Akwa Ibom State profile
  • Current Governor: Udom Gabriel Emmanuel
  • Capital: Uyo
  • Slogan: Land of promise
  • Official Website: www.akwaibomstate.gov.ng
  • Major Towns: Eket, Ikot Epene, Uyo

Akwa Ibom History

Akwa Ibom State which is one of the 36 States in Nigeria was created on the 23rd of September 1987 by the then Military Administration of General Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida. 

The creation of the State brought to fruition years of prolonged struggle by the people that occupied the mainland part of the former Cross River State.

For many, the creation of the State was a mark of justice, having been left out in earlier state creation exercises despite leading in the struggle for state creation in Nigeria, through the Ibibio Union, – a foremost Socio-Cultural organization that served as a unifying platform for the people of this part of Nigeria. 

In 1948, Ibibio Union, formed in 1928, transformed from a mere cultural association to a goal-driven institution that promoted and championed the cause of state creation in Nigeria.

In 1967, the 12 state structure was established following the creation of states by the General Yakubu Gowon administration, the Mainland part of Calabar Province in the then Eastern Nigeria was merely part of the then South Eastern State.

In 1976, South Eastern State was renamed Cross River State.

This change in name did not satisfy the people. Rather, it encouraged them to carry on with the struggle for a state of their own.

After the collapse of the 2nd Republic in 1983, a memorandum demanding the creation of Akwa Ibom State was submitted to the General Buhari Administration by the Paramount Rulers from the 10 Local Government areas that made up the mainland part of the then Cross River State, even though it did not yield the desired result.

Undaunted, the people waited for another opportunity. 

The opportunity came when, in 1986, the Administration of General Ibrahim Babangida set up a political Bureau to define the future political direction of the country. The memorandum was re-submitted.

On September 23, 1987, the collective dream of the people was actualized as Akwa Ibom State, the “Land of Promise” was finally created, after about four decades of sustained agitation.

Related: Abia State Profile – Interesting Things to Know

Cultural Practices and Traditions:

Many historians have often described Akwa Ibom as a state with homogeneity of culture, indicating the common existence of the people.

Although there are slightly different folkways practiced by the people, the basic cultural norms are the same.

This implies that the people have a common ancestry, and perhaps a common history as well.

The commonality of the people can further be seen glaringly in their cuisines, beliefs, dressing, dances, myths, folklore, and songs.

These distinctive ways of life of the people define who they are, and where they came from.

They also provide exhilarating experiences to tourists and visitors to the state who stream in to savor the refreshing rich cultural practices available in the three major tribes in the state: Ibibio, Annang, and Oro.

Culture

Akwa Ibom is often described as a uni-cultural State where norms, taboos, customs, and traditions are the same.

The folkways may vary from one ethnic grouping to another, but the operational cultural norms are basically the same all over the State. 

The cultural similarities bind the people together especially in such areas as cuisines, dressing, dances, songs, rituals, folklore, beliefs, and myths.

Almost all aspects of its culture have the potentials to provide fascinating experiences for tourists and for investment opportunities.

Related: Osun State Profile – Interesting Things To Know

Special Dances

  • Asian Ubo Ikpa

Asian Uboikpa means the proud and flamboyant maiden.

This dance is performed by maidens between the age of 18 years and 25 years who have successfully gone through the ‘Mbopo’ institution.

Mbopo is the period a girl is confined, fattened, and drilled on all aspects of home management in preparation for marriage.

It is common in almost all the hinterland of the State.

Performed by maidens at their prime, Asian Uboikpa, therefore, is in its visual appeal and celebrates and affirms the youthful innocence and purity in their beauty, while showcasing the popular admonition among the Akwa Ibom people that chastity once lost is lost forever.

  • Oko

Oko is the male dance that is likened to the war dance because of its ferocious displays.

The climax of this dance starts when the dancers start slashing at one another with razor-sharp machetes and firing at themselves with live bullets from Dane guns.

But mysteriously, not a drop of blood is shed as the machetes cannot penetrate the skin of the dancers, or the bullets hurt any of the members of what is obviously a secret society.

  • Nkerebe

Nkerebe (looking for husband) is another women’s dance, performed once a year when young girls at the age of puberty prepare to perform the Mboppo ceremony.

  • Asian Mbre Iban

Asian Mbre Iban are dances performed by maidens who wish to inform unmarried men of the community how beautiful and eligible they are.

Other women dances include Akan, Asamba, and Uwok which are performed in the villages occasionally.

  • Ndok Ufok Ebe

The Ndok Ufok Ebe (shame of a bad marriage) is other women dance to express their grievances over the maltreatment of women by their husbands.

The dance is performed once a year. It is accompanied by songs telling the community about their plight, often, it involves going topless to the marketplace.

  • Ebre

There is also the Ebre society women dance performed yearly during harvesting of new yam.

During this occasion, women dance to the marketplace and neighboring villages.

The dance is not only meant to entertain but as well as a deliberate protest against what is regarded as male chauvinism, which is reflected in the vulgarity of some of the song texts.

Main Economic Activities

The main economic activities of the people are fishing (for riverine and coastal dwellers), farming (mostly for upland dwellers), trading, partisanship, and white-collar services. 

A robust public sector employs a significant proportion of the State labor force.

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Akwa Ibom State Map

Akwa Ibom State Map
Akwa Ibom State Map

Chronological list of democratically elected governors of Akwa Ibom State

  • Tunde Ogbeha (Sept 28, 1987  – Aug. 1, 1988)
  • Godwin Abbe (Aug. 1, 1988 – Sept. 9, 1990)
  • Idongesit Nkanga  (September 5, 1990 – Jan. 2, 1992)
  • Akpan Isemin (Late)  (January 2, 1992 – Nov. 17, 1993)
  • Yakubu Bako (Dec. 15, 1993 – Aug. 21, 1996)
  • Joseph A. Adeusi (Late)(Aug. 21, 1996 – Aug. 10, 1998)
  • Eyepeiyah John Ebiye(Aug. 10, 1998 – May 29, 1999)
  • Victor Attah (May 29, 1999 – May 29, 2007)
  • Godswill O. Akpabio (May 29, 2007 – May 29, 2015)
  • Udom Gabriel Emmanuel (29 May 2015 – till date)

Fun fact about Akwa Ibom state

  • Akwa Ibom is credited with a resident population of about 5 million, it is also reputed to have about 10 million persons indigenous to it in the Diaspora.
  • The weather condition in Akwa Ibom is favourable to the cultivation and extraction of agricultural and forest products such as palm produce, rubber, cocoa, rice, cassava, yam, plantain, banana, maize, and timber.
  • Akwa Ibom state is one of the top three producers of crude oil in Nigeria.
  • Apart from crude oil, Akwa Ibom is blessed with other natural resources such as limestone, clay, natural gas, salt, coal, giver nitrate, and glass sand.
  • The Qua Iboe river which Akwa Ibom state is named after originates from the Umuahia Hills in Abia State and travels for about 150 km before it flows N-S and then empties into the Atlantic Ocean through Eket, Ibeno LGA of Akwa Ibom State.
  • Qua Iboe was also the site of Qua Iboe Mission, the third Protestant Church to arrive Nigeria in 1887.
  • When it was formed, Akwa Ibom state had just ten Local Government Areas (LGAs), but the number has since risen to thirty-one.
  • All the inhabitants of the state understand the Ibibio language of which there are many dialects.

Akwa Ibom state Profile (Conclusion)

That’s all on the Akwa Ibom state profile. 

Amidst the growing insecurity situation in the country, Akwa Ibom is arguably the safest place in the country today.

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