history of state creations in nigeria from 1967 till date

History of Benue State: Past Governors from 1976 till date and Natural Resources

Last updated on November 20th, 2021 at 04:07 pm


Benue State is one of the 36 States of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. It is located in the Norther-Central part of the country and has over 5 million inhabitants.

Nicknamed the “Food Basket of the Nation” and created on the 3rd of February 1976, Benue State is majorly inhabited by the Tiv, Idoma and Igede people.

  • Date of creation: February 3, 1976, by the regime of Late Gen. Murtala Muhammed
  • Slogan: Food Basket of the Nation
  • Geopolitical zone: North Central

Apart from these major ethnic groups, others that can be found there includes the Etulo, Abakwa, Jukun, Hausa, Igbo, Igala people, and so on.


With its capital at Makurdi, the State is named after the famous Benue River. She is additionally a rich agricultural region where crops such as potatoes, cassava, and soya bean are planted.


The State can boast of three universities, which are:

  • Federal University of Agriculture, Makurdi
  • Benue State University, Makurdi,
  • University of Mkar, Mkar, Gboko.

There are absolutely two polytechnics therein:

  • Benue State Polytechnic, Ugbokolo
  • Fidei Polytechnic, Gboko

There is also the Akperan Orshi college of Agriculture Yandev, as well as about three colleges of education. The colleges of education are:

  • – Federal College of Education Agasha
  • College of Education Oju,
  • College of Education Kastina Ala.

History of Benue State

The State as it is currently is a surviving legacy of an administrative entity that was drawn out of the protectorate of northern Nigeria at the start of the twentieth century.

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The area now called Benue State used to be called Munshi Province. However, according to t history, it was dropped in 1918 and the Benue River was adopted.

Geology And Environment

Benue State is located in the middle belt region of the country. It is neighbours to five other states in Nigeria, including Nasarawa State (to the north), Taraba State (to the east), Cross-River State (to the south), Enugu State (to the south-west) and Kogi State (to the west).

The State experiences two distinct seasons each year. They are the Wet season (from April to October) and the Dry season (from movement to March).

Mineral Resources

Benue State has a lot of mineral resources that can be found in various parts of the State. She has the likes of Gypsum, Feldspar, gemstones, Wolframite, and so on. However, we should note that only Limestone and Kaolinite are being commercially exploited in the State as things stand now. Limestone is found at Tse-Kucha while Kaolinite at Otukpo.

Natural Resources

She isn’t nicknamed for a food basket of the nation just for the fun of it. The land in the State are superb to cultivate crops like Yam, Millet, Rice, Cassava, Beans, Sweet-potato, Maize, Soybean, cocoyam, Sorghum, Sesame, and so on.

Interestingly, Benue State accounts for over 70% of the country’s Soybean production.

Agriculture is the major backbone of the State’s economy. There are a lot of people in Benue State whose major occupation revolves around the agricultural sector.

She also has a long stretch of the river system with great potential for a buoyant fishing industry as well as dry season farming through irrigation.

The vegetation of the southern parts of Benue is filled with forests. Apart from ensuring the availability of timber, it also represents a reasonable habitat for rare animals types and species.

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Majority of the inhabitants of the State are farmers, while those that stay in the river areas engage in fishing.

List of Past governors of Benue State

  • Abdullahi Shelleng: Military governor from March 1976 to July 1978
  • Adebayo Lawal: July 1978 till October 1979 as a military administrator
  • Aper Aku: He’s the first executive governor of Benue State, ruled from October 1979 till 31, December 1983 when the military overthrew the government in a coup
  • John Kpera: Military governor from January 1984 till August 1985
  • Jonah David Jang: Military administrator from August 1985 to August 1986
  • Yohanna Madaki: Military administrator from August 1986 till September 1986
  • Ishaya Bakut: Military administrator from September 1986 till 1987
  • Idris Garba from 1987 as a military administrator till December 1987
  • Fidelis Makka: Another military administrator from December 1987 till January 1992
  • Moses Adasu: An elected governor from January 1992 till November 1993 under the Social democratic Party (SDP)
  • Joshua O. Obademi: Took over the reign of power in the state after the short-lived democratic process was truncated when IBB annulled M.K.O Abiola’s election. He ruled from 9 December 1993 till 22 August 1996
  • Aminu Isa Kontagora: This is another military governor in Benue State, he ruled from 22 August 1996 till August 1998
  • Dominic Oneya: He’s the last military administrator in Benue State before Nigeria Gen Abdulsalami Abubakar returned Nigeria back to democracy. He ruled from August 1998 till May 29, 1999.
  • George Akume: 29 May 1999 to May 29, 2007, as a member of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). He is now a servicing senator.
  • Gabriel Suswam: A member of PDP, who ruled from May 29, 2007, till May 29, 2015.
  • Samuel Ortom: The incumbent governor who won an election in 2015 under All Progressive Congress (APC) after his party PDP failed to grant PDP governorship ticket. He has since returned to his former party PDP, and will be seeking reelection under PDP in March 2, Governorship Election.
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