Cross River State derives its name from the Cross
River which passes through the state.
It is a coastal state located in the Niger Delta
region, and occupies 20,156 square kilometers. It
shares boundaries with Benue State to the north,
Ebonyi and Abia States to the west, to the east by
Cameroon Republic and to the south by Akwa-Ibom
and the Atlantic Ocean.
The South-South State was created on May 27,1967
from the former Eastern Region, Nigeria by the
General Yakubu Gowon regime. Its name was
changed to Cross River State in the 1976 state
creation exercise by the then General Murtala
Mohammed regime from South Eastern State.
The present day Akwa Ibom State was excised from
it in the state creation exercise of September 1987
by the then regime of General Ibrahim Babangida.
Its capital is Calabar. Its major towns are
Akamkpa , Biase, Calabar South , Ikom , Igede ,
Obubra , Odukpani , Ogoja , Bekwarra, Ugep,
Obudu , Obanliku , Akpabuyo , Ofutop, Iso-bendghe,
Danare, Boki , Yala , Bendeghe Ekiem,
Etomi , Ukpe and Ukelle .
The state has been previously governed by many
governors and administrators including Udoakaha J.
Esuene, Paul Omu, Tunde Elegbede, Clement Isong ,
Donald Etiebet, Daniel Archibong , Ibim Princewill,
Ernest Atta, Clement Ebri, Ibrahim Kefas, Gregory
Agboneni, Umar Faoruk Ahmed, Christopher Osondu,
Donald Duke , Liyel Imoke and Benedict Ayade .
The Current Governor is Benedict Ayade , who was
sworn into office on the 29th of May, 2015.
The State is composed of several ethnic groups,
which include the Efik , the Ejagham ,
Yakurr, Bette, Yala, Igede , Ukelle and the Bekwarra.
The Efik language is widely spoken in the southern
part of Cross River State, especially in Calabar
Municipality, Calabar South and Odukpani.
The Ejagham language is the most widely spoken
language in Cross River State; from Calabar
Municipality, Akamkpa, Ikom, Obubura, Ogoja,
Obudu, and Etung local government councils, to the
south west province of Cameroon .
The Efik-speaking people live mainly in the
Southern senatorial districts of Cross River, or as it
is commonly referred to, the Greater Calabar
district, which includes Calabar Municipality, Calabar
South, Bakassi, Biase, Akpabuyo, Odukpani, and
Akamkpa LGAs. There is also the Qua community
in Calabar, which speaks Ejagham.
The main Ejagham group occupies mostly the
Greater Calabar areas of Calabar Municipality,
Odukpani, Biase and Akampkpa sections of Cross
There are also the Yakurr/Agoi/Bahumono ethnic
groups in Yakurr and Abi LGA, while the Mbembe
are predominantly found in Obubra LGA. Further up
the core northern part of the state are several sub-
dialectical groups, among which are Etung, Olulumo,
Ofutop, Nkim/Nkum, Abanajum, Nseke and Boki in
both Ikom, Etung and Boki LGAs. Also, the Yala/
Yache, Igede, Ukelle, Ekajuk, Mbube, Bette,
Bekwarra and Utugwanga people are found in Ogoja,
Yala, Obudu and Obanliku LGA’s.
The Yala are a subgroup of the Idoma nation, part
of the Yala LGA’s subgroups are the Igede speaking
people believed to have migrated from the Oju part
of Benue State, who migrated from Ora, in Edo
Cross River State epitomises the nation’s linguistic
and cultural plurality and it is important to note that,
in spite of the diversity of dialects, all the
indigenous languages in the state have common
linguistic roots as Niger–Congo languages.
Finally, the State boasts of being the venue of the
largest carnival in Africa.
CROSS RIVER STATE CONSISTS OF EIGHTEEN
Local Government Areas.