Abia State, which occupies about 5,834 square kilometers, is bounded on the north and northeast by the states of Anambra, Enugu, and Ebonyi. To the west of Abia is Imo State, to the east and southeast are Cross River State and Akwa Ibom State, and to the south is Rivers State. The southern part of the State lies within the riverine part of Nigeria. It is low-lying with a heavy rainfall of about 2400 mm/year especially intense between the months of April through October. The rest of the State is moderately high plain. The most important rivers in Abia State are the Imo and Aba Rivers which flow into the Atlantic Ocean through the Niger Delta.
Infrastructure and economy
Crude oil and gas production is a prominent activity, as it contributes to 39% of the GDP. Representing 27% of the GDP, agriculture, which employs 70% of the state workforce, is the second economic sector of Abia. With its adequate seasonal rainfall, Abia has much arable land that produces yams, maize, potatoes, rice, cashews, plantains, and cassava. Abia also has large crude oil deposits. The manufacturing sector only accounts for 2% of the GDP.
University and Colleges
There are two universities in the state: the federally owned Michael Okpara University of Agriculture at Umudike and the state-owned Abia State University in Uturu. There are two tertiary hospitals, the Federal Medical Center in Umuahia and the Abia State University Teaching Hospital in Aba, which serve as referral hospitals in the state. The Abia State Polytechnic is also in the city of Aba. Abia is one of the more peaceful states of Nigeria and has been a “haven” for foreign investors. The state’s population has grown rapidly since its creation.
The nearest airport to Abia state is Sam Mbakwe Cargo Airport (Owerri Airport), an hour’s drive to Aba; and Port Harcourt International Airport (airport code: PHC), 2 hours to Aba and about three hours to Umuahia. The state, as most of the Southern states of Nigeria, is affected by armed robbery. The security forces are usually ineffective, and are usually found on extorting money from drivers on main routes. The part bounding troubled Rivers State is more secured thanks to a military presence
History and population
Abia State was carved out of the former Imo State in 1991. The name “Abia” is an abbreviation of four of the state’s densely populated regions Aba, Bende, Isuikwuato, and Afikpo. It is one of the thirty-six (36) States that constitute the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Abia people are of the Igbo ethnic group who predominates much of the Southeastern part of Nigeria. Their traditional language is Igbo. English is widely spoken and serves as the official language in governance and business. Globally, Igbos are well travelled. Abia’s 2.4mm people are mainly Christians and entrepreneurial. They are known and reputed to be industrious, highly market oriented, very hospitable and accommodating, probably due to their migratory nature.
The State Government is led by a democratically-elected executive Governor who works closely with an elected State House Assembly. The capital city is Umuahia. There are Seventeen (17) local government areas (LGAs).
In 1999 Nigeria became a democracy, and Orji Uzor Kalu contested on the platform of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and won the Governorship election in Abia State. Consequently he was sworn-in on 29 May 1999. In 2003, when it was time for fresh elections, Kalu re-contested on the platform of the PDP and got a second mandate to govern. (The Constitution of Nigeria limits Governors to two terms in office.) Theodore Orji (PPA) defeated Onyema Ugochukwu (PDP) in the 2007 general elections to become Abia’s next Governor.
Local Government Areas
Abia State has 17 local government areas (LGAs). They are: