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The Glory of All Lands
Quick Fact
Population: 1,704,515 (2006 census figures) - 36th of 37
Percentage of Nigeria's total population: 1.21%
Population density: 181 people per square kilometres - 18th of 37
Landmass: 9,415.8 square kilometres - 27th of 37
State capital: Yenagoa
Local Government Areas: 8
Current Governor: Douye Diri


Bayelsa is one of the six states that make up Nigeria's South South geopolitical zone. It has interstate boundaries with Rivers State to the west and northwest and Delta State to the east and southeast. The Gulf of Guinea lies to its south. Its capital is Yenagoa.

Land Mass, Location and Population
Bayelsa State covers an area of 9,415.8 square kilometres. It lies at latitude 4°45' north and longitude 6°05' east. It has a population of 1,704,515 (2006 census figures) with a population density of 158 people per square kilometre. It accounts for 1.2% of Nigeria's total population.

Main Cities and Towns
Yenagoa (capital city), Amassoma, Brass, Ekeremor, Kaiama, Nembe, Odi, Ogbia, Oporama, Otuoke and Sagbama.

Image Source:cometonigeria

History and People

The early settlers of Bayelsa State were the Ijaw people. The state derives its name from acronym of three of its main local government areas - Brass (BALGA), Yenagoa (YELGA) and Sagbama (SALGA).Bayelsa State was originally part of the Eastern Region in the three-region structure of 1954. In 1967, with the creation of twelve federal states by General Yakubu Gowon's military government, it became part of Rivers State. In 1996, the military government of General Sani Abacha carved out a portion of Rivers State to create Bayelsa State.

The main ethnic groups in Bayelsa State are the Ijaw, Kolokunu, Ekpetiama, Igbriran, Atissa and Biseni. There are ten languages spoken in the state; of these, Izon, Nembe, Ogbia and Epie-Atissa are the most predominant. The dominant religion in Bayelsa State is Christianity, although some traditional religion is practised.

Economy and Educations

Bayelsa State is predominantly tropical rainforest and mangrove swamps. Fishing is a major economic activity. Agriculture is important; yams, cassava, plantains, oil palms and bananas are the main crops grown. The state's inhabitants also participate in palm oil milling, lumbering, palm wine tapping, local gin making, trading, carving and weaving.

The most important mineral in Bayelsa State is petroleum, which contributes about 40 percent of Nigeria's oil and gas production. Other minerals include natural gas, clay and industrial sand. The oil and gas industry is the state's major economic activity. The LNG gas supply plant is located in Bayelsa. The Kolo Creek Gas Turbine Project owned by the state government supplies electricity to Yenagoa and surrounding towns and villages.

The tertiary institutions in the state include a federal university (Federal University, Otuoke); a state university (Niger Delta University, Amassoma); one private polytechnic (the Niger Delta City Polytechnic, Ogbia); one federal polytechnic (the Federal Polytechnic of Technology, Ekowe); the Bayelsa State College of Art and Science, Agudama-Epie; and the Bayelsa State College of Health Technology, Ogbia.

Further Description

Governors and Administrators:

  • Phillip Ayeni (Administrator - Military): October 1996 - February 1997
  • Habu Daura (Administrator - Military): February 1997 - June 1997
  • Omoniyi Caleb Olubolade (Administrator - Military): June 1997 - July 1998
  • Paul Obi (Administrator - Military): July 1998 - May 1999
  • Diepreye Alamieyeseigha (Governor - Civilian (People's Democratic Party)): May 1999 - December 2005
  • Goodluck Jonathan (Governor - Civilian (People's Democratic Party)): December 2005 - May 2007
  • Timipre Sylva (Governor - Civilian (People's Democratic Party)): May 2007 - April 2008
  • Werinipre Seibarugo (Acting Governor - Civilian): April 2008 - May 2008
  • Timipre Sylva (Governor - Civilian (People's Democratic Party)): May 2008 - January 2012
  • Nestor Binabo (Acting Governor - Civilian (People's Democratic Party)): January 2012 - February 2012
  • Henry Seriake Dickson (Governor - Civilian (People's Democratic Party)): February 2012 - February 2020
  • Douye Diri (Governor - Civilian (People's Democratic Party)): February 2020 - Present

Local Government Areas:

  • Brass
  • Ekeremor
  • Kolokuma/Opkuma
  • Nembe
  • Ogbia
  • Sagbama
  • Southern-Ijaw
  • Yenagoa

Notable Indigene

Goodluck Ebele Jonathan is the fourteenth Head of State of Nigeria and the first individual from the South South geopolitical zone to be elected to the position.

Did You Know

Oloibiri in the Ogbia LGA is the site of the first oil well drilled in Nigeria (in 1956).