Till Nigeria gained Independence on October 1, 1960, there were three regions with a regional government. The three pioneer regions were Northern, Western, and Eastern.
In 1963, the Western region gave birth to the Mid-Western Region, bringing the total to four regions, each was manned by Premier while Alhaji Tafawa Balewa (Late), who was the Prime Minister, was the Head of Government; Nnamdi Azikiwe, the President, was the ceremonial Head of State.
This history became necessary as Nigeria’s Upper Legislative Chamber, The Senate, is proposing to create 23 new states, you can find the full list at: https://infomediang.com/23-new-states-in-nigeria-proposed-by-senate
Military Coup Overhaul Regional Government
The first coup de tat of January 1966 that swept away the government of Tafawa Balewa paved the way for the creation of states.
The coup led to another coup in July 1966, which brought in the government of Yakubu Gowon after the killing Aguiyi-Ironsi, the military head of state, and some senior military officers across the country in what was described as a counter-coup.
The Eastern region at the time led by Dim Odumegu Ojukwu who believed that there was something sinister about the counter-coup, announced the Republic of Biafra a few months after.
Gowon, the military head of state was treating the Biafra Republic as a joke until Ojuwku showed more commitment to his course.
The action of Ojukwu made Gowon to create 12 states out of the existing regions.
One of the moves was to lessen the area of influence under Ojukwu.
Under his control alone, three additional states were carved out of the Eastern region, they include:
- South Eastern State
- East Central
In 1976, seven additional states were created, to bring the number to 19. And in September 24, 1987, two more states – Kastina and Akwa Ibom- were created by the regime of Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida (IBB).
Again, IBB announced the creation of another nine states to bring the number to 30 on 27 August 1991.
The last creation of states in Nigeria:
The regime of Sani Abacha (Late) on October 1, 1996, during his Independence Day speech, announced the establishment of six additional states to bring the number to 36 till date.
The states include:
His regime also reorganized the zones into 6 geo-political zones. That’s what Nigeria is using till date until the Senate Committee on Constitution Review released a list of 23 proposed states on August 7, 2021
- Photo credit: Nigeria Gallery