Cross River is a state in Nigeria, with administrative capital in the city of Calabar. Cross River State falls within the south-south geopolitical zone of Nigeria alongside Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Delta, Edo and Rivers States. Cross River State is also part of the Niger Delta region, an agglomeration of mostly crude oil-producing southern Nigerian states that also include Abia, Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Delta, Edo, Imo, Ondo and Rivers States.
Cross River State is located some 560.2 km south of Abuja, Nigeria’s capital. Cross River State is bounded to the north by Benue State, to the east by the Republic of Cameroon, to the south by the Atlantic Ocean, and to the west by Akwa Ibom, Abia and Ebonyi States.
Cross River State sits on an area of 20,156 km², making it the biggest state by area of all the six states in the south-south geopolitical zone of Nigeria. Cross River State has 18 out of the 774 local government areas that alongside the 36 states form the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Cross River State is a multi-ethnic state. The Efik ethnic group comes out with the highest number of all the ethnic groups in Cross River State.
The History Of Cross River State
Cross River State was created on May 27, 1967 by the regime of General Yakubu Gowon. The state was created following the dissolution of the three regions of Nigeria and the introduction of a twelve state, federal structure. Cross River State was known as the South-East State at the time of its creation.
Cross River State before Nigeria’s Independence in 1960 was part of the Protectorate of Southern Nigeria, which was formerly merged with the South Eastern Province of Cameroon.
At Nigeria’s independence in 1960, the area now known as Cross 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 JTU 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 Cross River 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 unitary, 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. The South-East State, which is the original name of the state now known as the Cross State, was one of these three states.
In 1976, the regime of General Murtala Ramat Mohammed embarked on another state creation round. The South-East State was not touched. However, the name was changed to Cross River State.
In September 1987, present day Akwa Ibom State was excised from Cross River State by the regime of General Ibrahim Babangida.
The Bakassi region, a peninsula on the Gulf of Guinea was also excised from the state and transferred to the Republic of Cameroon on 14 August 2008 following a judgement by the International Court of Justice. This development left Cross River State as presently constituted.
The Cross River, the river after which the state is named, rises from the Cameroon Mountains and flows southward, forming much of the state’s western border.
Uduokaha Esuene is the first military governor of Cross River State, while Clement Isong is the first civilian governor.
The Government Of Cross River State
The Cross River 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 Cross River State government is headed by an elected governor assisted by commissioners who the governor appoints to head the various ministries of the state government. The current governor of Cross River State is Benedict Ayade.
The legislative arm of the Cross State Government which convenes at the Cross State House of Assembly in Calabar is made up of 25 members elected by the people of the 25 state constituencies of Cross River State. The Cross River State House of Assembly is headed by a speaker who is the legislative head of the state government. The current speaker of the Cross River State House of Assembly is John Gaul Lebo.
The judicial arm of the Cross River State Government is headed by the Cross River State Chief Judge. The current Chief Judge of Cross River State is Justice Michael Edem.
Zones In Cross River State
Cross River state has a total of 18 local government areas grouped into 3 zones that are otherwise known as senatorial districts. The 3 senatorial districts of Cross River state are:
- Cross River North
- Cross River Central
- Cross River South
Cross River North senatorial district has 6 local government areas. The 6 local government areas that make up Cross River North senatorial district are:
Cross River Central senatorial district has 6 local government areas. The 6 local government areas of Cross River Central senatorial district are:
Cross River South senatorial district has 6 local government areas. The 6 local government areas of Cross River South senatorial district are:
- Calabar Municipal
- Calabar South
The Population Of Cross River State
The widely disputed result of the 2006 national population and housing census put the population of Cross River State at 2,892,988, with 1,471,967 males and 1,421,021 females.