Edo State is one of the six states that make up the South South geopolitical zone of Nigeria. It is bounded to the south and southeast by Delta State, to the north and northeast by Kogi State and to the west by Ondo State. Its capital is Benin.
Land Mass, Location and Population
Edo State covers an area of 19,819.3 square kilometres. It lies at latitude 6°30′ north and longitude 6°00′ east. It has a population of 3,233,366 (2006 census figures) and a population density of 184 people per square kilometre. The state accounts for 2.3% of Nigeria’s total population.
Main Cities and Towns
Benin (capital city), Afuze, Auchi, Ekpoma, Sabongida Ora, Ubiaja and Uromi
Image Source: artzitblog
History and People
The early settlers of Edo State were the Igodomigodo people (Edo or Bini-speaking groups), who founded the Benin Empire. The Edo civilisation is thought to date back approximately 6000 years. Under the three-region structure of 1954, Edo State was part of the Western Region. In 1967 with the creation of twelve federal states by General Yakubu Gowon’s military government, it became part of Mid-West State, which was renamed Bendel State in 1976 by the military government of General Murtala Muhammed. In 1991, General Ibrahim Babangida’s military government brought the number of states to twenty-seven and Bendel State was divided into Edo and Delta states.
The main ethnic groups in Edo State are the Edo (Bini), Esan, Afemai, Akoko Edo, Igala and Owan. There are seventeen languages that are spoken in the state; the major ones are Edo, Ebira, Esan and Okpamheri. Christianity and Islam are the main religions in Edo State, although a fair amount of traditional religion is practised.
Economy and Educations
The agricultural resources in Edo State consist of food and forestry products and livestock. The main food crops cultivated include yam, cassava, maize and rice in the Benin lowlands and on the Esan plateau. Rice is cultivated at Agenebode and Illushi on the flood plains of the River Niger. The principal minerals found in the state are gold, gypsum, limestone, marble, kaolin, granite, industrial sand and bentonite. The major industries in the state are breweries, wood processing, soft-drink bottling and cement manufacturing. Locally made wood and metal sculptures are also of commercial and cultural importance.
The tertiary institutions in the state include a federal university (University of Benin), a state university (Ambrose Alli University, Ekpoma), a federal polytechnic (Federal Polytechnic, Auchi), a college of education at Ekhiadolor, Benin, a state college of agriculture in Iguariakhi, the Institute of Continuing Education in Benin City and the Institute of Physical Education in Afuze.
The state is also home to four private institutions: Igbinedion University, Okada; College of Medicine Ujoelen, Ekpoma, Benson Idahosa University, Benin and a private polytechnic (Shaka Polytechnic, Benin).
Governors and Administrators:
- John Ewerekumoh Yeri (Governor – Military): August 1990 – January 1992
- John E.K. Odigie Oyegun (Governor – Civilian (Social Democratic Party)): January 1992 – November 1993
- Mohammed Abul-Salam Onuka (Administrator – Military): December 1993 – September 1994
- Bassey Asuquo (Administrator – Military): September 1994 – August 1996
- Baba Adamu Iyam (Administrator—Military): August 1996 – August 1998
- Anthony Onyearugbulem (Administrator – Military): August 1998 – May 1999
- Lucky Igbinedion (Governor – Civilian (People’s Democratic Party)): May 1999 – May 2007
- Oserheimen Osunbor (Governor – Civilian (People’s Democratic Party)): May 2007 – May 2008
- Adams Aliu Oshiomhole (Governor – Civilian (Action Congress of Nigeria)): May 2008 – November 2016
- Godwin Nogheghase Obaseki (Governor – Civilian (Action Congress of Nigeria)): November 2016 – Present
Local Government Areas:
Victor Uwaifo, with his 1966 song "Joromi", was the first African to have a record declared gold.
Did You Know
Benin City (the capital of Edo State was originally known as Igodomigodo and was founded around 400BC.