history of state creations in nigeria from 1967 till date

History of Abia State

Last updated on January 21st, 2023 at 08:14 pm


Called God’s Own State, Abia is one of the States in Nigeria which has its administrative capital in Umuahia.

Origin of the name Abia

The word Abia is a name derived from the four most densely populated regions of the state.

  • A in the word represents the initial letter of the commercial city of the state which is known as Aba.
  • B stands for Bende.
  • I which is the third letter of the word represents Ishuikwuato
  • A stands for Afikpo which was excised at the creation of Ebonyi State.

Abia state was created on the 27th of August, 1991 by the then military government under the leadership of General Ibrahim Gbadamosi Babangida from Imo state.


Out of the 774 local government areas of Nigeria, there are 17 local governments in Abia state, located in the southeast geopolitical zone of Nigeria alongside its neighbouring states such as Anambra, Enugu, Ebonyi, and Imo state. The region is mainly inhabited by the Igbo ethnic group, Aros and Ngwas, with other clans being some of the prominent tribes.

Geopolitical location

Abia state is located in the southeast geopolitical zone of Nigeria. The state shares borders with some other states of the geopolitical zone.

Anambra, Enugu and Ebonyi in the North and Northeast of the state, Imo state in the West, Cross River State and Akwa Ibom state in the east and south-east separately and in the south is River state.

The riverine part of the state falls to the southern part which has a lying tropical rainforest with some oil-palm thicket.

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All the southern regions of Abia state usually experience heavy downpours between the months of April through October while the rest of the state is wooded savannah and temperately on high plain.

Imo and Aba Rivers are the two most important rivers in Abia state that flow into the Atlantic ocean through Akwa Ibom on the Eastern part.


It is one of the states in Nigeria that is blessed with enormous mineral resources. These mineral resources have obvious contributions and implications for the economic development of the state.

These resources include crude oil, limestone, iron ore, laterite, kaolin, zinc, and copper amongst others. Agriculture is the major occupation of the people of Abia state which is caused by the vast rich soil, 70% of the population employs by this sector of the economy making it the second contributor of the economic sector of the state.

The main food crops grown are yam, cassava, rice, maize, cocoyam and potatoes while the cash crops are palm oil, rubber, cocoa, banana and other various kinds of fruits.

However, oil and gas production contributes over 39% of the internally generated revenue of the state which makes the sector a prominent giant. The manufacturing sector also contributes 2% of the state’s GDP.

The business hub of the state is in Aba which is not the only major commercial centre of the state but also one of the commercial nerve centres of the Eastern States of Nigeria.

The city occupies many industries such as textiles, plastic, chemical, Agro-allied, oil and gas and many others. A common saying has it that taking out Aba is the end of Abia state. Generally, there are business opportunities for foreign investors in Abia.

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Oil and gas

Abia state has over 100 oil holes and 3 installed flow stations in the state. Abia/NNPC gas plant also forms part of the oil association.

Shell as one of the oil giants in Nigeria has most of the licenses for the oil wells in Abia state and 50 wells are estimated concentrated which are perceived as high-flying.

According to the report of the Chairman of Abia state oil producing Development Area Commission (ASOPADEC), Mr Samuel Okezie Onwogu, gave a summary account of the production of oil and gas in the state.

The state delivered 36,000 barrels of crude oil every day ; out of the 36,000 barrels, Imoturu produces 23,000 barrels per day and Isimili flow station produced over 8,000 barrels per day.

Izaku which has four oil holes make Obigo its flow station while about 30 oil wells from the chairman’s village deliver to Umuri and eight oil wells from Umurie go to Afam. Said Mr Samuel Okezie.

The state in spite of its contributions as one of the oil-producing states in Nigeria still experiences poor funding from the federal allocation of oil revenue to the state.

This has caused some problems in alleviating poverty and lots of state projects to reduce the suffering of the state citizens are not fully executed.

Higher Institutions

Abia state is blessed with several higher institutions. The top of these universities was established by the Federal government of Nigeria in 1992 to function as a specialized university of Agriculture. This university was named after the Premier of Eastern Nigeria during the first Republic (Chief Michael Okpara).

The second is owned by the state government which is known as Abia State University situated in Uturu. The third and the fourth are both privately established to cater for the improvement of education in the state.

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They are Rhema University and Gregory University both situated in Aba and Uturu respectively. Three tertiary hospitals are in the state, the Federal Medical Centre in Umuahia, the Abia state Teaching hospital in Aba and Abia state college of Health Technology in Aba.

There are two polytechnics in the state, The Abia state Polytechnic which is also located in Aba and a private-owned; Covenant Polytechnic also in the city of Aba.

Other higher institutions of learning in the state include The Abia state college of Education in Arochuckwu and the school of Nursing in Amachara. There are many insignificant achievements in the education sector through public and private contributions toward educational developments in the state.


Tourists and Travellers to Abia state can come to the state by using Owerri International Airport also known as Sam Mbakwe or Imo state Airport which is an hour’s drive to the state capital.

Another neighbouring airport is Port Harcourt International Airport which will take the user over 2 hours to reach the state.

Also available for tourists and travellers is rail transport which would also be suitable for comers travelling with heavy loads.

Aba is linked to Port Harcourt by rail but the present administration is on its resuscitation. Though boats and canoes are always available to have easy accessibility to coastal areas of the state.


According to the 2006 population census, Abia state had 4,112,230 inhabitants.

The native owners of this state are Igbo people and they make up 95% of the population of the state with Igbo as their common and most used language but the official language in government offices, formal engagements and businesses is English.

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