa is Anambra state’s capital, and it’s known for its state-of-the-art buildings and renowned companies.

Living in the state means you have very high chances of being rich because Anambra has the lowest poverty rate in Nigeria.

Are you wondering how it manages to control its poverty rate? Well, that’s because Anambra is an oil-producing state and a hub for business owners and industrious minds.

Nigeria’s highly-rated Industrial city, Nnewi, and the country’s famous commercial city, Onitsha, both situate in Anambra. This further explains why poverty rate is in its barest minimum.

Anambra is larger than the some states discussed above as it features only 21 local government areas and over 5.5 million citizens. Hence, it is similar to Congo in terms of population rate and growth.

Meanwhile, Anambra is located in the southeastern part of Nigeria and it has ceramics and bauxite as main natural resources. It is an Igbo state with over 80% Igbo-speaking citizens and a few of Igala, Yoruba and other tribes.

5. Bauchi State – Bauchi (Pearl of Tourism)

Bauchi is one of the states in the northeastern part of Nigeria. Known as the Pearl of tourism, the state has 20 local government areas and nothing less than 55 dialects.

The state slogan (pearl of tourism) can be traced to the presence of the famous Yankari National Park. Previously called the Yankari Game Reserves, Yankari National Park is Nigeria’s largest game reserves.

The state isn’t just about the captivating Game Reserves; it equally contains some natural resources like gypsum, lead/zinc, uranium and Amethyst.

Despite the numerous tribal groups in the state, Bauchi is widely known as Hausa-speaking state due to the tribe’s overwhelming population across all the Local Government areas.

Meanwhile, there is bit of confusion over the origin of its name. Some believe that the state got its name from the first set of people who lived in the region. According to a myth, this set of people was called kasashen Bauchi; hence they named the place Bauchi.

Another story suggests that the state was named after a powerful and famous warrior, Baushe, who stayed in the state during the 9th century.

The third version of the story reveals that ‘Bauchi’ means slavery in Hausa language. Unfortunately, the state happened to be the main target for slave raiders. So they decided to name the city ‘Bauchi’

6. Bayelsa State – Yenagoa (Glory of All Lands)

Created in October 1996, Bayelsa is located in the South-South (Niger Delta) part of the country, meaning it is an oil-producing state.

Bayelsa has only eight local government areas thereby becoming the least populated state in Nigeria with a little above 2.2 million citizens.

Despite the small number and size, Bayelsa still equals the total size of Namibia in terms of population. It is arguably the most productive oil-producing state in Nigeria as it possesses one of the country’s largest oil deposits.

Talking of names, the term “Bayelsa” was creatively formed from names of three local government areas including Belga (Brass) LGA, Yenegoa LGA and Sagbama LGA.

BA (from Belga), YEL (from Yenagoa) and SA (from Sagbma) were combined to become Bayelsa. The most popular languages in Bayelsa are the Izon, Nembe, Epie-Atissa and Ogbia.

It will interest you to know that Bayelsa state was carved out from Rivers state. Both states used to be one until the separation in 1996.

7. Benue State – Makurdi (Food Basket of the Nation)

Truly, Benue is the food basket of the nation. The state in north central part of Nigeria (middle belt) is a source of most agricultural produce in Nigerian markets.

70% of soybeans in Nigeria are produced in Benue state. Yam, cashew, mango and other fruits and foods crops are readily available in the state.

That’s not all about Benue State, it also has diverse mineral resources like limestone, Gypsum, Feldspar, Baryte, Gemstone, Mineral salts, Kaolinite, among others.

Named after the ‘Binuwe’ — the ‘mother of Waters’, Benue State has 23 local government areas and 5.7 million citizens. It was founded on 3 February 1976, and it’s as big as the whole of Denmark in terms of population size. Meanwhile, The Tiv, Idoma and Igede people are the leading tribes and ethnic groups in the state.

8. Borno State – Maiduguri (Home of Peace)

Next on the list is no other than Borno State which is located at the northeastern part of the country. It will interest you to know that Borno is another large and populated state in Nigeria with 27 local government areas and not less than 6 million citizens.

It shares almost similar population size with Singapore, which means Borno is as large as Singapore in terms of population density.

A vast percentage of Borno populates are engaged in diverse agricultural practices such as farming, fishing and animal husbandry. Meanwhile, it can be classified as one of the best livestock-producing states in Nigeria.

Aside from rearing cattle and livestock, Borno state also has a considerable amount of solid minerals like clay, limestone, uranium, potash deposit and salt, kaolin, etc.

The Kanuri, Babur and Marghi are the dominant tribes or ethnic groups in Borno state. The Kanuris, who are the largest group in the state, are also known as the ‘Borno’ people. That’s where the name originated from.

Though Borno slogan is the home of peace, it is disheartening that the state isn’t peaceful anymore. Terrorist group, Boko Haram, has turned the state into home of insurgencies in recent years. Thousands have left the state in search of a more peaceful and secure place to call home.

9. Cross River State – Calabar (The People’s Paradise)

Named after the Oyono River, Cross River State is located in the South-south geopolitical zone in Nigeria.

We recommend you check Cross River if you are interested in a safe, beautiful and serene environment to spend your next vacation in Nigeria.

That’s because the city is known for numerous tourist attractions including the famous Obudu Cattle Ranch. Other tourist attractions in Cross River are Calabar Residency Museum, the slave park, Calabar Marina, Tinapa Business Resort, etc.

You can easily travel to Cameroon from Cross River because the state shares boundary with the West African neighbor.

Cross River features only 18 LGA’s with over 3.8 million citizens. Meanwhile, the Efik, Ejagham and Bekwarra are the dominating ethnic groups in the state.

10. Delta State – Asaba (The Big Heart)

Next on the list is Delta State, one of the famous oil-producing states in the country. Delta state is the largest oil producing state in Nigeria.

Located in the South-South region of the country, Delta state has 25 local government areas and an estimated 5.7 million number of people thereby having similar population size as Finland

Delta state is the location where River Niger formed a delta before entering into the Atlantic Ocean.

Warri is inarguably the most popular city Delta state and it the commercial center for anyone willing to become a successful trader in the state.

Delta state isn’t only good in producing petroleum products, the state possesses diverse mineral resources in a large portion; these include industrial clay, limestone, lignite, silica, kaolin, decorative rocks and tar san, etc.

In case you are wondering if the state has a good soil for farming, well we can categorically tell you that Delta contains good soil that supports agricultural practices like farming. Meanwhile, Itsekiri, Urhobo/Isolo, Anioma and Ezon are the dominating ethnic groups in Delta State.

11. Ebonyi State – Abakaliki (Salt of the Nation)

Ebony state prides itself as the salt of the nation. Ebonyi is located in the south-eastern part of the country; therefore it’s no surprise it is dominated by the Igbo ethnic group.

With 13 local governments and 2.9 million citizens, Ebonyi is among the least populated states in the country. However, it will interest you to know that considerable percentage of Ebonyi citizens are farmers who are actively engaged in producing food crops like Cassava, Yam, Potatoes, Beans, Rice, Maize, etc.

That’s not all you will see in the state, Ebonyi is equally blessed with some natural resources like Lead and salt. Abaliki is the state’s capital while Dave Nweze Umahi is the governor at the time of this publication

12. Edo State – Benin City (The Heartbeat of the Nation)

Edo state has a very rich history which we will be discussing later in this article. But before that, let’s briefly tell you that Edo state is another oil-producing state with high productivity level.

Like most of the oil producing states mentioned already, Edo is located in the south-south geopolitical zone in Nigeria

Aside from being an oil-producing state, Edo is equally an agricultural state as it continually plays a huge role in ensuring that the country has numerous agricultural produces like cash crops, food crops and others.

As a matter of fact, majority of people in Edo state are farmers thanks to a good soil and climatic conditions.

The Edo, Okpe, Esan, Afemai/Etsako, Ora, Akoko-Edo, Igbanke, Emai and Ijaw are the leading ethnic groups in Edo state. Meanwhile, it will interest you to know that Edo has 18 LGAs; an estimated 4.2 million population. It is as large as Moldova (population wise).

13. Ekiti State – Ado-Ekiti (Fountain of Knowledge)

Ekiti was carved out from Ondo state in1996. It was first known as ‘Okiti’ before the letter ‘O’ was changed to ‘E’ to make it Ekiti which denotes a lot of rocks or mountains.

It is the first Yoruba states on the list as it is located in the southwestern part of the country. The state chooses “fountain of knowledge” as its slogan, and no one can question that considering it has the highest number of Nigerian professors in Nigeria .

Ekiti has also produced countless scholars who are doing well in Nigeria and in Diaspora. Touted as home of rocks and mountains, Ekiti state boasts some captivating tourist attractions such as the Ikogosi Warm spring.

Other tourist attractions in Ekiti state are Fajuyi Memorial Park, Erin Ayonigba Sacred Fish River, Esa Cave, and Olosunta and Orole Hills of Ikere Ekiti. Many southwestern states are blessed with multiple mineral resources and Ekiti isn’t left out.

The state has mineral resources in abundance. They include granite, kaolin, columbite, iron ore, limestone, gold, gemstone, aquamine, barite, phosphate, among others. Being a South West state means Ekiti is dominated by the Yoruba ethnic group. It has 16 LGAs and close to 3.3 million citizens.

14. Enugu State – Enugu (Coal City State)

Enugu, the coal city state, occupies the 14th position in the list of Nigeria states. Enugu is an Igbo name (Enu ugwu) which means hill top or top of the hill. The state was given such a creative name due to the presence of multiple high hills and rocks in the area.

You should already know by now that Enugu is Igbo state meaning it is situated in Southeastern part of Nigeria.

Enugu (town) is the capital city of Enugu state. Since 70% of the Enugu citizens are farmers, it won’t be out of place to say Enugu is a crops-producing state.

That doesn’t mean the state isn’t involved in other professions or trade. Enugu has one of the largest coal deposits in Nigeria. Hence, it’s no surprise it is called the “coal city state”

Talking of ethnic groups, the Igbo tribe expectedly dominates other ethnic groups while the Igalas and Idomas also occupy a few places in the state.

15. Gombe State – Gombe (Jewel in the Savannah)

Gombe is the second state that shares the same name as its capital city. Located in the northeastern part of the country, Gombe is largely dominated by the Fulanis who are farmers.

The people of Gombe are hard-working farmers who undoubtedly play a significant role in ensuring that food crops and other agricultural produce are available in the northern regions.

Apart from producing bountiful farm produce, Gombe is equally a good place to sell your farm harvest at a profitable price.

The state also boasts of having some top companies in Nigeria including the Gombe Oil Seeds Company, Gombe Cotton Ginneries, and the Ashaka Cement Company Plc.

It equally has the only grain depot in the northern part of Nigeria. The state also has some important natural resources like Limestone, uranium and gypsum.

It terms of population size, Gombe state has the population as the Jamaica with over 3.3 million citizens, although it features only 11 LGAs.

16. Imo State – Owerri (Eastern Heartland formerly Land of Hope)

Imo is another state that derived its name from a popular river. The state coined its name from the famous Imo Mmiri River.

Imo is the first oil-producing state from the southeastern part of Nigeria; it also has a rich soil that supports forestry and farming.

There are numerous forest resources like the Iroko, Mahogany, Obeche, Bamboo, Rubber, and Oil Palm. Hence, it’s safe to say that Imo state is a key player when it comes to timber industry in Nigeria.

Imo isn’t just about oil and timber, the Eastern Heartland has a robust deposit of minerals and natural resources like white clay, lead, fine sand, zinc and limestone. Imo is a large state in Nigeria with 5.5 million citizens (mostly Igbo tribe), and 27 LGAs.

17. Jigawa State – Dutse (The New World)

Jigawa state is located in the north-eastern area of the country with over 6 million inhabitants. Most of the people are farmers who are only involved in subsistence agriculture to provide food for themselves and immediate family.

Jigawa is dominated by the Hausa, Fulanis, Kanuri and Badawa tribes, although there are other minor tribes in state.

Jigawa is one of poorest states in Nigeria as there are little to no major industries, national or international markets that could boost the economy. With 27 local government areas, Jigawa is as big as Denmark when it comes to population size.

18. Kaduna State – Kaduna (Centre of Learning formerly Liberal State)

Kaduna, formerly known as Liberal State, now has a new slogan which is the centre of learning. You might want to question the new slogan at first, but you will have a change of mind if you take a critical look at the list of secondary and tertiary institutions in state.

ABU— Zaria, the Nigerian Defense Academy, the Nigerian College of Aviation Technology – Zaria, Nigerian Institute of Transport Technology – Zaria, Institute of Leather Research – Zaria, and the National Institute of Teachers –Kaduna are all located in Kaduna state.

Hope you now see why the state deserves its new slogan? Okay, let’s continue. It is believed that the state was named after the numerous crocodiles in the rivers as ‘Kadunas’ is the plural form of crocodile in Hausa.

Though there are close to 50 tribes in the state, Kaduna remains a Hausa-speaking region because it is dominated by the Hausa-Fulani, Fulani, Kataf, and Bajju people.

It state has approximately similar population as Switzerland with over 8.3 million citizens, and 23 Local Government Areas.

19. Kano State – Kano (Centre of Commerce)

Kano is located in the north-western part of Nigeria, and it was named after a Blacksmith from the Gaya tribe who stayed in the state for some time.

The 2016 census in Nigeria revealed that Kano is the second most populated states in Nigeria with over 12.5 million citizens and a huge 44 local government areas. The state has equal population with the whole of Belgium

A vast number of Kano citizens are farmers, which shows why the state is one of the largest producers of soybean, sesame, cotton. They equally produce groundnut, garlic, gum Arabic and chili pepper in moderate quantities.

They are also involved in cattle rearing business and other forms of animal husbandry which ensure they have enough hides and skin for trade. Though Kano is dominated by Hausas, there are other minor tribes in the state.

20. Katsina State – Katsina (Home of Hospitality)

Take a cursory gaze at the map of Nigeria below, you will discover that Katsina and Kano are close neighbors because they share boundaries.

nigeria_map_855.jpg

This is to let you know that Katsina is located in the Northwest part of Nigeria alongside Kaduna, Sokoto and Kano.

Katsina have a soil that supports Maize, Guinea Corn, wheat, Yam, Cotton, Rice, Onion, and tomatoes. Therefore, it’s no surprise they are among the best tomato and wheat producing states in Nigeria.

Named after the popular Janzama’s wife (Katsina), the state has sufficient Kaolin and asbestos as its natural resources. Katsina has 34 LGAs with 7.9 million people. Its slogan is home of hospitality, and it is as large as Hong Kong in terms of population.

21. Kebbi State – Birnin-Kebbi (Land of Equity)

Established in 1991 from Sokoto, Kebbi is in the northwestern part of Nigeria. It has 21 local government areas with 4.4 million populations and it is compared to Panama in terms of population size.

Meanwhile, we discovered that Kebbi was named after the Ka’abba in Mecca, Saudi Arabia. The Kebbi state citizens are good producers of millet, wheat and Guinea corn. This simply means the people are farmers, although some food crops don’t thrive on their soil.

You must have heard of Argungu fishing festival— right? It is one of the most exciting events in Nigeria and it takes place in Kebbi annually. The festival attracts numerous tourists across the world ensure you visit this year’s edition to enjoy yourself.

Kaolin, gypsum and marble are some mineral resources in Kebbi State, while Hausa tribe is the leading ethnic group in Kebbi.

22. Kogi State – Lokoja (The Confluence State)

Created in 1991, Kogi state’s slogan is the confluence state. The thinking behind the slogan can be traced to the fact the confluence of River Benue and River Niger is in Lokoja — the state’s capital.

The term ‘Kogi’ was coined from ‘kogin’ which means river in hausa. The state adopted the name because of the Rivers’ confluence.

Located in the north-central part of Nigeria (also known as the middle belt), Kogi shares boundaries with 10 states (Kwara, Ekiti, Ondo, Edo, Delta, Anambra, Enugu, Benue, Nasarawa, Niger) and the FCT (Abuja)

Though some reports claim that Lokoja is Nigeria’s first administrative capital of Nigeria, the Kogi state’s capital wasn’t Nigeria’s official capital city in any time in the history.

However, that’s doesn’t take anything away from Lokoja’s status as one of the safest cities in the country.

Kogi is home to diverse companies including the massive Obajana Cement Factory (one of the biggest cement factories in Africa), and the Ajaokuta Steel Company Limited.

You will see different mineral resources in Kogi state. These include limestone, coal, iron, tin and petroleum. The people of Kogi are mostly farmers who cultivate large acres of land for commercial purposes.

Hence, food and cash crops like cassava, yam, rice, maize, melon, groundnuts, cashews, cocoa, coffee and oil palm are always ready for sale and consumption in the state.

Kogi features over 10 tribes, but the Igalas, Igbiras and Okuns are the major ethnic groups in the state. Meanwhile, it has 21 Local Government Areas and more than 4.5 million citizens.

23. Kwara State – Ilorin (The State of Harmony)

Ask a young child to describe Kwara, he will tell you: “it’s a Yoruba state with lots of Fulani people.” That’s the best and concise way to describe Kwara.

Kwara is one of the Yoruba states but it is located in the north-central (middle belt) region of the country. It’s a less populated state with just over 3.2 million people and 16 Local Government Areas.

The industries in Kwara states include KAM Industries Nigeria Limited, Lubcon Lubricant Company, Detergent Plant, Glycerine Plant, Dangote Flour Mills, etc

The people in the state also depend on agricultural practice for source of livelihood as they plant crops, rear animals, and other agric-related activities.

Oil palm, coffee, kolanut, tobacco, cotton and beniseed are some crops you will easily see in Kwara. You will equally see mineral resources — like gold, limestone, marble, feldspar, clay, kaolin, granite and quartz — in the state of harmony. Yoruba and Fulani are the leading tribes in Kwara while Nupe and Bariba are the minor tribes.

24. Lagos State – Ikeja (Centre of Excellence)

Lagos needs no introduction as it is the second most populated state in Nigeria. Lagos was once Nigeria’s official capital city before it was moved to Abuja in 1991

Lagos remains Nigeria’s most important state economically, thanks to its huge revenue generation. It comes next to Ogun State in terms of industrialization. That’s because there are hundreds of industries in the center of excellence.

The city of Lagos is Africa’s largest metropolitan city; which explains why life in the state is often on a “busy mode”

The first set of foreigners to visit the region saw many lagoons and Rivers in the town. Therefore, they decided to call it Lagos. That’s the how we end up having Lagos today.

Lagos has 21 Local Government Areas, 21 million citizens thereby becoming the most populated state in Nigeria. It has similar population size as the Netherlands.

Lagos is located in the southwestern region of the country meaning it’s a Yoruba state. However, many people believe Lagos is no man’s land as it is open to everyone, any tribe, any day, and any time.

Lagos serves as home to Apapa Port Complex — the busiest port in Nigeria and Africa, diverse international airports, big hotels and firms, first-class tertiary institutions, young and growing businesses, etc. Truly, Lagos is the center of excellence.

25. Nasarawa State – Lafia (Home of Solid Minerals)

Nasarawa simply means ‘victorious’ and the name was given to the state by Makama Dogo — the founder of the Nasarawa kingdom.

Located in the North-central part of the country, Nasarawa remains one of the smallest states in Nigeria with just 13 LGAs. Its population can be compared to that of Lithuania that has over 2.5 citizens.

Nasarawa state’s economy solely relies on agricultural produce and mineral resources exploitation. That’s because the state has a relatively good soil for planting and numerous mineral resources like barite, salt, bauxite, etc. It’s no surprise that the states slogan is Home of solid mineral, considering the amount of mineral available in the region.

Though Hausa is the dominating ethnic group in Nasarawa, you will come across other tribes like the Eggon, Mada, Tiv, Alago, and Fulani whenever you visit the state.

26. Niger State – Minna (The Power State)

Niger state slogan is “the power state,” a deserving title considering the fact it serves as home to kanji Dam which is the primary source of electricity in Nigeria.

Located in the north-central part of Nigeria, Niger State was named after the popular River Niger, and it has one of the largest land areas in the country.

Apart from kanji Dam, there are other hydroelectric power stations in Niger state, including the Shiroro Dam. In terms of tourist attraction, the highly-rated Gurara Fall, Kainji Lake, Zugurma Games Reserve, Borgu Game Reserve and the iconic Zuma rock are all in Niger State.

It will interest you to know that Niger state has 21local government areas and over 5.5 million citizens; while Nupe, Gbagyi, Kamuku, Kambari, Dukawa and Koro are the dominating ethnic groups.

27. Ogun State – Abeokuta (Gateway State)

Here comes another famous and well-respected Yoruba state. Created in 1976, Ogun state is inarguably one of the most developed and most industrialized states in the country with hundreds of companies and industries.

There are numerous companies scattered across cities and villages in the state. The industries in Ogun state include Apex Paints Limited, Royal packaging Limited, Shongai Packaging Industry Ltd, Nestle, Unilever, Holcim, Procter and Gamble, and Tech Mahindra.

Apart from the many industries, Ogun state is equally known for its state-of-the-art tertiary institutions which have successfully produced experienced professionals in the country and other parts of the world.

Talking of tertiary institutions, Covenant University, Babcock University, Olabisi Onabanjo University and Moshood Abiola University of Science and Technology are among the best and famous universities in Ogun state;

while Allover Central Polytechnic, Landmark polytechnic, and Ogun State Polytechnic are rated among the best polytechnics in the country.

Like many states listed above, the state is named after the famous Ogun River. Meanwhile it will interest you to know that Ogun state is located in the southwestern part of Nigeria.

Ogun has 20 LGAs with over 5.3 million population, and it shares bounders with Lagos (to the south), Osun and Oyo (to the north), and Ondo and Benin Republic (to the west) Meanwhile, Abeokuta is Ogun state capital and it is dominated by the Yoruba tribe.

28. Ondo State – Akure (Sunshine State)

Located in the southwestern part of the country, Ondo state is also known as the sunshine state. However, Ondo state was also referred to as the “place of pride” during Olusegun Mimiko’s regime. So don’t be confused if you see other people calling it the place of pride.

Created in 1976, the state has 18 local government areas, boasting over 4.7 million people. It is dominated by the Yoruba ethnic group as it is located within the geopolitical zone predominantly occupied by the Yorubas. However, there are other minor tribes in the state like the igbos, ijaws and the itsekiris.

Ondo state is an oil-producing state, while majority of its occupants are commercial farmers who deal with cash crops like cocoa and timber. It important we tell you that Ondo state is the largest cocoa producers in Nigeria.

Meanwhile, the state isn’t a pushover when it comes to tourist attractions centers.

The popular Idanre Hill is right there in the state alongside other captivating centers like Owo Museum, Ebomi Lake, Igbokoda Water Front, and the Cave Ashes. It was named after the first-generation settlers of the old Ondo Kingdom

29. Osun State – Osogbo (Land of virtue; formerly State of the Living Spring)

Formerly known as the “state of the Living Spring”, Osun State is one the Nigerian states with rich historical background.

Osun was founded in 1991 and it is located in the southwestern part of the country. It was named after the Osun River –a river with some much relevance and importance to the people of the state.

Osun has produced some of Nigeria’s finest politicians, flawless and disciplined legal practitioners. It would interest you to know that Chief Dr. Oyin Adejobi (poet), Pastor Enoch Adeboye (RCCG general overseer), Toyin Adegbola (actress), and Bolaji Amusan ( Mr Latin, actor) are prestigious sons and daughters of Osun State.

Like many states in the southwest, Osun State places high value on education. This explains why there are many first-class universities and Polytechnic in the state. The prestigious Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU) is arguably the best tertiary institution in Osun State.

Osun is also a hub for tourists looking for where to relax and explore the rich Yoruba culture. The Osun-Osogbo Grove, a global heritage site, is right there in the state. This tourist center offers you the opportunity to discover more about the Yoruba race.

The Osun festival is an annual event you can’t afford to miss for anything in the world. Another tourist attraction in Osun State is the Erin-Ijesha Waterfalls. Osun is made up of 30 local government area, including the Ilé-Ifè. It has almost the same population as Ireland with more than 4.8 million citizens.

30. Oyo State – Ibadan (Pace Setter)

Here comes another relevant state in the history of the Yoruba tribe. Oyo State is named after the Old Oyo Empire and it’s located on the south-western part of Nigeria.

Ibadan is the state capital of Oyo State, and it’s one of the largest cities in Africa. Ibadan isn’t just a city, it is home to numerous tertiary institution, massive structures, famous industries, etc.

University of Ibadan is the first university in Nigeria, while the first skyscraper in Nigeria is in Oyo State, Dugbe (Ibadan) precisely. Oyo is a cocoa-producing state, and it’s believed that the first skyscraper (cocoa house) in the country was built with the profit realized from cocoa trade.

Apart from cash crops, vast majority of the Oyo State populates are farmers, while few others are engaged in other agricultural practices.

In terms of tourist attractions, Oyo State features the old Oyo National Park, and Ado-Awaye Suspended Lake. Oyo has 33 local government areas with well over 7.9 million populations in 2022, while its slogan is “pace setter.”

31. Plateau State – Jos (Home of Peace & Tourism)

Do you know that you can polish a mistake into something great? Well, that was the case with this state.

Though the initial plan was to name the state after the Jos plateau known as ‘Gwosh’, the name was mistakenly pronounced as ‘Jos’ and people stick with it till date.

Situated on the Jos Plateau, the state has a temperate climate. Plateau is one of Nigerian states with high number of tourist centers like the Wildlife Safari Park, National Museum, Jos zoo, Assop Falls, Kurra Falls, Wase Rock, Pandam Game Reserve, Riyom Rock, Shere Hills and the Museum of traditional Nigeria Architecture.

Plateau is the capital city of Jos; it consists over 40 ethnic groups including Berom, Hausa-Fulani, Afizere, Amo, Anaguta, Aten, Bogghom. Jos has 17 LGAs with close to 4.3 million citizens, while its slogan is “the home of peace”

32. Rivers State – Port Harcourt (Treasure Base of the Nation)

Just as the name implies, Rivers State has many rivers, seas and other water bodies. In fact, the name was inspired by the many rivers in the state.

Located in the south-south Nigeria, Rivers remains this second-largest oil-producing state in Nigeria behind Akwa-Ibom.

There are two major oil refineries and two seaports in the state. Expectedly, Rivers state people are good fishermen thanks to the numerous rivers to carry out their fishing trade.

They are also into farming and other agricultural practices, due to the favorable weather conditions and rich soil.

Rivers state has 23 LGAs and not less than 7.3 million citizens. Its slogan is “Treasure Base of the Nation,” while the Ikwerre, Ibani, Opobo, Eleme, Okrika, Kalabari, Etche, Ogba, Ogoni, Engenni and Obolo are the major ethnic groups in the state.

33. Sokoto State – Sokoto (Seat of the Caliphate)

Named after the defunct Sokoto Caliphate, Sokoto is one of the Hausa states in the northwest part of Nigeria.

The state serves as home to the well-respected Sultan of Sokoto Abubakar Sa’ad who is the spiritual head of all Muslims in Nigeria.

Though the state doesn’t enjoy early rainfall, there are some water-based areas (fadama) that are good for farming.

People in such areas are hard-working farmers who are practicing commercial farming system. Hence, Sokoto state is regarded as a major producer of maize, wheat, guinea corn, millet, beans, sugarcane, tobacco, groundnut and cotton.

Some Sokoto populates are equally into animal husbandary, thereby ensuring that there are enough livestock for sale and consumption during their highly-coveted Salah celebration.

You will love to know that limestone, gypsum, gold, salt, granite, clay, flipper, kaolin and marble. Sokoto has 23 LGAs, and 5 million citizens from different tribes and cultures, including Yoruba and Igbo.

34. Taraba State – Jalingo (Nature’s Gift to the Nation)

Taraba is one of the Northeastern states that solely depend on agriculture to boost its economy. Therefore, the state often produces cash crops and food crops like cotton, groundnut, tea, maize, millet, coffee, rice, sorghum, yam and cassava in large quantities.

Some of the people living in Mambilla Plateau, and the Benue and Taraba Valley are into animal husbandary. They rear animals in a large quantity for commercial purposes.

Like most of the states in Nigeria, it is believed that Taraba obtained its name from the Taraba River.

Taraba isn’t just about agricultural practices, the state can boast of having some breathtaking tourism sites like the Mambilla Tourist centre, the Gumption Park, and the Game reserve at Gashaka.

Taraba is one of the smallest states in the country with just 16 local government areas and 3.1 million citizens. The Jenjo, Jibawa, Kuteb, Chama, Yandang, Mumuyes, Mambilla, Wurkuma, Fulani, Jukun, Tiv, Kaka, Ichen, Hausa and Ndola are the people in the state.

35. Yobe State – Damaturu (Pride of Sahel formerly The Young Shall Grow)

Yobe used to be the “young shall grow” state in the past, but that isn’t the same anymore. The state’s slogan has officially changed to the “Pride of Sahel”

Located in northeastern region, the state was reportedly named after the River Yobe. It is safe to say that Yobe is an agricultural state because majority of its citizens are involved in one agricultural practice or another.

Yobe state produces and supplies cotton, groundnut, beans, and gum Arabic to many states of the federation. Potiskum —the largest cattle market in Nigeria — is located in Yobe, a testament that the state is doing well when it comes to livestock.

The Karai-karai, Hausa, Ngizim, Ngamo, Bade, Shuwa, Fulani, Bolewa, and Maga are minor tribes in yobe, while the Kanuri people dominate other tribes across all the 12 Local Government Areas of the state.

36. Zamfara State – Gusau (Farming is Our Pride)

Last in the list of states and their slogans is Zamfara state. The Sharia law was introduced in Nigeria through the state.

Looking at its slogan, one can easily denote that Zamfara is an agricultural state that encourages its citizens to engage in commercial farming.

Zamfara is located in the northwestern part of Nigeria and it is a major supplier of grains and cereals to some parts of the country and beyond.

The state is named after the Zamfarawa tribe which the largest ethnic group during its early years of existence.

There are 14 local government areas in Zamfara state with over 4.5 million populations. It is believed that New Zealand and Zamfara state share similar population size.

Meanwhile, the ethnic groups you will come across in Zamfara include Hausa Fulani, Bussawa, Kamuku, Kambari and Zabarma.

Federal Capital Territory – Abuja (Center of Unity)

Abuja is not a State in Nigeria; instead, it is a Federal Capital Territory governed by officials appointed by the Federal Government.

Abuja is located at the north-central part, seating strategically at the centre of the nation. This explains why its slogan is “centre of Unity”

As mentioned earlier, Abuja serves as home to top government offices and organization like the presidential Villa, House of Parliament, among others.

Abuja doesn’t have local government areas like the 36 states; its cities and communities are called Council Areas. They include Abaji, Abuja Municipal, Bwari, Gwagwalada, Kwali, and Kuje. The major tribes in Abuja are Gwari, Hausa, Fulani, Afo, Koro, Ganagana, Gwandara, and Bassa.

36 States in Nigeria and their Slogan

STATECAPITALSTATE TITLE
1ABIAUmuahiaGod’s own State
2ADAMAWAYolaFormerly Land of Beauty, Sunshine and Hospitality

New Slogan: Highest peak of the nation

3AKWA IBOMUyoLand of promise
4ANAMBRAAwkaFormer slogan: Home for all

New slogan: Light of the nation

5BAUCHIBauchiPearl of Tourism
6BAYELSAYenegoaThe Glory of All Lands
7BENUEMakurdiFood basket of the Nation
8BORNOMaiduguriHome of peace
9CROSS RIVERCalabarThe people’s paradise
10DELTAAsabaFormer slogan: The Big Heart

New slogan: The Finger of God

11EBONYIAbakalikiThe salt of the Nation
12EDOBenin CityThe Heart Beat of the Nation
13EKITIAdo-EkitiFormer slogan: Fountain of Knowledge

New slogan: Land of honour and integrity

14ENUGUEnuguCoal City State
15GOMBEGombeJewel in the Savannah
16IMOOwerriformerly Land of Hope, new slogan is Eastern heartland
17JIGAWADutseThe New World
18KADUNAKadunaFormerly Liberal State, new slogan is Centre of learning
19KANOKanoCentre of Commerce
20KATSINAKatsinaState of Hospitality
21KEBBIBirni KebbiLand of Equity
22KOGILokojaThe Confluence State
23KWARAIlorinThe state of Harmony
24LAGOSIkejaCentre of Excellence
25NASARAWALafiaThe home of Solid Minerals
26NIGERMinnaThe power State
27OGUNAbeokutaThe Gateway State
28ONDOAkureThe sunshine State
29OSUNOshogboOld slogan: State of living spring

New slogan: Land of virtue

30OYOIbadanThe pace setter State
31PLATEUJosHome of peace and tourism
32RIVERSPort HarcourtTreasure base of the Nation
33SOKOTOSokotoSeat of the Caliphate
34TARABAJalingoNature’s gift to the Nation
35YOBEDamaturuOld slogan: The young shall grow

New slogan: Pride of the sahel

36ZAMFARAGuasauOld slogan: Home of Agricultural Products

New slogan: Farming is our pride

37FCTAbujaCentre of Unity

FAQ: Nigeria States and their Capital

What’s Nigeria’s First Capital

Some say Calabar was Nigeria’s first capital, while others say it was Lagos. Another set of people say it was Asaba in Delta state while the last group of people say that it was Lokoja.

Well, Lagos was the first official capital of Nigeria before it was changed to Abuja. Lagos officially became Nigeria’s first capital city in 1906 and it maintained its status for over 60 years.

Unfortunately, crisis emerged over the country’s capital city as other tribes weren’t so happy that the capital is located in a Yoruba state. They deployed ways to influence the government’s decision.

After many discussions and meetings, the Nigeria’s capital was unofficially moved to SULEJA (now Abuja) in the late 1970s. Abuja was seen as the perfect option because it doesn’t belong to a specific region. It was at centre of the nation. After lot of restructuring and discussions, the Federal Government officially declared Abuja as the new federal capital in 1991.

Meanwhile, those claiming that Calabar was the first Capital of Nigeria aren’t totally wrong because Calabar (known as Akwa Apka at the time) once served as capital of the Southern Protectorate, the oil river Protectorate, and the Niger Coast Protectorate during the slave trade era.

Things remained unchanged until late 19th Century when Lagos was declared as the official capital in 1906. It is also important you know that Asaba (now known as Delta State) was the place where the British Colonial Masters deployed as their administrative base. The British Royal Niger Company loved holding meetings in Asaba before amalgamation. This explains why some people believe Asaba was the country’s First Capital.

In the same vein, Lokoja (now Kogi State) was equally said to be the first capital of Nigeria as it was home of the first governor general of Nigeria Lord Lugard.

Lugard came into power immediately after Nigeria’s Amalgamation, therefore, most people see Lokoja as the First Capital of Nigeria, which is far from the truth.

To finally set the record straight, Calabar was only considered the capital of Southern Protectorate in the early 19th century but wasn’t the first capital city of Nigeria. Lagos was the first official capital of Nigeria before Abuja officially took over in 1991.

Which Is The Oldest City In Nigeria

Kano is the oldest city in the northern part of Nigeria. It equally doubles as the largest city in the northern region.

The Oldest States In Nigeria

Having checked the list of Nigerian states and their creation, it is safe to say that Cross River, Lagos, Kaduna, Kano, Kwara, and Rivers states are the oldest states in Nigeria.

The six states were created on the 27th of September 1967. History shows that Nigerian states creation commenced in 1967, which means the six states were the first-generation states in the country.

Oldest Kingdoms

There are numerous kingdoms in Nigeria, but below is a brief rundown of the two oldest kingdoms in Nigeria

  • Benin kingdom

The Benin Kingdom in the Southern forest of West Africa (now Nigeria) was created by the edo people in the 13th century to become the oldest kingdoms in the country at that time.

The kingdom thrived from its year of creation through to the 19th century and it was one of the highly-rated kingdoms in Africa and beyond.

The kingdom rulers and leadership ensured there was a booming trade network between the Edo people and foreigners especially the Portuguese.

The partnership with the Portuguese created room for gold and slave trade. The foreigners bought gold from the Edo people while they also bought people as slaves from the Kingdom.

You must know that only the king is permitted to kill someone in the kingdom that features rainforest, dry forest and mangrove swamp.

Unfortunately, the Benin Kingdom couldn’t exist beyond1897 CE as it was conquered by the British during the multiple civil wars at that time.

The people of this Kingdom were known for their artistic and sculptural skills. They created different brass scriptures and plaques that are rated among the best and finest artworks in Africa’s history.

  • Ife Kingdom

The Kingdom of Ife is undoubtedly one of the oldest kingdoms in Nigeria and Africa at large.

It existed from the 11th to the 15th century CE, and the people were known for their ability to create diverse fine cast bronzes including human heads sculptures.

As mentioned earlier, Ife is located in Osun a Yoruba state, so it won’t be out of place to admit that the Ife kingdom is largely dominated by Yoruba ancestral fathers and mothers.

However, we can’t overlook the fact that other tribes lived in the kingdom for a long time. The Nok Culture (5th century BCE to 2nd century CE) and Igbo-Ukwu (at its zenith in the 9th century CE) are very powerful parts of the kingdom.

Meanwhile, the Benin kingdom and Ife kingdom shared an intimate relationship so much that the king of Ife sent a master craftsman to the Benin kingdom to begin his sculptural works.

This decision inarguably plays a huge role in helping the people of Benin kingdom develop interests in iron-making skills until they mastered the trade. The same decision equally paved way for more Yorubas to access and settle in the Benin kingdom.

Likewise, traditional folklore and historical books, revealed that the Edo people (Benin kingdom) permitted prince Oranmiyan of Ife live with them and also ruled them. Oranmiyan eventually gave birth to a Eweka, who stepped into his father’s throne to become the first king of Benin.

The Four Regions Before The Creation of States

You might be wondering and asking “how did Nigeria got its 36 states?” Well, that’s what we shall be discussing in the part of the post. So, let’s continue.

Nigeria had only three regions immediately after the independence celebration in 1960; they were Northern, Western, and Eastern Regions.

The Western region is made up of Oyo, Ogun, Osun, Ondo and Lagos, which means the region belongs to the Yorubas. All the states in this region share same but diverse Yoruba culture, beliefs and traditions.

Meanwhile, the mid-western region was carved out from the western region in 1963. The move was seen as part of the government’s quest for enlargement.

The Eastern region on the other hand contained states like Imo, Anambra, Ebonyi, Abia and Enugu states before it was split into two. The Eastern region predominantly belonged to the Igbo ethnic group until the separation.

The Nigerian government split the Eastern region in 1967 as part of its state creation mission. The division gave birth to South-Eastern region and the Southern region.

Akwa-Ibom and Cross River were formed to occupy the Southeastern region, while the Southern Region had the Ijaws and Niger Delta tribes.

Meanwhile, Northern region were dominated by Hausa-speaking people who shared the same culture and beliefs. The states in the region also have minor tribes like Fulani, Tiv, and Kanuri. They all had one religion, and that’s Islam. Hence, they were united and happy with themselves.

However, General Yakubu Gowon successfully created some more states in the Eastern region, a decision that didn’t go well with the Igbo tribes.

Eastern Region tried creating a new country of their own (Biafra) during the Nigerian Civil war from 1967 to 1970 but couldn’t achieve their aim. Events continued to unfold from one military government to another until it became what we have today.

The Creation of States and Capital In Nigeria

Nigeria first had 12 states including North-Western State, North-central State, Kano State, North-Eastern State, Kwara, Benue-Plateau State, Western State, East-Central state, Lagos State, Mid-Western State, South-Eastern State, and Rivers State.

General Murtala Muhammed replaced General Yakubu Gowon in 1975, but couldn’t create new states as he was killed in an attempted coup. General Olusegun Obasanjo came into power in 1976 but couldn’t establish a state during his short-lived regime.

However, it was General Murtala Mohammed who created more states in 1976. He created Imo and Anambra States from the East-Central State.

He split the North-Western state to create Niger and Sokoto states; the North-eastern state was also divided to create Bauchi, Gongola, and Borno states.

There was also a division in the northern region that led to the creation of Plateau and Benue State. The old western state gave birth to Ondo, Ogun, and Oyo States.

The Murtala Mohammed’s regime further created Cross River, the Old Bendel, and Kaduna state. Meanwhile, Akwa-Ibom was created from Cross River state in 1987 by General Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida. Katsina state was formed from old Kaduna state in the same year to bring the total tally to 21 states.

These include Niger, Sokoto, Kaduna, Kano, Bauchi, Gongola, Borno, Kwara, Benue, Plateau, Ondo, Ogun, Oyo Imo, Anambra Lagos, old Bendel, Cross River, Akwa-Ibom, Katsina and Rivers State.

More states were created in 1991 – Abia, Enugu, Osun, Kogi, Jigawa, Kebbi and Yobe— thereby bringing the total number to 28 states at the time. Meanwhile, the Gongola state was divided into two to produce Adamawa and Taraba states. Likewise, the Old Bendel gave way for two states namely Edo and Delta.

The list increased to 30 states and the Federal Capital Territory when the country changed its capital from Lagos to Abuja in 1991. The state creation mission was completed in 1996 when the federal government (under the Sani Abacha’s leadership) established six more states, including Nasarawa, Ebonyi, Ekiti, Gombe, Bayelsa, and Zamfara states.

Power Distribution within The States In Nigeria

Nigerian states are sovereign entities, meaning they have the legal power and right to run their affair in a unique way as long as they don’t violate the country’s constitution. Having said that, lets quickly tell you that the state shares its legal power between three arms of government, which are the legislature judiciary and executive

  • Legislature

Nigeria operates unicameral legislature at the State level. Each states has its house of assembly or lawmakers who are charged with the responsibilities of amending the state constitution when and where necessary.

  • Executive

Governors are the head of executive at the state level. They are charged with the responsibility of controlling the overall affairs of the state.

Tough they have the authority to appoints people into State Executive Council, they are subjected to the advice and consent of the State House of Assembly (Legislature).

A commissioner is the head of a ministry at the State level, and he is assisted by a permanent secretary who is also known as the state’s senior civil servant.

  • Judiciary

The Judiciary is another arm of government in the state. Its main duty involves interpreting state’s laws and ensuring the citizens obey every law made and signed by the two arms of government.

The Chief Justice of a State is the head of judiciary in the state level. They are chosen by the state governor and are approved by the State House of Assembly.

Sources

https://www.worldometers.info/population/countries-in-africa-by-population/

https://worldpopulationreview.com/country-rankings/poorest-countries-in-the-world

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