Bayelsa is a state in Nigeria, with administrative capital in the city of Yenagoa. Bayelsa State falls within the south-south geopolitical zone of Nigeria alongside Akwa Ibom, Cross River, Delta, Edo and Rivers States. Bayelsa State is also part of the Niger Delta region, an agglomeration of mostly crude oil-rich coastal southern Nigerian states that also include Abia, Akwa Ibom, Cross River, Delta, Edo, Imo, Ondo and Rivers States.
Bayelsa State derives its name from acronym of three of its main local government areas, namely: Brass local government area (or BALGA), Yenagoa local government area (or YELGA) and Sagbama local government area (or SALGA).
Bayelsa State is located some 496 km south of Nigeria’s capital city of Abuja, and is bounded to the north by Delta State, to the east by Rivers State, and to the south and west by the Gulf of Guinea.
Bayelsa State sits on an area of 10,773 km². The largely riverine state has within its borders 8 out of the 774 local government areas that, alongside the 36 states, form the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Bayelsa State is predominantly inhabited by the Ijaw ethnic group. Clans of the Ijaw ethnic group in Bayelsa State include the Ogbia, the Kolokuma and the Epie Atissa.
The History Of Bayelsa State
Bayelsa State was created in 1996 by the regime of General Sani Abacha. The state was carved out of old Rivers State.
At Nigeria’s independence in 1960, the area now known as Bayelsa State was part of the Eastern Region, which existed as one of the three regions of Nigeria until 1963, and as one of the four regions of Nigeria from 1963 till 1966
The regime of Major General Johnson Thomas Umunnakwe Aguiyi Ironsi, which came to power via coup in 1966 dissolved the regional system and replaced it with a unitary, provincial system. The four regions became four provinces. The area now known as Bayelsa State was in the Eastern Province.
In 1967, a counter coup brought to power the regime of General Yakubu Gowon. The new regime quickly dissolved the provincial system put in place by the previous regime and replaced it with a twelve state federal structure. Out of the twelve states created by the Gowon regime, three were created out of the Eastern Province. River State, which the area now known as Bayelsa State was part of, was one of these three states.
River State was not touched at successive state creation rounds embarked on by successive regimes in 1976, 1987 and 1991.
In 1993 however, when General Sani Abacha came to power, there was no end in sight for the agitations for the creation of more states. In 1996, following the recommendations of the National Constitutional Conference on the need to create more states, the regime created six more states. One of these states was carved out of the western half of River State. The state is Bayelsa State.
Phillip Ayeni is the first military governor of Bayelsa State, while Diepreye Alamieyeseigha is the first elected governor.
The Government Of Bayelsa State
The Bayelsa 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 Bayelsa State government is headed by an elected governor who can appoint commissioners as heads of the various ministries of the state government. The current governor of Bayelsa State is Seriake Henry Dickson.
The legislative arm of the Bayelsa State Government, otherwise know as the Bayelsa State House of Assembly is made up of 24 members elected by the people of the 24 state constituencies of Bayelsa State. The Bayelsa State House of Assembly is headed by a speaker who is thus the legislative head of the state government. The current speaker of the Bayelsa State House of Assembly is Friday K. Benson.
The judicial arm of the Bayelsa State Government is headed by the Bayelsa State’s chief judge. The current chief judge of Bayelsa State is Justice Kate Abiri.
Zones In Bayelsa State
Bayelsa state has a total of 8 local government areas grouped into 3 zones which are otherwise known as senatorial districts. The 3 senatorial districts of Bayelsa state are:
- Bayelsa East
- Bayelsa Central
- Bayelsa West
Bayelsa East senatorial district has 3 local government areas. The 3 local government areas of Bayelsa East senatorial district are:
Bayelsa Central senatorial district has 3 local government areas. The 3 local government areas of Bayelsa Central senatorial district are:
- Southern Ijaw
Bayelsa West senatorial district has 2 local government areas. The 2 local government areas of Bayelsa West senatorial district are:
The Population Of Bayelsa State
Bayelsa state has a population of 1,704,515 as at the 2006 national population census, with 874,083 males and 830,432 females and a population density of 158 people per square kilometre. Bayelsa State thus accounts for 1.2% of Nigeria’s total population.
The Culture Of Bayelsa State
Languages Spoken In Bayelsa State
There are ten languages spoken in Bayelsa state. The most dominant are: