the 36 state and capital in Nigeria
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In this article, we share with you the full list of all the 36 state and capital in Nigeria and their slogan.

Administratively, Nigeria is divided into six geopolitical zones with each comprising of at least six states and a Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja.

Nigeria is a federation of 36 states and capitals, and 1 Federal Capital Territory with a population of more than 200 million approximately the same population as Brazil.

We’ve recently published an article about all the 50 U.S states in alphabetical order, you should check it out.

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Each of the 36 states in Nigeria is a semi-autonomous political unit that shares powers with the Federal Government as enumerated under the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

The Federal Capital Territory, also known as FCT, is the capital of Nigeria and located in the city of Abuja. FCT is not a state but is administered by elected officials who are supervised by the Federal Government.

Each state is sub-divided into Local Government Areas (LGAs). There are currently a total of 774 Local Government Areas in Nigeria. 

Under the Constitution, the 36 states are co-equal but not supreme because sovereignty resides with the Federal Government.

The constitution can be amended by the National Assembly, but each amendment must be ratified by two-thirds of the 36 states of the federation.

Who created the 36 state and capital in Nigeria? What is the slogan of each state?

The above and more are the information you’ll find in this post.

All The 36 State And Capital In Nigeria and Their Slogan

List of 36 State and Capital In NigeriaStateCapital
1Abia StateUmuahia
2Adamawa StateYola
3Akwa Ibom StateUyo
4Anambra StateAwka
5Bauchi StateBauchi
6Bayelsa StateYenagoa
7Benue StateMakurdi
8Borno StateMaiduguri
9Cross River StateCalabar
10Delta StateAsaba
11Ebonyi StateAbakaliki
12Edo StateBenin City
13Ekiti StateAdo – Ekiti
14Enugu StateEnugu
15Gombe StateGombe
16Imo StateOwerri
17Jigawa StateDutse
18Kaduna StateKaduna
19Kano StateKano
20Katsina StateKatsina
21Kebbi StateBirnin Kebbi
22Kogi StateLokoja
23Kwara StateIlorin
24Lagos StateIkeja
25Nasarawa StateLafia
26Niger StateMinna
27Ogun StateAbeokuta
28Ondo StateAkure
29Osun StateOshogbo
30Oyo StateIbadan
31Plateau StateJos
32Rivers StatePort Harcourt
33Sokoto StateSokoto
34Taraba StateJalingo
35Yobe StateDamaturu
36Zamfara StateGusau

Now, let’s discuss how each state in Nigeria got its name and also the list will include the slogan (motto) for each state in brackets.

It will also include brief notes on each state.

1. Abia State – Umuahia (God’s Own State)

First on the list of all 36 state and capital in Nigeria is Abia state.

Abia state is located in the southeast geopolitical zone in Nigeria. By comparison, the state has approximately the same population as Uruguay.

It houses Aba, the China in Nigeria, a popular commercial city in Nigeria known for its manufacturing and commercial expertise.

Farmers in this state grow food crops such as cassava, yam, rice, potatoes, plantain, maize, and taro. The most important cash crop in Abia is Oil Palm.

Abia state is made of predominantly the Igbo speaking ethnic group and it have 17 local government areas.

Abia is said to be an acronym from the four main groups of people in the state as at the time it was formed in 1991namely Aba, Bende, Isuikwuato, and Afikpo.

2. Adamawa State – Yola (Land of Beauty)

Next on the list of the 36 state and capital in Nigeria is Adamawa, which was named after a warrior, Modibbo Adama Bin Ardo Hassan. He conquered the region in the beginning of the 19th century.

Adamawa state is located in the northeastern geopolitical zone and it is one of the most mountainous states in the country. Adamawa can be regarded as predominantly an agricultural state.

They produce agricultural crops such as groundnut and cotton (cash crops) as well as food crops like maize, millet, rice, guinea, cassava, and yam.

By comparison the state has approximately the same population as Croatia. The state have 21 LGAs and it is one of the largest homes of the Fulani speaking group as well as the Fulfulde.

3. Akwa Ibom – Uyo (Land of Promised)

State and capital in Nigeria - Akwa Ibom

Akwa Ibom state, the land of promise is the highest oil-producing state in Nigeria and also a Niger Delta state.

This state shares a boundary with the Atlantic Ocean and regarded as one of the most beautiful states in Nigeria. By comparison, the state has approximately the same population as Slovakia

Akwa Ibom is named after the Qua Iboe (or Kwa Iboe) River. Akwa Ibom is home to many tribal groups. The dominating ones include Ibibio, Annang, Oron, Eket, and Obolo. It has 31 local government areas.

4. Anambra State – Awka (Light of the nation formerly Home For All)

The next state on the list of 36 state and capital in Nigeria got its name from the corrupted version of Oma Mbala (Ànyịm Ọma Mbala), a popular river in the area.

Anambra state is the state in Nigeria with the lowest poverty rate in the country. By comparison, the state has approximately the same population as Congo.

It is located in the southeastern part of the country. It is an oil-producing state and has two very popular cities aside its capital.

The first is Nnewi which is an industrial city and the second is Onitsha, a commercial city.

The state is also blessed with natural resources such as ceramics and bauxite. Anambra state is made up of majorly Igbo tribe and a minor Igala living in the northwestern part. It has 21 LGAs.

5. Bauchi State – Bauchi (Pearl of Tourism)

There are three versions of how Bauchi got its name.

  1. ‘Bauchi’ is a Hausa word meaning the southern flanks of Hausa land. Tribes living in the southern parts of the Hausa land were referred to as kasashen Bauchi and the area they lived in later came to be known simply as Bauchi.
  2. The second version was that the state was named after Baushe, a famous hunter who settled there before the 19th century.
  3. The third version states that ‘Bauchi’ is the Hausa word for slavery since it was a center for slave raiders.

Bauchi state is popular for one thing; the Yankari National Park formerly known as the Yankari Games Reserve; is the largest games reserve in Nigeria. The state is located in the Northeastern part of Nigeria.

Bauchi state just like other Northern states in Nigeria is blessed with a fertile arable land which makes agriculture a very popular economic activity.

Mineral resources found in Bauchi state includes; gypsum, lead/zinc, uranium and Amethyst.

By comparison the state has approximately the same population as Kyrgyzstan. About 55 tribal groups can be found in Bauchi and the state has 20 Local Government Areas.

6. Bayelsa State – Yenagoa (Glory of All Lands)

Bayelsa is a combination of the acronyms of three local government areas which were pulled out of old Rivers state — Brass LGA known as BALGA, Yenegoa LGA known as YELGA and Sagbama LGA known as SALGA.

Thus the name of the state was formed from BA, YEL and SA and becomes BAYELSA

Bayelsa state has the lowest number of LGA in the 36 state and capital in Nigeria with only 8 LGAs.

It is also one of the least populated states in Nigeria. By comparison, the state has approximately the same population as Namibia.

Bayelsa state is located in the Niger Delta Region of the country. Though small, it is an oil producer and has one of the largest oil deposits in Nigeria. The major languages spoken here are the Izon, Nembe, Epie-Atissa and Ogbia.

7. Benue State – Makurdi (Food Basket of the Nation)

Benue state is located in north central part of Nigeria (middle belt). It is one of the states of Nigeria known for its great agricultural productivity.

In fact, the state prides itself as the food basket of the nation. The state was named after the Europeanized corruption of ‘Binuwe’, the Batta word for ‘Mother of Waters’.

Benue state accounts for 70% of soybeans production in Nigeria. Aside it agricultural resource, Benue is also blessed with mineral resources like limestone, Gypsum, Feldspar, Baryte, Gemstone, Mineral salts, Kaolinite, etc.

By comparison the state has approximately the same population as Denmark. The Tiv, Idoma and the Igede ethnic groups dominate the state. The state has 23 LGA’s.

8. Borno State – Maiduguri (Home of Peace)

Borno state is next on the list of all the 36 state and capital in Nigeria.

The alternative name of the Kanuris, the predominant ethnic group in the state, is ‘Borno’ which gave inspiration for the naming of the state.

Borno state is at the extreme end of the Northeastern part of Nigeria and it is the second-largest state in Nigeria. By comparison, the state has approximately the same population as Singapore

Agriculture is the main occupation of the people in this area as the occupants are mostly into farming, fishing or rearing of animals.

The state is the most important livestock producing state in Nigeria. It is blessed with solid minerals such as clay, limestone, uranium, kaolin, potash deposit and salt, etc.

The state dubbed as the home of peace had been turn into a home insurgency activities.

The largest ethnic groups in Borno state include the Kanuri, Babur and Marghi. This territory has 27 local government areas.

9. Cross River State – Calabar (The People’s Paradise)

You’ll definitely find Cross River on the list of 36 state and capital in Nigeria.

The state took its name from a River called Oyono or Cross River. By comparison the state has approximately the same population as Eritrea.

It is located in the coastal area of the South South geopolitical zone in Nigeria and it is one of the tourist hubs in Nigeria.

This state shares boundary with Cameroon. Talking of tourism, Cross River is a place to look at in the country. It houses the popular Obudu Mountain Resort popularly known as the Obudu Cattle Ranch.

Other tourist hub include: Tinapa Business Resort, Calabar Marina, Calabar Residency Museum, the slave park among many other interesting places.

There are 18 LGA’s in Cross River with the Efik, Ejagham and Bekwarra as the ethnic group dominating.

10. Delta State – Asaba (The Big Heart)

On the list of all the 36 state and capital in Nigeria is Delta state.

By comparison, the state has approximately the same population as Finland. The state is where the River Niger forms a delta as it enters the Atlantic Ocean.

Located in the South-South geopolitical zone in Nigeria, Delta is a Niger-Delta state and the second-largest oil-producing state in Nigeria.

Delta is the house to the widely known Warri, this happens to be its main commercial hub.

Aside being an oil producer, it is also blessed with other mineral resources such as the industrial clay, limestone, lignite, silica, kaolin, decorative rocks and tar sand among others.

Not only this, the state is blessed with good arable soil that encourages agriculture.

There are 25 Local Government Areas in the state and it has the Itsekiri, Urhobo/Isolo, Anioma and Ezon as the dominating ethnic groups.

11. Ebonyi State – Abakaliki (Salt of the Nation)

By comparison the state has approximately the same population as Puerto Rico. Ebonyi is the anglicised version of ‘Aboine’, a river that cuts through Abakaliki, the state capital.

The state is dominated mostly by the Igbos. Ebonyi is known to be the least populated state in Nigeria and an agricultural state.

The farmers here plant crops like Cassava, Yam, Potatoes, Beans, Rice, Maize, etc. Lead and salt are also found this state. Ebonyi has 13 LGA’s.

12. Edo State – Benin City (The Heartbeat of the Nation)

Later in this article, you’ll come to konw how Edo state became one of the 36 state and capital in Nigeria.

Edo is also an oil-producing state in Nigeria and it is also located in the South-South. Aside from being an oil-producing state, agriculture is the major occupation of the people living in the area.

Edo state is dominated by the Edo, Okpe, Esan, Afemai/Etsako, Ora, Akoko-Edo, Igbanke, Emai and Ijaw. Edo is divided into 18 LGAs. By comparison the state has approximately the same population as Moldova.

13. Ekiti State – Ado-Ekiti (Fountain of Knowledge)

Nigerian states and capital - Ekiti

‘Okiti’ is a term that is said to denote a settlement of many hills. It later became ‘Ekiti’. The state is located on the western highland otherwise known as the Yoruba highland.

The Yoruba highland seats gracefully in the southwestern part of the country. By comparison, the state has approximately the same population as Armenia.

Ekiti state has the highest number of professors in Nigeria and also pride itself as a state with several pioneer academics more the reason why it is called the fountain of knowledge.

Ekiti state is home to the Ikogosi Warm spring. Talking of mineral resources, Ekiti boast of having granite, kaolin, columbite, iron ore, limestone, gold, gemstone, aquamine, barite, phosphate, etc. The state is predominantly made of the Yoruba ethnic group and it has 16 LGAs.

14. Enugu State – Enugu (Coal City State)

Next on the list of all the 36 state and capital in Nigeria is Enugu.

Due to the many hills and rocky terrain in the area, the people named it in Igbo language, Enu Ugwu meaning top of the hill.

Unlike the other states above, this state has its name from its capital. Located in the southeastern part of the country, most of it communities are rural and as such, just like many other part of the country, about 70% of its population is involved in farming.

By comparison the state has approximately the same population as Kuwait.

However, Enugu has the largest coal deposit in Nigeria earning it the slogan the coal city state. While the dominating ethnic group is the Igbo, the Igalas and Idomas can be found in few places.

Related: Top 10 Best banks in Nigeria

15. Gombe State – Gombe (Jewel in the Savannah)

By comparison the state has approximately the same population as Jamaica.

Gombe is the dialect of the Fulani language (Fulfulde) spoken in the area. Gombe state is located in the Northeastern part of the country.

This state has agriculture as the main occupation of its people and this is because it is blessed with rich soil.

The state is a popular hub for traders that deal in agricultural produce. It is also a known fact that the only surviving grain depot in northern Nigeria is in Gombe state.

The state is also the home to the Gombe Oil Seeds Company and Gombe Cotton Ginneries as well as the Ashaka Cement Company Plc.

Limestone, uranium and gypsum are also found in a substantial quantity here. There are only 11 LGAs in this state.

16. Imo State – Owerri (Eastern Heartland formerly Land of Hope)

By comparison the state has approximately the same population as Norway. Just like many of the Nigerian states, Imo took its name from the popular river, Imo Mmiri.

Imo is also one of the 36 state and capital in Nigeria. It is an oil producing state. Aside this, it also has deposit of white clay, lead, fine sand, zinc and limestone.

The state is also blessed with forest resources like the Iroko, Mahogany, Obeche, Bamboo, Rubber, and Oil Palm. The state has 27 LGAs and it is Igbo tribe dominated.

17. Jigawa State – Dutse (The New World)

The state is one of the northern states in Nigeria. In this state, about 80% of the population are into agriculture which is mostly at a subsistence level.

Talking of poverty, Jigawa is one of the poorest states in Nigeria. This is predominately a Hausa-Fulani state with some Kanuri and Badawa.

The state has 27 local government areas. By comparison the state has approximately the same population as Denmark

18. Kaduna State – Kaduna (Centre of Learning formerly Liberal State)

Kaduna is next on the list of all the 36 state and capital in Nigeria. The unique thing about this state is that it boasts of having some of the best and unique schools in the country.

Some of these include the prestigious ABU – Zaria, the Nigerian Defense Academy, Nigerian College of Aviation Technology – Zaria, Nigerian Institute of Transport Technology – Zaria, Institute of Leather Research – Zaria, National Institute of Teachers – Kaduna, etc.

The state is also home to many Military barracks including an Air Force Base.

‘Kadunas’ is the plural form of crocodile in Hausa. The state therefore got its name from the many crocodiles in Kaduna River.

There are over 50 ethnic groups in the state out of which the Hausa-Fulani, Fulani, Kataf, and Bajju are the major ones.

By comparison the state has approximately the same population as Switzerland. There are about 23 LGAs in the state.

More of The 36 State And Capital In Nigeria And Their Resources

The next state on the list of the 36 state and capital in Nigeria is Kano.

19. Kano State – Kano (Centre of Commerce)

Kano was the name of a blacksmith from the Gaya tribe who settled in the area while sourcing for ironstone. The state was named after him.

This is the most populated state in Nigeria according to the 2016 census and by comparison the state has approximately the same population as Belgium.

This is one of the top industrial states in the country and the largest in northern Nigeria.

Talking of agriculture, Kano state is a major player as it is a major producer of soybean, sesame, cotton as well as hides and skin.

Other crops in this state include groundnut, garlic, gum Arabic and chili pepper. It is a Hausa state and has the highest number of Local Government in Nigeria (44 LGAs).

20. Katsina State – Katsina (Home of Hospitality)

Just like Kaduna and Kano, Katsina state is located in North-West geopolitical zone in the country.

The occupation of most people in the state is agriculture and they are a major producer of Maize, Guinea Corn, Wheat, Yam, Cotton, Rice, Onion, Tomatoes, etc. it is also blessed with Kaolin and asbestos.

The state was named after the wife of a popular local ruler known as Janzama. Her name was Katsina.

The state has 34 LGAs in Katsina and the slogan of this state is home of hospitality. By comparison, the state has approximately the same population as Hong Kong

21. Kebbi State – Birnin-Kebbi (Land of Equity)

Kebbi is also one of the 36 state and capital in Nigeria.

By comparison the state has approximately the same population as Panama. It is said that Kebbi was named after the Ka’abba in Mecca, Saudi Arabia.

The economy of the state is agriculturally driven as it is a major producer of millet, wheat and guinea corn and it host the widely known Argungu fishing festival annually.

Talking of minerals, the most important in Kebbi is Kaolin, gypsum and marble.

The state just like most other North Western state is predominantly homogeneous with the Hausa ethnic group dominating. There are 21 LGAs in the state.

22. Kogi State – Lokoja (The Confluence State)

Since the popular confluence in Nigeria is located in the state, Kogi is said to have been derived from ‘kogin’, the Hausa word for river.

Kogi state is a north-central state of Nigeria, a region popularly referred to as the middle belt.

One unique thing about Kogi state is that it is the only state in the country that share boundary with FCT and 10 states (Kwara, Ekiti, Ondo, Edo, Delta, Anambra, Enugu, Benue, Nasarawa, Niger); the highest in the country.

The confluence of the two most important rivers (River Niger and River Benue) is in Lokoja, the state’s capital earning it the slogan; the confluence state.

Lokoja, the state capital is the first administrative capital of Nigeria ironically as discussed above in this article.

The state is also a host to one of the largest cement factory in Africa that’s the Obajana Cement Factory owned by Dangote as well as the Ajaokuta Steel Company Limited.

Kogi is blessed abundant mineral resources like limestone, coal, iron, tin and petroleum.

By comparison the state has approximately the same population as Mauritania. Majority of Kogi people are farmers.

They produce food crops as well as cash crop ranging from cassava, yam, rice, maize, melon, groundnuts, cashews, cocoa, coffee and oil palm.

The Igalas, Igbiras and Okuns are the major tribes in the state. The state has 21 Local Government Areas.

23. Kwara State – Ilorin (The State of Harmony)

Next on the list of all the 36 state and capital in Nigeria is Kwara.

By comparison the state has approximately the same population as Qatar. The Yoruba state with a lot of Fulanis; this is what best describes Kwara.

It is located in North Central Nigeria and has 16 Local Government Areas. River Niger used to be called River Kwara by the Nupes at the Northern border of the state. The state was named after this.

This state has a number of industries in it. It is also an agricultural state as agriculture is the most important economic activity in the state.

They grow oil palm, coffee, kolanut, tobacco, cotton and beniseed among other crops. Mineral resources in Kwara include gold, limestone, marble, feldspar, clay, kaolin, granite and quartz.

Aside the Yoruba majorities and Fulani minorities, there are other tribes like the Nupe and Bariba.

24. Lagos State – Ikeja (Centre of Excellence)

This is just one state out of the list of states in Nigeria that stands out economically. It is unarguably the most economically important state in Nigeria.

Lagos is also the second most industrialized state in the country directly following Ogun state.

It strategic location made it a commercial hub and a hustling zone in Nigeria and thereby the largest economy in Nigeria.  Lagos state is home to Africa’s largest metropolitan city; Lagos.

This city is termed as one of the world’s growing cities. Due to the many lagoons and rivers in the town, the first set of Europeans (Portuguese) to set foot in Lagos named it Lagos, which is the Portuguese word for ‘lakes’.

According to the 2006 census, Lagos state is the second most populated state in Nigeria, directing behind Kano. By comparison, the state has approximately the same population as the Netherlands.  

It is home to one of the busiest and largest ports in Africa as well as the busiest international airport in Nigeria. It is home to a lot of manufacturing industries as well as many startups. To crown it up, it is the economic nerve of Nigeria.

Like some will argue, Lagos is a no man’s land! This is false as Lagos is a Yoruba state though, due to its economy, it is now like a mini-Nigeria where almost all ethnic groups can be found. The state has 20 Local Government Areas.

25. Nasarawa State – Lafia (Home of Solid Minerals)

Nasarawa is a native word for ‘victorious’. The state was named by the founder of Nasarawa kingdom, Makama Dogo.

Nasarawa state with just 13 LGAs is located in the North Central part of Nigeria and it one of the states in Nigeria bordering the FCT. By comparison, the state has approximately the same population as Lithuania.

The major economic activity in this state is agriculture. The state is also blessed with mineral resources such barite, salt, bauxite, etc.

This earned the state the slogan; Home of solid mineral. Ethnic groups in Nasarawa include the Eggon, Mada, Tiv, Alago, Hausa, and Fulani, etc.

26. Niger State – Minna (The Power State)

This was named after the River Niger. Niger state is the largest state in Nigeria in terms of land area, it is located in Northcentral and there are hydroelectric power stations in the state.

They are the Kainji Dam and Shiroro Dam. Aside from these dams, it’s also the home to the popular Gurara fall.

The state is home to the Kainji National Park which hosts the Kainji Lake, Zugurma Games Reserve, and Borgu Game Reserve among others.

The iconic Zuma rock in the Nigeria’s one hundred naira note is located in this state. Nupe, Gbagyi, Kamuku, Kambari, Dukawa and Koro are the major ethnic groups in Niger.

There are 21 local government areas in the state. By comparison the state has approximately the same population as Finland

27. Ogun State – Abeokuta (Gateway State)

By comparison, the state has approximately the same population as Oman. Ogun is the most industrialized state in Nigeria that’s, it is Nigeria’s industrial hub.

Many companies are located strategically within the 2km Government acquisition area of the Lagos – Sagamu Expressway.

Aside from being an industrial zone, it also a host to many religious organization headquarters as well as many tertiary institutions. This state was also named after a river — Ogun River.

The state has 20 LGAs. It is located in South Western Nigeria and shares border with Lagos.

28. Ondo State – Akure (Sunshine State)

By comparison the state has approximately the same population as Central Africa Republic.

The sunshine state is located in the southwestern geopolitical zone in Nigeria and it is an oil-producing state.

The state is home to the much talked about Idanre Hill which is a popular tourist hub in Nigeria.

Ondo state is the largest producers of cocoa in Nigeria. It is also a producer of timber among others. Ondo is a word used for settlers.

The state was named after the settlers of the old Ondo Kingdom. The state has 18 LGAs, it is dominated by the Yoruba speaking tribe and some patches of Ijaw.

29. Osun State – Osogbo (Land of virtue; formerly State of the Living Spring)

states of Nigeria - Osun

The state has 30 LGAs. This state was also named after a river — the River Osun. That’s how it became one of the 36 state and capital in Nigeria.

This is a Yoruba state located in the Southwest and a home to the prestigious Obafemi Awolowo University as well as the Osun-Osogbo Grove, a world heritage site.

This states houses Ile-Ife; an important Yoruba cultural location. By comparison the state has approximately the same population as Ireland.

30. Oyo State – Ibadan (Pace Setter)

The state was named after the Old Oyo Empire. It is located in southwestern Nigeria and home to the University of Ibadan, the first University in Nigeria.

The main occupation in this state is agriculture. It has 33 LGAs. By comparison, the state has approximately the same population as Sierra Leone

The first skyscraper built in Africa is located here; it is known as the Cocoa House and built from cocoa earning.

The state also houses the old Oyo National Park, Ado-Awaye Suspended Lake and other tourist hubs.

31. Plateau State – Jos (Home of Peace & Tourism)

The state was named after the charming Jos plateau. Jos got its name from the mispronunciation of the town ‘Gwosh’.

This state is geographically unique in Nigeria as it is the only state in Nigeria with a near temperate climate due to it being located on the Jos plateau.

The state has many tourist hubs; some of this includes Wildlife Safari Park, National Museum, Jos zoo, Assop Falls, Kurra Falls, Wase Rock, Pandam Game Reserve, Riyom Rock, Shere Hills and the Museum of traditional Nigeria Architecture.

While the state is blessed with numerous mineral resources, Tin is the most important in this area. By comparison the state has approximately the same population as Georgia.

Plateau has over 40 ethnic groups with the Berom, Hausa-Fulani, Afizere, Amo, Anaguta, Aten, Bogghom as the major ones. There are 17 LGAs in the state.

32. Rivers State – Port Harcourt (Treasure Base of the Nation)

Rivers State was named after the many water bodies present in the area. Rivers is a member of the Niger Delta States and the third-largest oil-producing state in Nigeria.

It is home to two major oil refineries as well as seaports. By comparison, the state has approximately the same population as Laos

The indigenes of the state also engage in farming food crops and cash crops. Fishing is also a major economic activity due to the presence of water bodies.

Rivers state has 23 LGAs and has the Ikwerre, Ibani, Opobo, Eleme, Okrika, Kalabari, Etche, Ogba, Ogoni, Engenni and Obolo as the major ethnic groups.

33. Sokoto State – Sokoto (Seat of the Caliphate)

The state was named after the defunct Sokoto Caliphate. Sokoto is the version of the Arabic word ‘suk’ meaning ‘market’ or ‘place of commerce’.

Sokoto state is at the extreme of northwestern Nigeria near the confluence of the River Sokoto and Rima. The state is the seat of the former caliphate and as such, Hausa Muslims dominate this area.

The state is the home to the spiritual leader of Nigerian Muslims; Sultan of Sokoto. The state is blessed with both agricultural as well as mineral resources.

The state is a major producer of maize, wheat, guinea corn, millet, beans, rice, sugarcane, tobacco, cotton, groundnut as well as livestock.

Minerals found in this state include limestone, gypsum, gold, salt, granite, clay, flipper, kaolin and marble. 23 LGAs are in the state. By comparison the state has approximately the same population as Liberia.

34. Taraba State – Jalingo (Nature’s Gift to the Nation)

By comparison the state has approximately the same population as Albania. Taraba is located in Northeastern Nigeria and has agriculture as the primary occupation of its people.

They are producers of cash crops like cotton, groundnut, tea and coffee as well as food crops like maize, millet, rice, sorghum, yam and cassava.

They also rear animals in commercial quantity mostly on the Mambilla Plateau and the Benue and Taraba Valley.

Taraba state got its name from the Taraba River. The state has some tourist attractions such as the Mambilla Tourist centre, the Gumpti Park and the Game reserve at Gashaka.

The ethnic groups here include the Jenjo, Jibawa, Kuteb, Chamba, Yandang, Mumuyes, Mambila, Wurkuma, Fulani, Jukun, Tiv, Kaka, Ichen, Hausa and Ndola. There are 16 LGAs in Taraba.

35. Yobe State – Damaturu (Pride of Sahel formerly The Young Shall Grow)

By comparison the state has approximately the same population as Mongolia.

Komadugu Yobe (Waube or Ouobe) or River Yobe (or River of Yo) inspired the name of the state.

Yobe state is a northeastern state and can be said to be an agricultural state as agriculture is its main economic activity.

Yobe state is a major producer of cotton, groundnut, beans, and gum Arabic amongst others. The largest cattle market in Nigeria is located in this state, Potiskum to be precise.

The Kanuris are the major ethnic group in the state. Others include Karai-karai, Hausa, Ngizim, Ngamo, Bade, Shuwa, Fulani, Bolewa, and Maga. This state is divided into 12 Local Government Areas.

36. Zamfara State – Gusau (Farming is Our Pride)

Zamfara state is a state of Nigeria located in the North-West geopolitical zone.

It is the first state to introduce sharia law in Nigeria and can be said to be an agricultural state. Zamfara state is a major producer of grains and cereals in Nigeria.

This state was named after Zamfarawa, one of the sub-dialects of the Eastern Hausa group.

The Hausa-Fulani are the Major ethnic groups in the state followed by the Bussawa, Kamuku, Bussawa, Kambari and Zabarma.

There are 14 LGAs in the state. By comparison the state has approximately the same population as New Zealand.

Federal Capital Territory – Abuja (Center of Unity)

Just as stated in the beginning of this article, the FCT is not a state but a territory under the Federal Government of Nigeria.

The FCT houses Abuja which is the capital city of Nigeria and this region is located in north-central Nigeria strategically at the center of the country.

By comparison the state has approximately the same population as Bosnia & Herzegovina.

It has Area Councils unlike the other 36 states of Nigeria that have Local Government Areas.

The area councils include Abaji, Abuja Municipal, Bwari, Gwagwalada, Kwali, and Kuje. The major tribes here include Gwari, Hausa, Fulani, Afo, Koro, Ganagana, Gwandara, and Bassa.

Quick Note About The First Capital of Nigeria

There have been some controversies regarding the first capital of Nigeria as some states have claimed to be the first capital of Nigeria.

Which states are that and why the claim? This article will cover that question.

It should be noted that Lagos was the first official capital of Nigeria since 1906 before the capital was moved to Abuja.

After Lagos served as the capital of Nigeria for many years, even after amalgamation and independence, religious and ethnic divisions caused the Nigerian government to begin searching for a capital that seemed neutral to all major ethnic parties and in close proximity to the regions of Nigeria.

Lagos was also becoming very overcrowded. Abuja, then Suleja, was chosen as Nigeria’s capital in the early 1970s as it signified national unity.

In 1991, after basic structures had been put in place, Abuja was declared as the capital of Nigeria.

Calabar, the capital city of Cross River state was originally named Akwa Akpa, in Efik, but was renamed during the Atlantic slave trade era.

The city is considered the first capital of Nigeria because it served as the first capital of the Southern Protectorate, the Oil River Protectorate, and Niger Coast Protectorate.

This was until the late nineteenth century when the administrative Centre of the Southern protectorate was moved to Lagos in 1906.

The area had some of the first interactions with Europeans as it was a major international seaport in the transportation of palm oil and African slaves.

It was named Calabar by the Spanish. On September 10, 1884, England signed a Treaty of Protection with the King and Chiefs of Akwa Akpa, known to Europeans as Old Calabar, taking control over the entire territory of Calabar.

Calabar as the first capital of Nigeria is however very controversial.

Asaba, the current capital of Delta state, is believed to have been where the British colonial masters started their administration.

It was also where the British Royal Niger Company preferred to hold its treaties before incorporation. The city was also considered the capital of Nigeria.

Lokoja, the current capital of Kogi state, was where the first Governor-general of Nigeria, Lord Frederick Lugard ruled from, after the Southern protectorates and Northern protectorates were amalgamated to form one Nigeria.

It was also where Lady Flora Shaw came up with the name Nigeria, and for that reason, Lokaja was in the list of cities considered to be the first capital of Nigeria.

Which Is The Oldest City In Nigeria

The largest city in the northern part of the country and the oldest area of Nigeria is all about the city of Kano.

The Oldest States In Nigeria

Deducing from the dates of creation of states in the country, Cross River, Lagos, Kaduna, Kano, Kwara, and Rivers states respectively are the oldest states in Nigeria.

These six states were all formed on the 27th of September, 1967.

The year 1967 was the beginning of state creation in Nigeria, and we have the above mentioned states coming to existence from then.

Oldest Kingdoms

The Kingdom of Benin, located in the southern forests of West Africa (modern Nigeria) and formed by the Edo people, flourished from the 13th to 19th century CE.

The capital, also called Benin, was the hub of a trade network exclusively controlled by the king or Oba and which included relations with Portuguese traders who sought gold and slaves.

The leopard was a symbol for the Oba as the animal was considered the ‘King of the Bush’ and only the king was permitted to kill one, typically done in an annual sacrifice by the king for his own honor.

The territory is a mix of rainforest, dry forest, and mangrove swamp. Formed in the 13th century as a state proper, the Kingdom of Benin was populated by the Kwa-speaking Edo people

Benin went into decline during the 18th century CE as the kingdom was racked by civil wars, and it was ultimately conquered by the British in 1897 CE.

Today, the kingdom is perhaps best known for its impressive brass sculptures and plaques which frequently depict rulers and their family; they are considered amongst the finest artworks ever produced in Africa.

The Kingdom of Ife flourished between the 11th and 15th century CE.

The kingdom produced many fine cast bronzes, especially expressive sculptures of human heads.

Ife had perhaps been influenced by the earlier Nok Culture (5th century BCE to 2nd century CE) and Igbo-Ukwu (at its zenith in the 9th century CE).

In Benin oral traditions, it was the king of Ife who sent a master craftsman southwards to Benin in the late 13th century CE to spread his sculptural skills, and this may reflect the historical movement of iron-working Yoruba peoples in the territory of the Edo in Benin. 

The Edo tradition also states that it was they who invited Prince Oranmiyan of Ife to rule them and it is his son, Eweka, who became the first king of Benin.

The Four Regions Before The Creation of States

Did you know how Nigeria got its present 36 states?

At the time of independence in 1960, Nigeria was a Federal State of three Regions: Northern, Western, and Eastern Regions.

The Western region which contains the present day Oyo, Ogun, Osun, Ondo and Lagos states respectively made up the Yoruba ethnic group and the people that spoke that language.

People here share the same but distinct Yoruba culture, traditions and beliefs.

The Eastern region, which was the Igbo division of the country as at then, had states like Imo, Anambra, Ebonyi, Abia and Enugu states were all included until they split in 1967.

This region was subdivided into the South-Eastern region and Southern region. The former had states, Akwa-Ibom and Cross River in its entity while the Southern Region was an integration of the Ijaws and Niger Delta tribes.

Northern region were mainly the Hausa speaking states that shared the same culture and beliefs.

Why the Hausas were so united was because they had one religion Islam and were associated with different tribes and ethnic groups like the Fulani, Tiv, and Kanuri that surround them.

In 1963, a new region, the Mid-Western Region, was created from the Western Region.

General Yakubu Gowon assumed power on 1 August 1966 in a coup that deposed General Johnson Aguiyi-Ironsi.

In May 1967 he reorganized the four regions in twelve states to weaken the Biafran people and appointed a military governor for each state.

From 1967 to 1970 the Eastern Region attempted to secede, as a nation called Biafra during the Nigerian civil war.

The Creation of States and Capital In Nigeria

Before the creation of all the 36 state and capital in Nigeria, the first Nigerian states created were twelve. They are:

North-Western State, North-central State, Kano State, North-Eastern State, Kwara, Benue-Plateau State, Western State, East-Central state, Lagos State, Mid-Western State, South-Eastern State, and Rivers State.

States and capital in Nigeria and their resources

After General Yakubu Gowon created these twelve new states, there was a need to add more due to reasons that the states were not able to contain different people with variable ethnic connotation.

Gowon who is on the list of all Nigerian Presidents since independence was deposed in a coup on 29 July 1975, replaced by General Murtala Muhammed.

On assuming office, he replaced the military governors of the twelve states that had been appointed by his predecessor.

On 13 February 1976 he was assassinated in an attempted coup and replaced by General Olusegun Obasanjo, who replaced most of his appointees.

The move of increasing the states to meet the demands of a nation was fulfilled on the part when General Murtala Mohammed created more states in 1976 and renamed some.

The states include Imo and Anambra states created from East Central State that was recognized by Gowon.

The North-Western state was divided into Niger and Sokoto states. Bauchi, Gongola, and Borno were formed from North Eastern state.

A division was also made in the North where Benue-Plateau was carved into the present Plateau and Benue state.

Also in the West, Ondo, Ogun, and Oyo states were created from the Old Western state. Other states created by the Murtala Muhammed regime were: Cross River former south-Eastern, the Old Bendel, and Kaduna state former North-Central.

Before all the 36 state and capital in Nigeria came to that total, some states were created out of some others.

Far back in 1987 Akwa-Ibom was created from Cross River state. This was carried out by General Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida as he differentiated the Ibibio speaking people from the Efik, Ekoi and others within the state to form present day Akwa-Ibom and Cross River states respectively. Also in 1987 Katsina state was created from old Kaduna state.

As it stands, the following 21 states were the states in Nigeria as at 1987.

They were: Niger, Sokoto, Kaduna, Kano, Bauchi, Gongola, Borno, Kwara, Benue, Plateau, Ondo, Ogun, Oyo Imo, Anambra Lagos, old Bendel, cross river, Akwa-Ibom, Katsina and Rivers State.

In 1991 seven more states (Abia, Enugu, Osun, Kogi, Jigawa, Kebbi and Yobe) were added to the list of state and capital, and the old Gongola is now known as Adamawa and Taraba States while the old Bendel is now known as Edo and Delta States.

During this period, there were 30 states and the Federal Capital Territory. The Federal Capital Territory was moved to Abuja in 1991.

Five years later in 1996, Nasarawa, Ebonyi, Ekiti, Gombe, Bayelsa, and Zamfara states were created by General Sani Abacha resulting in the present 36 states.

Power Distribution Within The States In Nigeria

A quick question is what’s the power distribution of all the 36 state and capital in Nigeria?

As sovereign entities, the States of Nigeria have the right to organize/structure their individual governments in any way within the parameters set by the Constitution of Nigeria.

  1. Legislature

At the State level, the legislature is unicameral, with the number of its members equal to three times the number of legislators it has in the Federal House of Representatives.

It has the power to legislate on matters on the concurrent list.

  1. Executive

At the State level, the head of the executive is called the Governor, who has the power to appoint people to the State Executive Council, subject to the advice and consent of the State House of Assembly (Legislature).

The head of a ministry at the State level is called a commissioner, who is assisted by a permanent secretary, who is also a senior civil servant of the State.

  1. Judiciary

The Judiciary is one of the co-equal arms of the State government concerned with the interpretation of the laws of the State government.

The Judiciary is headed by the Chief Justice of the State appointed by the governor subject to the approval of the State House of Assembly.

Summary of States And Capital In Nigeria

The creation of all the 36 state and capital in Nigeria occurred periodically, though not in a regular sequence.

The 36 states and their capital cities in parenthesis are as follow alphabetically:

Abia (Umuahia),  Adamawa (Yola), Akwa Ibom (Uyo), Anambra (Awka), Bauchi (Bauchi), Bayelsa (Yenagoa), Benue (Makurdi), Borno (Maiduguri), Cross River (Calabar), Delta (Asaba), Ebonyi (Abakaliki), Edo (Benin City), Ekiti (Ado-Ekiti), Enugu (Enugu), Gombe (Gombe), Imo (Owerri), Jigawa (Dutse), Kaduna (Kaduna), Kano (Kano), Katsina (Katsina), Kebbi (Birnin Kebbi), Kogi (Lokoja), Kwara (Ilorin), Lagos (Ikeja), Nasarawa (Lafia), Niger (Minna), Ogun (Abeokuta), Ondo (Akure), Osun (Osogbo), Oyo (Ibadan), Plateau (Jos), Rivers (Port Harcourt), Sokoto (Sokoto), Taraba (Jalingo), Yobe (Damaturu), Zamfara (Guasau). Abuja has been the capital of Nigeria since 1991, but prior to that, there have been other official and unofficial capitals.

No doubt, each of the states do exhibit the features crafted in the motto. So, tell us which state you’re from if you’re a Nigerian.

Do use the comment box below and don’t forget to share this post.

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