Nigeria: Ogoja State

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Ushonye Ayim, 7 August 2011


Today, Nigeria has a 36- State structure; however expectations are high as to the possible creation of more States.

The challenge of creating a State out of the Old Ogoja Province has been of great concern to the entire populace of the said extraction. The struggle has been there for quite a long time. And this has made the Ogoja man ‘The Last Man Standing Man Standing’ without a seat of his own State.

Somehow hopes and expectations were dying since the lay public is tied to the erroneous belief that States could only be created by the military. A good number of social analysts have taken the pains to set those with such mindset free from such devastating superstition. Some of these poorly informed crop of the masses even upon clarification still think under civil rule States cannot evolve. They do argue still, pointing out that the exercise under civil rule is terribly demanding, cumbersome and outrageously extravagant. They maintain that the executive fiat of military rule could solve all these in split seconds. These set of people tend to tempt democracy. Was the defunct Mid-West State not a creation of civil rule? The First Republic created it. So, those who are in doubt should be warned and guided.

Upon amalgamation, Lord Fredrick Lugard as Governor-General, created a 24-Province structure to ease the administrative network of the colony of Nigeria. This administrative network gave way to the 12-State structure under Gen. Yakubu Gowon, which later grew into a 19-State structure following the report of the ‘Irikefe Commission’ in 1975, to the Murtala Mohammed Military Administration. However, in 1987, Nigeria got its first set of siamese twins. The midwife was the Babangida Military Administration. These two additional States were the Akwa Ibom and Katsina States. Today, Nigeria has a 36-State structure. However, expectations are high as to the possible creation of more States.

From the foregoing, one will realize that Ogoja Province is the only old Province that has not transmogrified into a State. And as earlier stated, Ogoja is ‘The Last Man Standing’. Some Provinces have witnessed the birth of two States and even more. This is the crux of the matter and basis for the demand for the ‘great Ogoja State’. For instance, Rivers Province comfortably gave birth to Rivers and Bayelsa States. Owerri Province has witnessed the birth of Imo and Abia States. I understand there is an agitation for Aba State in the current agitation for States creation. If created, that brings the number to 3 States from the Old Owerri Province.

In the far North, has Sokoto Province not given birth to SOkoto and Zamfara States/ in the North still, has Bauchi Province not given rise to Gombe and Bauchi States? And in the West, Oyo Province has evolved into Osun and Oyo States. In the Mid-West, Delta Province which was buried in old Bendel and later raised to a State in 1991, the rumour mill insist that it is still asking for a new State.

So, why has Ogoja Province been buried in Cross River State for so long. Where in Nigeria could one travel 6 hours to the State Capital? It is only the ‘Ogoja Man’ who travels that far within the same State, wasting productive hours on a dilapidated road to Calabar. We have to unearth the mystery surrounding this stagnation and seek the way forward. Sincerely, the old Ogoja Province deserves a Siamese evolving out of it. Yes, other Provinces got 2 States. The fact remains that, it is only pertinent that Ogoja Province should evolve into a State of its own.

Each time States were created, it was always believed that Ogoja State will be part of such exercise, but until now, Ogoja remains the Ogoja we use to know, some 60 years ago.

Abakaliki and Afrikpo Divisions, which were part of Ogoja Province, now has a State of their own, Ebonyi State, while Ogoja which was left with 4 Divisions – Ogoja, Ikom, Obubra and Obudu (now split into 11 Local Government Areas) out of which 9 L.G.As are currently in the agitation for ‘Ogoja State’ out of Cross River, yet had not gotten a State at States creation exercises of the past.

Looking back to the issue of States creation, you will see that in the 50s, when various groups were asking for States, Ogoja, Calabar and Rivers, together asked for a Calabar-Ogoja-Rivers State (COR State) to be split from the former Eastern Nigeria. What we are asking now is to split Ogoja from Calabar (Cross River), so that we can realize our aspiration.

Let the organs responsible for restructuring Nigeria look into the sad way the people of Ogoja have been treated and see that Ogoja State be added to their recommendation when States creation is considered in Nigeria.

Ushonye Ayim 10, Ishong Ayim Street, Ishiborr, Ogoja, Nigeria.


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  1. ojix ekhe

    Am in support for the creation of Ogoja state. The agitation is long overdue. As the National Assembly sets up committee on constitutional review with state creation on top. Ogoja state should be considered.

  2. Ntulma Robert Arobor

    The time to grand an Ogoja man a state is now.

    We have been allowed to cry without no one to wipe our tears,

    look at our roads, our educational systems and her structures, our children are without scholarships to study overseas, no even school grants.

    The common woman in the village cannot market her commodities and get her market value.

    Our graduates are every day on the streets without jobs, the preganent woman die most a time because of lack of medical facilities or access road to medical locations.

    Somebody help us, we are old enough, very very old to be a state in Nigeria, we need a Moses.

    Come help us our dear president.

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