Abia is a state in Nigeria, with administrative capital in the city of Umuahia. Abia State falls within the south-east geopolitical zone of Nigeria alongside Anambra, Ebonyi, Enugu and Imo States. Abia State is also part of the Niger Delta region, an agglomeration of mostly oil-rich coastal southern Nigerian states that also include Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Cross River, Delta, Edo, Imo, Ondo and Rivers States.
Abia State is located at around 613 km south of Nigeria’s capital city of Abuja, and is bounded to the north by Ebonyi and Enugu States, to the east by Cross River and Akwa Ibom States, to the south by Rivers State, and to the west by Imo State.
Abia State has an area of 6,320 km², making it one of the smallest states by area in Nigeria. Abia State has within its borders 17 out of the 774 local government areas that alongside the 36 States form the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Abia State is predominantly inhabited by people of the Igbo ethnic group, with clans like the Ngwas and the Aros being some of the most prominent.
The History Of Abia State
Abia State was created on 27th August 1991 by the regime of General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida. The state was carved out of old Imo State.
At Nigeria’s independence in 1960, Abia State was part of the Eastern Region, which was one of the three regions of Nigeria till 1963, and one of the four regions from 1963 to 1966.
The regime of Major General Johnson Thomas Umunnakwe Aguiyi Ironsi, which was enthroned in 1966 by a coup dissolved the regional system and replaced it with a provincial system. The four regions became four provinces. The area now known as Abia State was in the Eastern Province.
In 1967, a counter coup led to the enthronement of the regime of General Yakubu Gowon. The new regime quickly dissolved the provincial system instituted by the previous regime and replaced it with a twelve state structure. The area now known as Abia State was in the East-Central State, which was one of the twelve states created by General Gowon’s regime.
On 3rd February, 1976, East Central State was split into two states by the Federal Military Government headed by General Murtala Ramat Mohammed. These two states were Imo State and Anambra State. The area now known as Abia State was part of then Imo State.
On 27th August, 1991, the Federal Military Government under General lbrahim Babangida carved out Abia State from Imo State, bringing to thirty the number of states in Nigeria. Umuahia was made the capital of the newly-created Abia State
Furthermore, in October, 1996, the Federal Military Government under General Sani Abacha created six more states bringing to thirty-six the number of states in the federation. During this exercise, four local government areas (LGAs) namely, Onicha, Ohaozara, Afikpo North and Afikpo South, which occupy the northeastern corner of the state, were transferred to the (newly created) Ebonyi State. The development left Abia State with seventeen Local Government Areas, and that has remained the structure of the south-eastern state till date.
The name “Abia” is an acronym formed from four of Abia state’s densely populated regions at its creation in 1991. These regions are Aba, Bende, Isuikwuato, and Afikpo. All of the four regions have remained in present day Abia State, except Afikpo which was excised at the creation of Ebonyi State in 1996.
The Government Of Abia State
The Abia State Government, like every other state government in Nigeria is made up of three arms: the executive arm, the legislative arm and the judicial arm. The executive arm of the Abia State government is headed by an elected governor assisted by commissioners who he or she appoints to head the various ministries of the state government. The current executive governor of Abia State is Okezie Victor Ikpeazu.
The legislative arm of the Abia State Government which sits at the Abia State House of Assembly is made up of 24 members elected by the people of the 24 state constituencies of Abia State. The Abia State House of Assembly is headed by a speaker who is the legislative head of the state government. The current speaker of the Abia State House of Assembly is Chikwendu Kalu.
The judicial arm of the Abia State Government is headed by the Abia State’s chief judge. The current chief judge of Abia State is Justice Theresa Uzokwe.
Zones In Abia State
Abia state has a total of 17 local government areas found in 3 zones, otherwise known as senatorial districts. The 3 senatorial zones of Abia state are:
- Abia Central
- Abia North
- Abia South
Abia Central senatorial zone of Abia state has 5 local government areas. The 5 local government areas of Abia Central senatorial district are:
- Isiala Ngwa North
- Isiala Ngwa South
- Umuahia North
- Umuahia South
Abia North senatorial district has 5 local government areas. The 5 local government areas of Abia North senatorial district are:
Abia South senatorial district has 7 local government areas. The 7 local government areas of Abia South senatorial district are:
- Aba North
- Aba South
- Obi Ngwa
- Ukwa East
- Ukwa West
- Osisioma Ngwa
The Population Of Abia State
The widely disputed result of the 2006 national population census put the population of Abia State at 2,845,380, with 1,430,298 females and 1,415,082 females.