History of Cross River State: Major Towns And List of Governors from 1967 till date

Last updated on October 30th, 2021 at 11:57 am


Cross River State is one of Nigeria’s 36 States and is located in the South-South part of the country. The State got its name from the Cross River that flows through her. Calabar is the capital of the State, while its nickname is “The People’s Paradise”.

Date created: May 27, 1967

Geopolitical zone: South South


Slogan: The People’s Paradise

Created on the 27th of May 1967, people speak various languages in Cross River State – including English, French, Bekwarra, Ejagham and Efik.


She derives her name from the Cross River which passes through her.

Cross River is a coastal state that is located in the Niger Delta region. It is neighbor to Benue State (to the north), Ebonyi and Abia States to (the west), and Akwa-Ibom (to the South)


When Yakubu Gowon was still controlling the affairs of the country, his regime created the South-South State, carving it out of the former Eastern Region in 1967.

But during the Murtala Mohammed’s era, it was changed to Cross River State (from “South Eastern State”) during the 1976 state creation exercise.

In 1987, Ibrahim Babangida carved Akwa Ibom State out of Cross River State during his own state creation exercise.

Here are its major towns in Cross River State:

  • Akamkpa
  • Biase
  • Calabar South
  • Ikom
  • Igede
  • Obubra
  • Odukpani
  • Ogoja
  • Bekwarra
  • Ugep
  • Obudu
  • Obanliku
  • Akpabuyo Ofutop
  • Iso-bendgh
  • e Danare
  • Boki
  • Yala
  • Bendeghe Ekiem
  • Etomi
  • Ukpe
  •  Ukelle
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Local Government Areas in Cross River State

There are 17 Local Government Areas in Cross River State, and they include:

  • Abi
  • Akamkpa
  • Akpabuyo
  • Bekwarra
  • Biase
  • Boki
  • Calabar Municipal
  • Calabar South
  • Etung
  • Ikom
  • Obanliku
  • Obubra
  • Obudu
  • Odukpani
  • Ogoja
  • Yakuur
  • Yala

Tourism in Cross Rivers State

There are a lot of exciting spots to visit and see in Cross River State. Should we talk about the excitements of the mountain tops of Obanliku or the Rainforests of Afi?

There is the Waterfalls of Agbokim and Kwa, and a tourist can decide to have a nice time at the Tinapa Business Resort or the Calabar Marina.

If you desire to go to Cross River State for sightseeing, you might want to visit these places:

  • The Ikom Monoliths
  • The Mary Slessor Tomb
  • Calabar Drill Monkey Sanctuary
  • Cross River National Park
  • Afi Mountain walkway canopy
  • Kwa falls
  • Agbokim waterfalls

There is an international airport at Calabar – the Margaret Ekpo International Airport – that will make things easier for travellers and tourists. There are daily flights to Calabar from Lagos and Abuja. An airline like Aero Contractors have flights to the Bebi airstrip at Obanliku for trips to the Obanliku Mountain Resort.


Cross River State can boast about some tertiary educational institutions, including:

  • University of Calabar (Federal University located in Calabar)
  • Cross River State University of Technology (located in Calabar)
  • Ibrahim Babangida College of Agriculture (located in Obubra Local Government Area)
  • Cross River State College of Education (located in Akamkpa Local Government Area)
  • College of Health Technology (located in Iboko Okpoma)
  • Federal College of Education (located in Obudu)
  • Technical College Ugep (located in Yakurr Local Government Area)
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Former Governors of Cross River State

  • Uduokaha Esuene: A Military administrator 28 May 1967 till July 1975
  • Paul Omu: Military administrator from February 3, 1976, till July 1978
  • Babatunde Elegbede: Military administrator from July 1978 till October 1979
  • Clement Isong: First executive governor of the state from October 1, 1979, till October 1983 under National Party of Nigeria (NPN).
  • Donald Etiebet: A Democratically elected governor from October 1, 1983, till December 1983 under NPN.
  • Navy Captain Edet Akpan Archibong; Military Governor From January 1984 -May 1984
  • Dan Archibong was the military administrator of Cross River from May 1984 to 1986
  • Navy Captain Eben Ibim Princewill was Military Governor of Cross River State between 1986 and December 1989. He was appointed by the regime of General Ibrahim Babangida.
  • Lt. Colonel Ernest Attah was Military Governor of Cross River State, between December 1989 and January 1992 during the military regime of General Ibrahim Babangida.
  • Clement David Ebri He was elected during a short-lived republic under NRC between January 1992 and November 17, 1993 during the Nigerian Third Republic, and left office after the military coup that brought General Sani Abacha to power.
  • Air Commodore (retired) Ibrahim Kefas served as Military Administrator of Cross River State in between December 1993 and September 1994.
  • AVM Gregory Agboneni was appointed as Military Administrator of Cross River State between September 1994 and August 1996.Colonel Umar Farouk Ahmed was Military Administrator of Cross River State, between August 1996 – August 1998
  • Navy Captain Christopher Osondu was appointed Military Administrator of Cross River State, between August 1998 during the transitional regime of General Abdulsalami Abubakar, handing over power to the elected civilian governor Donald Duke in May 1999.
  • Donald Duke: He was elected under Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) from 29 May 1999 to May 29, 2007
  • Liyel Imoke: A PDP man won the election on May 29, 2007, to May 29, 2015
  • Prof. Benedict Ayade: 29 May 2015
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  • Opeyemi Quadri

    Ope is a finance writer and researcher with 10+ years of experience in content creation. His interests cut across decentralized finance, investment, foreign exchange, government policies and politics.

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