History of Bayelsa State: Past Governors from 1996 till date and Notable people

Last Updated on February 4, 2019 by Ope Quadri

Bayelsa State is one of the 36 States in the Federal Republic of Nigeria, located in the Southern part of the country.

Date created: October 1, 1996

Slogan: “Glory of all lands

Geo-political zone: South South

It lies between Delta State and Rivers State, and she has over 2 million people living in the area.

Nicknamed “Glory of all lands”, Bayelsa was created on the 1st of October 1996, and her capital Yenagoa.

Although English is the official language spoken there, the most popular language in the State is Ijaw, with dialects like Nembe, Bomu, Kolukuma and so on.

Bayelsa was carved out of Rivers State when Late General Sani Abacha was still the Head of State of the country.

The name “Bayelsa” was drafted from the first few letters of the names of the main LGAs local from which she was formed.

They include:

  •  Brass Local Government Area (BALGA)
  • Yenagoa (YELGA)
  • Sagbama (SALGA).

Compare to some very old States in the country, Bayelsa is rightly regarded as one of the newest states in Nigeria.


Although she has one of the largest crude oil and natural gas deposits in the country (which makes her a very important State in Nigeria), many of her inhabitants are still very poor.

Majority of the inhabitants are mainly rural dwellers. This is as a result of lack of appropriate transportation, health, and reasonable infrastructure.

The Central government have ignored them for decades, while their state governments are not helping matters. Successive state governments have not been able to appropriately deal with the issue of poverty in the state, even though millions of money are usually budgeted to address the issue.

A lot of Bayelsans are into dishing. They fish both to sustain themselves and to sell. There are not many industries and companies in the State, hence, the State government is the major employer in Bayelsa.


The State has a riverine and estuarine setting. It is surrounded by water. Many communities in Bayelsa State are not accessible by road.

Bayelsa is also home to the Edumanom Forest Reserve.

Although Yenagoa is the State’s capital, there are some other important areas in the Bayelsa, including Akassa, Lobia, Eniwari, Ekeremor, Aliebiri, Peretoru, Twon-Brass, Kaiama, Nembe, Odi, Ogbia, Okpoama Brass, Oporoma, Otuan, Sagbama, Olugbobiri, Peremabiri, and Swali.

The Niger Delta University is located at Amassoma.

Notable Natives

There are a lot of successful people who hails from Bayelsa State. More notable is former president of Nigeria, Goodluck Jonathan. Apart from him, other notable natives include:

  •  Gabriel Okara. A successful novelist and poet
  • Ernest Ikoli. Pioneering Nigerian journalist
  • Major Isaac Adaka Boro. Nigerian Civil War hero
  • Daniel Igali. Canadian Olympic gold medalist and world wrestling champion
  • Alfred Diete-Spiff. A former governor of Rivers State
  • Edmund Daukoru. A former Nigerian Minister of State for Energy. He was also Secretary General of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries in 2006.
  • Melford Obiene Okilo. A former governor of Rivers State
  • Diepreye Alamieyeseigha. The first executive governor of Bayelsa State
  • Timipre Sylva. A former governor of Bayelsa state
  • Timaya. A musical artist
  • Timi Dakolo. A musical artist
  • Samson Siasia. A Former Super Eagles player and Coach
  • Diezani Alison-Madueke. A former Minister of Solid Minerals, Transport and Petroleum resources
  • Finidi George. A Former Super Eagles player
  • Heineken Lokpobiri. A Minister of State for Agriculture


A lot of Bayelsans are currently residing in foreign countries, as there are tons of them that keeps utilising overseas scholarship programs to find themselves in other climes.

Even before the current Bayelsa State begin to implement these scholarship programs, the old Rivers State in the 1970s had been doing it.

So, a lot of talented individuals from the State now reside in Europe and North America – using their talents to grow their new home, while Africa continue to lose its best brains.


The State boasts of some major tertiary institutions, which are:

  • Niger Delta University
  • Isaac Jasper Boro College of Education
  • College of Health Sciences
  • School of Nursing
  • Bayelsa State College of Arts and Science
  • International Institute of Tourism
  • Federal University Otuoke
  • Local Government Areas

There are eight local government areas in the State, and they include:

  • Brass
  • Ekeremor
  • Kolokuma/Opokuma
  • Nembe
  • Ogbia
  • Sagbama
  • Southern Ijaw
  • Yenagoa

Past Governors of Bayelsa State

Below is the list of past governors of Bayelsa State, since it was created in 1996

  • Phillip Ayeni: He was a military administrator from October 7, 1996, to February 28, 1997
  • Habu Daura: He ruled from  February 28, 1997, as a military administrator till 27 June 1997.
  • Omoniyi Caleb Olubolade: He was the military administrator that succeeded Daura in 27 June 1997 till 9 July 1998
  • Paul Obi: He took over from July 9, 1998, as a military administrator till the day of handing over to a democratically elected governor on 29 May 1999.
  • Diepreye Alamieyeseigha: He was the first executive governor of Bayelsa State since its creation. He ruled from May 29, 1999, till 9 December 2005, when he was impeached. He was a member of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
  • Dr Goodluck Jonathan: He was sworn in immediately his boss Alamieyeseigha was kicked out of office in December 9, 2005, ruling till May 29, 2007. He’s a member of PDP. He later became the Vice president to the late President Umar Musa Yar’’dua, and eventually became Nigeria’s president after the death of his boss.
  • Timipre Sylva: A member of PDP, took over office May 29, 2007, till 16 April 2008.
  • Werinipre Seibarugo: from April 16, 2008 to 27 May 2008 as an Acting governor after Timipre Sylva’s election was nullified.
  • Timipre Sylva: From 27 May 2008 till 27 January 2012 when he again re-elected. A member of PDP.
  • Nestor Binabo: Acting Governor from 27 January 2012 till 14 February 2012. Acting governor after Timipre Sylva’s tenure was terminated by the Supreme Court.
  • Henry Dickson: He’s the incumbent governor of the Bayelsa State, took over 14 February 2012 – February 14, 2020

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