History of Akwa Ibom State: Demography and Notable People

Last updated on June 15th, 2023 at 01:29 pm


Akwa Ibom is a Nigerian state located in the South-South geopolitical zone of the country and is neighbour to Rivers State and Abia State (on the west) and Cross River State (on the east).

Nicknamed “Land of Promise”, Akwa Ibom State was created on 23 September 1987, and is currently with a population of over five million people. Her capital alone – Uyo – is home to over 450,000 people.

You can check Akwa Ibom State postal codes in one of our posts if you come across an online application form that requires ZIP codes or you simply want to send a parcel back home.

  • Date of creation: September 23, 1987
  • Motto/slogan: Land of Promise
  • Capital: Uyo

Akwa Ibom was carved out of the former Cross River State and is currently one of the most developed parts of the country. As things stand now, she is the highest oil- and gas-producing state in Nigeria, and is one of the States in the country with an airport.

Akwa Ibom also has a superb ultramodern sports complex with modern and world-class facilities. This complex can sit up to 30,000 people at a time.

Additionally, the state also has a nice information centre known as the Ibom E-Library.

In addition to English, other popular languages in the State are Ibibio, Annang, Eket and Oron.

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The majority of those living in Akwa Ibom are Christians. Actually, there are five major ethnic groups in the state, and they include:

– Ibibio

– Annang

– Oron

– Eket

– Obolo

Interestingly, before the country was colonised by the British, the people that were in the region now known as Akwa Ibom State, were without a central government – in spite of their homogeneity. Rather, the Annang, Oron, Efik, Ibonos and Ibibio were all operating independently.

According to history, even though there were several missionaries that found their way to Calabar and Ibono in the 80s, it was not until 1904 that the British became able to establish firm control of the region.

When this became possible, the Enyong Division came into being – encompassing the area of the current state of Akwa Ibom, and Ikot Ekpene became the headquarters.

The establishment of the Enyong Division gave way for the various ethnic groups to come together, and then a prominent social organization known as the Ibibio Welfare Union (which later became Ibibio State Union) was created.

At first, the union was established as local development and improvement forum for educated individuals who were ignored by the colonial administration in 1929.

When Akwa Ibom state was eventually created in 1987, Uyo was chosen as her capital, to enable the spread of development to other regions of the state.


The State issued one that encourages and embraces learning. Its Ministry of Education is saddled with the responsibility of monitoring the education sector and seeing to its well-being.

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In the whole of Nigeria, western education was first introduced to the region – with the establishment of Hope Waddell Training Institute, at Calabar in 1895, and the Methodist Boys’ High School, at Oron in 1905.

Currently, there are a lot of educational institutes in Akwa Ibom State, some of which include:

  • University of Uyo, Uyo
  • Maritime Academy of Nigeria, Oron
  • Akwa Ibom State University [Oruk Anam LGA And Mkpat Enin LGA]
  • Obong University, Obong Ntak
  • Akwa Ibom State Polytechnic Ikot Osurua
  • Uyo City Polytechnic Nduetong Oku
  • Apex Polytechnic
  • Heritage Polytechnic, Eket
  • School of Nursing; Uyo, Eket, Oron, Ikot Ekpene, Etinan
  • Akwa Ibom State College of Education, Afaha Nsit
  • School Of Basic Studies Abak
  • College of Arts & Sciences, Nnung Ukim
  • Ritman University
  • Sure Polytechnic, Ukanafun

Notable People from Akwa Ibom

Akwa Ibom boasts of some popular and influential people that are well-known across the country. Some of them are:

  •  Obong Victor Attah Former governor of Akwa Ibom State
  • Udom Gabriel Emmanuel, Governor of Akwa Ibom State from May 2015 to date
  • Senator Ita Enang Senior Special Assistant to President Muhammadu Buhari
  • Godswill Obot Akpabio Former governor of Akwa Ibom State. Former Senate Minority Leader
  • Idongesit Nkanga Former military governor of Akwa Ibom State
  • Chris Ekpenyong Former deputy governor of Akwa Ibom State in the Victor Attah administration.
  • Ufot Ekaette, Secretary to the Government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria from 1999 to 2007 under President Olusegun Obasanjo
  • Onofiok Luke, the 11th Speaker of the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly and the Pioneer Speaker of the Nigeria Youth Parliament.
  • Akpan Isemin Elected governor of Akwa Ibom State in Nigeria from January 1992 to November 1993 during the Nigerian Third Republic
  • Late Dominic Cardinal Ekandem (CFR) first cardinal in English-speaking West Africa. First Nigerian Cardinal to qualify as a candidate to the papacy.
  • Late Chief (Dr) Clement Isong (CFR) second governor, Central Bank of Nigeria. First civilian governor of the former Cross River State
  • Charles Bassey, member of 1980 Super Eagles, winner of African Cup of Nations
  • Samuel Okon Peter (OON), (DSP) World heavyweight boxing champion.
  • Vincent Enyeama Professional footballer (Goalie) and former Super Eagle captain.
  • Chief Don Etiebet, Former Minister of Petroleum
  • Nse Ikpe-Etim, Nollywood Actress
  • Ini Edo, Nollywood Actress
  • Ime Bishop Umoh, Nollywood Actor
  • Etim Inyang, Former Inspector General of the Nigerian Police Force (I.G.P) 1985 to 1986
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As far as politics is concerned in the State, there are three major ethnic groups controlling the affairs – the Ibibio, Annang and Oron.

However, the Ibibio are still the majority amongst the flock, and they keep dominating the realms of the state ever since it was created.

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