Have you ever wondered about all the states and capitals in Nigeria? As Africa’s most populous country, Nigeria is divided into 36 states, each with a capital city and government.
This list details each of Nigeria’s 36 states, their capitals, slogans, and current governors. Nigeria’s states are diverse, encompassing deserts, rainforests, beaches and savannas, with over 250 ethnic groups and more than 500 languages spoken across the country. From Abia to Zamfara, get to know Nigeria state by state. By the end of this list, you’ll be an expert on the components that make up the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
The History Behind Nigeria’s State Creation
Nigeria has gone through several state creation exercises since its independence on the 1st of October, 1960. The country started with 3 regions, went to 4, then 12 states. Now, we have 36 states. Let’s look at how we got here.
When Nigeria gained independence from Britain in 1960, the country was divided into 3 regions: Northern, Western and Eastern. The Western Region was divided up into the Mid-Western Region and founded in 1963. Provinces, a holdover from colonial and protectorate eras, continued to exist until they were dissolved in 1976.
However, there were ethnic tensions as some groups felt marginalized. To address this, the regions were split into 12 states in 1967 by military decree. During the Nigerian Civil War, the Eastern Region made many attempts to break away as the country of Biafra between 1967 and 1970.
Over the years, more states were created to bring government closer to the people and give minority ethnic groups more autonomy and representation. In 1976, 7 more states were added, bringing the total to 19. By 1987, there were 21 states. From 1987–1991, The Federal Capital Territory and 21 other states were present.
In 1991, the Federal Capital Territory was created. A total of 30 states were created after the establishment of two additional states, Katsina and Akwa Ibom, on 24 September 1987 and nine more on 27 August 1991 by Gen. Ibrahim Babangida.
In his Independence Day speech on October 1, 1996, the late Sani Abacha dictatorship announced the creation of six more states, bringing the total to 36 at the time.
The states comprise:
Six new geopolitical zones were also created under his administration.
The numerous state-creation exercises have been controversial, with arguments for and against them. Supporters believe it promotes ethnic identity and access to resources. Detractors think it leads to inefficient government, inter-ethnic conflict and lack of national identity.
There have been calls for the creation of more states. However, Nigeria’s 36-state structure is now an accepted part of its federal system. The states have their own elected governors and state houses of assembly.
So that’s how Nigeria ended up with its current 36 states. The numerous exercises were aimed at addressing issues around representation, access to resources and autonomy for minority groups. While imperfect, the 36-state structure seems here to stay as a key part of Nigeria’s political system.
State and Capital in Nigeria
Nigeria consists of one federal capital territory and thirty-six states. A semi-autonomous political entity, each of the 36 states shares powers with the federal government as specified by the Federal Republic of Nigeria’s Constitution. The capital city of Nigeria, Abuja, is the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
The Federal Capital Territory is not a state; rather, it is governed by duly elected individuals under the direction of the federal government. Local government areas (LGAs) are divisions within each state. Nigeria has 774 local governments. The 36 states are coequal but not paramount under the Constitution because the federal government has sovereignty.
The National Assembly has the authority to change the constitution, but each alteration requires the approval of two-thirds of the federation’s 36 states.
In alphabetical order, here are the 36 states and their capital in Nigeria:
- Abia (Umuahia)
- Adamawa (Yola)
- Akwa Ibom (Uyo)
- Anambra (Awka)
- Bauchi (Bauchi)
- Bayelsa (Yenagoa)
- Benue (Makurdi)
- Borno (Maiduguri)
- Cross River (Calabar)
- Delta (Asaba)
- Ebonyi (Abakaliki)
- Edo (Benin City)
- Ekiti (Ado-Ekiti)
- Enugu (Enugu)
- Gombe (Gombe)
- Imo (Owerri)
- Jigawa (Dutse)
- Kaduna (Kaduna)
- Kano (Kano)
- Katsina (Katsina)
- Kebbi (Birnin Kebbi)
- Kogi (Lokoja)
- Kwara (Ilorin)
- Lagos (Ikeja)
- Nasarawa (Lafia)
- Niger (Minna)
- Ogun (Abeokuta)
- Ondo (Akure)
- Osun (Osogbo)
- Oyo (Ibadan)
- Plateau (Jos)
- Rivers (Port Harcourt)
- Sokoto (Sokoto)
- Taraba (Jalingo)
- Yobe (Damaturu)
- Zamfara (Guasau).
List of Nigeria’s 36 States with their Capitals, Slogan and Current Governors
Nigeria is a diverse country with 36 states and one Federal capital territory, each with its own unique cultural heritage, natural landmarks, and vibrant cities. Let’s take a quick tour of Nigeria’s states, their capitals, slogans, and current governors.
S/N, State, Capital, Slogan, and current Governor
- Abia State – Umuahia – God’s Own State – Dr Alex Otti
- Adamawa State – Yola – Land of Beauty – Ahmadu Umaru Fintiri
- Akwa Ibom State – Uyo – Land of Promise – Umo Eno
- Anambra State – Awka Light of the Nation – Charles Soludo
- Bauchi State – Bauchi – Pearl of Tourism – Bala Abdulkadir Mohammed
- Bayelsa State – Yenagoa – Glory of all lands – Douye Diri
- Benue State – Makurdi – Food Basket of the Nation – Hyacinth Iormem Alia
- Borno State – Maiduguri – Home of Peace – Babagana Umara Zulum
- Cross River State – Calabar – The People’s Paradise – Bassey Edet Otu
- Delta State – Asaba – The Big Heart Sheriff – Oborevwori
- Ebonyi State – Abakaliki – Salt of the Nation – Francis Nwifuru
- Edo State – Benin City – Heart Beat of Nigeria – Godwin Obaseki
- Ekiti State – Ado Ekiti – Land of Honour and Integrity – Abiodun Abayomi Oyebanji
- Enugu State- Enugu – Coal City State – Dr. Peter Ndubuisi Mbah
- Gombe State – Gombe – Jewel in the Savannah – Muhammad Inuwa Yahaya
- Imo State – Owerri – Eastern Heartland – Hope Odidika Uzodinma
- Jigawa State – Dutse – The New World – Malam Umar A. Namadi
- Kaduna State – Kaduna -Centre of Learning – Uba Sani
- Kano State – Kano – Centre of Commerce – Engr. Abba Kabir Yusuf
- Katsina State – Katsina – Home of Hospitality – Dikko Umaru Radda
- Kebbi State – Birnin Kebbi – Land of Equity – Nasir Idris
- Kogi State – Lokoja – The Confluence State – Yahaya Adoza Bello
- Kwara State – Ilorin – State of Harmony – Abdul Rahman Abdul Razaq
- Lagos State – Ikeja – Centre of Excellence – Babajide Olusola Sanwo-Olu
- Nasarawa State- Lafia – Home of Solid Minerals – Abdullahi Sule
- Niger State – Minna – The Power State – Mohammed Umar Bago
- Ogun State – Abeokuta -Gateway State – Dapo Abiodun
- Ondo State – Akure – Sunshine State – Rotimi Akeredolu
- Osun State – Oshogbo – Land of Virtue – Ademola Nurudeen Adeleke
- Oyo State – Ibadan – Pace Setter State – Oluseyi Abiodun Makinde
- Plateau State – Jos – Home of Peace and Tourism – Caleb Manasseh Mutfwang
- Rivers State – Port Harcourt- Treasure Base of the Nation -Siminalayi Fubara
- Sokoto State – Sokoto – Seat of the Caliphate – Ahmad Aliyu
- Taraba State – Jalingo -Nature’s Gift to the Nation – Agbu Kefas
- Yobe State – Damaturu – Pride of the Sahel – Mai Mala Buni
- Zamfara State – Gusau -Farming is Our Pride – Dauda Lawal
The current Minister of Abuja Federal Capital Territory (FCT) is Nyesom Wike.
Nigeria’s diversity is truly inspiring, with each state offering visitors cultural experiences, natural beauty, and friendly people. No matter which state you find yourself exploring, you’ll always feel right at home.
What are some of the largest states by population?
Some of the most populated states are Kano, Lagos, Katsina, Kaduna, and Bauchi state. Kano state is the most populated state in Nigeria, with over 14 million residents.
And there you have it, a quick overview of Nigeria’s 36 states, their capitals, slogans, and current governors. As you can see, Nigeria is an ethnically and culturally diverse country, with each state having its own unique character.
While there are certainly ongoing challenges, Nigeria also has tremendous potential with its dynamic economy, natural resources, and youthful population. The future remains unwritten.
One day, Nigeria could emerge as a major world power. For now, its complexity and diversity make it a fascinating country to watch and explore. In Nigeria, you’ll find amazing food, music, nature, and, most of all, welcoming people in each and every one of Nigeria’s 36 states.