A residential neighborhood in the historic port city of Onitsha
|Anthem: "With all our hearts, We Pray and ask"|
Location of Anambra in Nigeria
|• Governor||Willie Obiano (APGA)|
|• Deputy Governor||Nkem Okeke|
|• Legislature||Anambra State House of Assembly|
|• Senators||Stella Oduah (Anambra North) PDP |
Uche Lilian Ekwunife (Anambra Central) PDP
Ifeanyi Ubah (Anambra South) YPP
|• Total||4,844 km2 (1,870 sq mi)|
|Area rank||35 of 36|
| • Estimate |
(2019 By ANSG)
|• Rank||8 of 36|
|• Density||860/km2 (2,200/sq mi)|
|Demonym(s)||Ndi Anambra, Anambrarians|
|• Total||$11.83 billion|
|• Per capita||$1,615|
|Time zone||UTC+01 (WAT)|
|ISO 3166 code||NG-AN|
medium · 3rd of 37
|^1 Preliminary results|
Anambra State (Igbo: Ọ̀hà Ọmambala) is one of the 36 States of Nigeria, located in the southeastern region of the country. Formed in 1976 from the former East Central State, the state is named after the Anambra River. The state capital is Awka, a rapidly growing city that increased in population from approximately 300,000 to 2.5 million between 2006 and 2018. The city of Onitsha, a historic port city from the pre-colonial era, remains an important center of commerce within the state.
Nicknamed the "Light of the Nation", Anambra State is the eighth most populous state in the nation, despite being the second smallest in area. The area currently known as Anambra State has been the site of numerous civilizations since at least the 9th century AD, including the ancient Kingdom of Nri, whose capital was the historic town of Igbo-Ukwu within the state. An estimated 98% of residents of Anambra State are Igbo, with the Igbo language serving as a lingua franca throughout the state.
During the Nigerian Civil War (1967-1970), Anambra State was part of the secessionist Republic of Biafra formed by Igbo nationalists. During the war, Anambra State was afflicted by a severe famine, which devastated much of the population. Today, Anambra State is a highly urbanized state, and has made major strides in reducing its poverty rate.
The name Anambra is the anglicized version of the river Ọmambala, the Igbo name of the Anambra River which flows through the state as the colonialists could not perfectly pronounce the name of the river.
Anambra's history stretches to the 9th century AD, as revealed by archaeological excavations at Igbo-Ukwu and Ezira. It has great works of art in iron, bronze, copper, and pottery works belonging to the ancient Kingdom of Nri. These have revealed a sophisticated divine Kingship administrative system, which held sway in the area of Anambra from c. 948 AD to 1911. In some towns, such as Ogidi and others, local families had hereditary rights to kingship for centuries.
Great Britain recognised some of these traditional kings and leaders in their system of indirect rule of the Protectorate of South Nigeria. Beginning in the 19th century, they appointed some noble leaders as Warrant Chiefs, authorizing them to collect taxes, among other duties.
Anambra is in the Igbo-dominated area that seceded as part of an independent Biafra in 1967, following rising tensions with Northern Nigeria. During the Nigerian/Biafran war (1967–1970), Biafran engineers constructed a relief airstrip in the town of Uli/Amorka (code named "Annabelle"). Extremely dangerous relief flights took off from Sao Tome and other sites loaded with tons of food and medicine for the distressed Biafran population. Uli/Amorka airstrip was the site where American pilots such as Alex Nicoll, and scores of others, delivered tons of relief supplies to the Biafran population.
Disgusted by the suffering and mounting death toll in Biafra from starvation, as well as the continuous harassment of the relief planes by the Nigerian Airforce, Carl Gustaf von Rosen resigned as a Red Cross relief pilot. He helped Biafra to form an airforce of five Minicoin planes Malmö MFI-9 stationed at the Uga airstrip. He named his tiny but effective airforce "Babies of Biafra" in honour of the babies who died from starvation inside Biafra.
Old Anambra State was created in 1976 from part of East Central State, and its capital was Enugu. In 1991 a re-organisation divided Anambra into two states, Anambra and Enugu. The capital of Anambra is Awka.
Cities and administrative divisions
With an annual population growth rate of 2.21 percent per annum, Anambra State has over 60% of its people living in urban areas. It is one of the most urbanized states in Nigeria.
The major urban centres of Anambra state are Onitsha, including Okpoko town,Ogbaru; Nnewi, and Awka, the state capital. Awka and Onitsha had developed as pre-colonial urban centres: Awka was the craft industrial centre of the Nri hegemony. Onitsha is a city state on the Niger, having developed as a river port and commercial centre.
Onitsha is a fast-growing commercial city, and has developed to become a huge conurbation extending to Idemili, Oyi and Anambra East LGAs, with one of the largest markets in West Africa.
In 2012 the tri-city area was dubbed the Onitsha-Nnewi-Awka (ONA) Industrial Axis, in recognition of the expanding industrial capacity. Nnewi (sometimes called the Taiwan of Nigeria) is a rapidly developing industrial and commercial centre. Designated as the state capital, Awka has regained its precolonial administrative eminence.
Other main towns of Anambra state are: Abagana, Abba, Abacha, Umueri, Abatete, Achalla, Achina, Adazi Ani, Adazi-Enu, Adazi-Nnukwu, Agukwu, Aguleri, Agulu, Aguluezechukwu, Aguluzigbo, Ajalli, Akpo, Akpu, Akwaeze, Akwukwu, Alor, Amaetiti, Amansea, Amanuke, Amaokpala, Amawbia, Amesi, Amichi, Amorka, Anam, Anaku, Atani, Awa, [[ Umueri]], Awba-Ofemili, Awgbu, Awka-Etiti, Awkuzu, Azia, Azigbo, Ebenator Ozulogu, Ebenebe, Ekwulobia, Ekwulumili, Enugwu-Adazi, Enugwu-Agidi, Enugwu Aguleri, Enugwu Ukwu, Ezinifite, Ezinihite, Eziowelle, Ezira, Ichi, Ichida, Ideani, Ifitedunu, Ifite-Ogwari, Igbakwu, Igbariam, Igbedor, Igbo-Ukwu, Ihembosi, Ihiala, Ikenga, Inoma, Iseke, Isuaniocha, Isulo, Isuofia, Lilu, Mbosi, Mgbakwu, Mmiata Anam, Nando, Nanka, Nawfia, Nawfija, Nawgu, Ndikelionwu, Ndi-okpaleke, Ndiukwuenu, Nibo, Nimo, Nise, Nkpologwu, Nkpor, Nkwelle-Ezunaka, Neni, Nnobi, Nnokwa, Nsugbe, Nteje, Nzam, Oba, Obeledu, Obosi, Ochuche-Umuodu, Ogbunike, Ogbunka, Ogidi, Ojoto, Okija, Oko, Okpeze, Omasi, Omogho, Omor, Onneh, Ora-Eri, Oraifite, Oraukwu, Orsumoghu, Ossomala, Osumenyi, Owerre-ezukala, Owelle-Olumbanasa, Ozubulu, Ubuluisiuzor, Ufuma, Uga, Ugbenne, Ugbenu, Uke, Ukpo, Ukpor, Ukwalla-Olumbanasa, Ukwulu, Uli, Umuanaga, Umuawulu, Umuchu, Umudioka, Umueje, Umuerum, Umueze Anam, Umuoba Anam, Umudora Anam, Umumbo, Umunnachi, Umunya, Umunze, Umuoji, Umuomaku, Umuona Unubi,Odekpe-Oluumbanasa(11), Utuh,Odeh-Olumbanasa(11), Igbokenyi Olumbanasa(11) Odomagwu-Olumbanasa(11), Allah/Onugwa-Olumbanasa(11).
Local Government Areas
Anambra State consists of twenty-one (21) Local Government Areas. They are:
Boundaries are formed by Delta State to the west, Imo State and Rivers State to the south, Enugu State to the east, and Kogi State to the north. The name was derived from the Anambra River (Omambala) which flows through the area and is a tributary of the River Niger.
Anambra is the eighth-most populated state in the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the second-most densely populated state in Nigeria after Lagos State. The stretch of more than 45 km between the towns of Oba and Amorka contains a cluster of numerous thickly populated villages and small towns, giving the area an estimated average density of 1,500–2,000 persons per square kilometre.
Anambra state has many other resources in terms of agro-based activities such as fisheries and farming, as well as land cultivated for pasturing and animal husbandry.
Oil and gas
In the year 2006, a foundation-laying ceremony for the first Nigerian private refinery, Orient Petroleum Refinery (OPR), was made at Aguleri area. The Orient Petroleum Resource Ltd, (OPRL) owners of OPR, was licensed in June 2002, by the Federal Government to construct a private refinery with a capacity of 55,000 barrels per day (~7,500 t/d).
In 2012, following the efforts of Governor Peter Obi and other stakeholders of Orient Petroleum, Anambra State became an oil-producing state. The indigenous company struck oil in the Anambra River basin.
On 2 August 2015, the management of Orient Petroleum Resources Plc said the company planned to increase its crude oil production to 3,000 barrels per day by September 2015, as it stepped up production activities in two new oil wells in its Aguleri oil fields. An indigenous company, Nails and Stanley Ltd, was to establish a gas plant at Umueje in Ayamelum Local Government Area to support economic activities in the oil and gas industry in the state.
Urbanization and structural planning
Since the late 1990s, there has been a migration from rural to urban areas in the state, resulting in Anambra becoming a highly urbanized state: 62% of its population lives in urban areas. In October 2015, the APGA-led state government of Willie Obiano signed a memorandum of understanding with Galway modular housing company, Affordable Building Concepts International, for 10,000 housing units to be built in the state.
Given decades of neglect of infrastructure and bad governance, the shift in human migration has posed problems for the state. Infrastructure improvements, both physical and social, have lagged behind the growth in population. There are problems in environmental sanitation, erosion control, and provision of social services. Major cities have become characterized by inadequate and deteriorated road networks and walkways, unregulated building patterns, poor sanitation, uncontrolled street trading, mountains of garbage, and chaotic transport systems, creating congestion, noise pollution, and overcrowding.
The government of Peter Obi, with the assistance of the UN-HABITAT, produced 20-year structural plans (2009–2028) for three major cities in the State: Onitsha, Nnewi and Awka Capital Territory, to restore urban planning and guide their growth into the future.
The plans contain policies and proposals for land use, city beautification, road infrastructure, industrial development, housing, waste disposal, water supply and health and educational facilities to turn the cities into successful urban areas that can generate employment and wealth, and provide high living standards for their residents.
Anambra became the first state in Nigeria to adopt structural Plans for its cities. With effective implementation, it should systematically grow as a major economic center in Nigeria and West Africa.
The process of urbanization is fairly contributed by population growth, immigration, migration, and infrastructure initiatives like good road, water, power, and gardens, resulting in the growth of villages into towns, town into cities and cities into metros. To have ecologically feasible development, planning requires an understanding of the growth dynamics. There is a fear that if too many people leave the villages, only the aged men and women will be left to farm. This pattern has been seen in Amesi, Akpo, and Achina towns in Aguata local government area. They have been important in the production of yam, Cocoyam, and cassava through consistent agriculture, but such activities have suffered due to the out-migration of youth to the urban centres. There has been both food scarcity in the region and over-population in urban areas.
To upgrade the State capital and improve traffic, Awka, Governor Willie Obiano signed off on construction of three fly-overs between the Amawbia and Arroma end of the Enugu-Onitsha Expressway, a distance of about three kilometres within the city.
Culture and tourism
Ogbunike Caves, listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site, is one of the most visited tourist sites in Anambra State. It is classified as a Sandstone cave (Lateritic sandstones of Campanian-Miocene age). The Owerre Ezukala caves and waterfalls are great tourist attractions in the State. Largely unexplored, the caves are said the be the largest in West Africa.
Igbo Ukwu Museum: Igbo Ukwu is an ancient town known for its astonishing metal crafts; it continues to attract tourists to see its bronze artifacts. First noticed in 1938, the bronzes were later excavated by Thurstan Shaw (an English archaeologist). They have been dated to the 9th century, and are of high value and historic relevance.
Public Educational institutions in Anambra include
- The Nnamdi Azikiwe University (UNIZIK), Awka, which runs a modern teaching hospital in Nnewi with facilities also at Umunya and Ukpo. Also a faculty of pharmaceutical sciences at Agulu, a School of Preliminary studies at Mbaukwu, and a College of Agriculture.
- Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu University, formerly known as Anambra State University, and formerly known as Anambra State University of Science and Technology (ASUTECH), with two campuses, one in Uli, and another at Igbariam.
- The Federal Polytechnic, Oko.
- Nwafor Orizu University of Education (formerly known as the Nwafor Orizu College of Education), Nsugbe.
Private universities include
- The Tansian University, Umunya
- Madonna University, Okija
- St Paul's University, Awka
- St Peter's University, Achina with a campus at Onneh Town.
- The UA College of Science & Technology Isuofia
- The University of America College of Science and Technology.
Awka, the state capital, is also the center of Nigeria's metalwork and carving industries. Literacy rate in the state is comparatively high compared to other states.[specify] Anambra State students have won laurels nationally and internationally in recent times. This is a pointer to the literacy rate of the State when compared to others. Primary and secondary school enrollment in the state is one of the highest in the country. Consequently, Anambra state has the highest number of JAMB candidates going after the limited number of spaces in Nigeria's tertiary colleges. Since 2011/2012 till date (2014), its students have had the best results in both WAEC and NECO-conducted senior secondary school examinations.
Anambra's political history can be described as varied. Until the early 21st century, it was marked by considerable unrest. Having a long list of "firsts" in Nigerian history, it has been known by the sobriquet as "The Light of The Nation". On 29 May 1999, Chinwoke Mbadinuju was sworn in as civilian governor of Anambra state, after many years of military rule. His administration was marred by deep problems: the most notable was withholding of teachers' salaries in the school. The teachers finally conducted a ten-month strike in all the government secondary schools in the state.
Before Mbadinuju's rule, secondary education had been free of charge. But his administration imposed a tuition fee of 3,000 Naira per term for all secondary schools, which led to an unprecedented massive demonstration by secondary school students from all over the state. Many people attribute Mbadinuju's failure to political godfathers; his successor also struggled. On 26 May 2003, Chris Ngige was sworn in as the new governor of the state, but he was removed in March 2006 after Peter Obi of APGA filed charges against him of electoral malpractice. The Court of Appeal in Enugu asserted that Ngige's apparent victory in the 2003 election was fraudulent and ordered him to leave the seat.
Obi was ousted by a faction of the Anambra State House of Assembly on 2 November 2006 and replaced by Virginia Etiaba, his deputy. On 9 February 2007, Mrs. Etiaba handed power back to Obi after the Court of Appeal had nullified Obi's removal.
On 14 April 2007, Andy Uba of PDP was "elected" as the new governor of the state and, on 29 May, was sworn in. Reported to be massively rigged, the election was widely criticised. On 14 June 2007 the Supreme Court of Nigeria ruled that Peter Obi's tenure had not ended; therefore there was no vacancy in the governorship. It removed Andy Uba from office and replaced him with his predecessor Obi.
On 6 February 2010, Peter Obi was re-elected governor for a second term of four years, after a hot contest with Chris Ngige, a former governor of the state; Prof. Charles Soludo, a former governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria; and Andy Uba, who was a strong voice in the state's politics. Other contenders included Mrs Uche Ekwunife, Prince Nicholas Ukachukwu, and many others. Twenty-five contestants ran for the office. Obi was affirmed as the winner of the election, having more than 30% votes above the immediate runner-up. Chief Willie Obiano was sworn in on 17 March 2014 after winning 16 November 2013 election. Governor Willie Obiano of All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) was sworn in for a second term in office on 17 March 2018 after the victory at 18 November 2017 elections.
- Nnamdi Azikiwe Owelle of Onitsha – the first president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria
- Dr. Alex Ifeanyichukwu Ekwueme, from Oko town, a politician, Architect and the first executive vice-president of Nigeria, serving 1979 – 1983.
- Nwafor Orizu – hails from Nnewi, Nnewi South, the first Senate President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
- Ukpabi Asika – a political scientist and administrator from Onitsha. He was the East Central State administrator during and after the Nigerian Civil War
- Dim Emeka Ojukwu – a native of Nnewi, the leader of the secessionist Biafra Republic
- Chukwuemeka Ike – A writer that authored many books including Toads for supper, Bottled Leopard, Expo 77. He hails from Ndikelionwu in Anambra State and was the traditional ruler Ikelionwu XI. He was 1st registrar of the West African Examination Council – WAEC
- Krystal Okeke – Ms. Illinois USA Universal 2016 and founder of America Multicultural Kids Fashion Show and Miss America Nation beauty pageant.
- Hon Ifeanyi Chudy Momah – lawyer and Legislator. Honorable Member representing Ihiala in the Federal House of Representatives
- Dr. Senator Chuba Wilberforce Okadigbo (17 December 1941 – 25 September 2003) – a native of Ogbunike, was president of the Senate of Nigeria.
- Professor Chinua Achebe – a native of Ogidi and best known for the classic, Things Fall Apart was the first African writer whose books are standard curricula in schools and universities across the world.
- Fabian Udekwu (1928–2006) – A notable professor of surgery and trailblazer of open heart surgery in Africa.
- Chinyere Stella Okunna – First Nigerian female professor in mass communication.
- Blessed Cyprian Michael Iwene Tansi (born in Aguleri, Anambra State, 1903 – died Leicester, England, 1964). Ordained a Roman Catholic priest of the Archdiocese of Onitsha, Nigeria and was later a Cistercian monk at Mount Saint Bernard Monastery in England. Pope John Paul II beatified him in 1998.
- Emeka Offor – chairman of Chrome Group.
- Emeka Nwokedi – conductor and music director.
- Bonaventure Enemali – commissioner for Youth Empowerment and Creative Economy
- Cletus Ibeto – a foremost industrialist and businessman from Nnewi.
- Alex Nwankwo – blogger and media personality.
- Ken Erics – multi-award-winning Nollywood actor, producer – C.E.O KEN ERICS Productions, writer and occasional musician.
- Emeka Anyaoku – the first black secretary-general of the Commonwealth and recipient of South Africa's Order of the Companions of Oliver Reginald Tambo for his role in initiating talks between the apartheid state and the African National Congress (ANC).
- Professor Uche Okeke – a native of Nimo and one of the foremost Nigerian fine artists, founder of the Uli movement.
- Lieutenant-General Chikadibia Isaac Obiakor – appointed as military advisor on UN peacekeeping operations. Previously served as commander of the Economic Community of West African States Monitoring Group (ECOMOG) Artillery Brigade in Liberia in 1996 and 1997
- Professor Humphrey Nwobu Nwosu – a professor of political science. Former NEC chairman. Conducted the freest, fairest and most credible election so far in Nigeria.
- Chi Onwurah – a British Labour Party politician, who was elected at the 2010 general election as the Member of Parliament for Newcastle-upon-Tyne Central, becoming the first female British MP of African origin.
- Godwin Maduka – doctor, businessman, philanthropist and the founder of Las Vegas Pain Institute and Medical Center.
- Chuka Umunna – a British Labour Party Member of Parliament for Streatham constituency.
- Professor Kenneth Dike – a pre-eminent scholar of African History and native of Awka, was the first indigenous vice-chancellor of the University of Ibadan and founder of the National Archives.
- Professor Ben Enwonwu – a native of Onitsha was the first Nigerian sculptor of international repute with artwork gracing the United Nations headquarters.
- Pius Okigbo, CON – a world-renowned economist, was the first economic advisor to the Federal government of Nigeria (1960–1962), first Nigerian Ambassador to the European Community and renowned for bringing to light over $12 billion missing in oil windfall receipts from the Central Bank of Nigeria during the first Gulf War.
- Professor Samuel Okoye – was black Africa's first PhD in Radio Astronomy who along with Antony Hewish of the University of Cambridge discovered the radio source of Crab Nebula neutron star.
- Chief Jerome Udoji – from Ozubulu, a social reformer was the first African to be made a 'D.O' (District Officer) by the Colonial Administration.
- Amobi Okoye – Youngest American football player to play for the NFL (2004), currently is a free agent.
- Chimamanda Adichie – writer who won the Orange Prize for Fiction (2007) and a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship (2008);
- Dora Akunyili – ex-head of NAFDAC and former (17 December 2008 – 15 December 2010) Minister of Information won international awards for cleansing Nigeria of the scourge of fake drugs;
- Cardinal Francis Arinze, once considered a potential Pope
- Chief P.N. Okeke-Ojiudu – a politician and Businessman and the first minister of agriculture in the Nigerian first republic.
- Louis Odumegwu Ojukwu – a native of Nnewi who was the first Nigerian millionaire and first president of the Nigerian Stock Exchange;
- Cyprian Ekwensi – MFR, a writer of international repute
- Oscar N. Onyema – OON, chief executive officer of the Nigerian Stock Exchange and chairman of Central Securities Clearing System (CSCS).
- Philip Emeagwali – winner of the 1989 Gordon Bell Prize for Supercomputing;
- Azikiwe Peter Onwualu, the former director general and chief executive officer of the Raw Materials Research and Development Council (RMRDC).
- Chief Oliver De Coque, was a popular Nigerian highlife musician and guitarist.
- Professor Chike Obi – a mathematician famous for his work on non-differential equations won the 1985 ICTP Price and developed a special solution for Fermat's Last Theorem;
- Osita Osadebe – a popular Nigerian Highlife musician who also holds the Nigerian record for the highest selling album
- Professor Charles Chukwuma Soludo – a famous economist who spearheaded Nigerian economic reform from 1999 to 2008 and was ex-head of the Central Bank of Nigeria;
- Chinwe Chukwuogo-Roy MBE, a London-based artist. The first black artist to paint a portrait of Queen Elizabeth II one of the UK Women of the Year in 2002 and 2003, represented the UK at the Council of Europe In 2009 she was made an MBE.
- Chinedu Okoli (Flavour), a popular singer and songwriter.
- Psquare (Peter and Paul Okoye), identical twins and Afro-R&B giants.
- Oseloka H. Obaze (born 9 April 1955) – diplomat, politician and author.
- Uju Uzo Ojinnaka, founder and CEO, Traders of Africa and African Trade Invest
- Linus Williams Ifejika, Nigerian-based businessman, cryptocurrency trader, and entrepreneur.
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