States creation in Nigeria and their creators: detailed 2023 update

States creation in Nigeria and their creators: detailed 2023 update

Nigeria is a federation comprising one federal capital territory (FCT) and 36 states. These states were created at varying times in Nigeria's history and by various regimes. Each state is a semi-autonomous political unit that shares powers with the country's federal government, as stated in the Nigerian constitution. What do you know about state creation in Nigeria and their creators?

state creation in Nigeria and their creators
A map of Nigeria with its flag's colours. Photo:, @GDJ
Source: Depositphotos

State creation in Nigeria began in 1967 when states replaced the then-regions. After that, various regimes changed the country's structure until 1996, when the last states were created.

State creation in Nigeria and their creators

Nigeria's 36 states were formed due to different administrative reorganizations. To solve concerns of ethnic, cultural, and administrative imbalances, existing states were divided, merged, and restructured.

How and when were the 36 states in Nigeria created?

Here is a quick history of state creation in Nigeria and their creators.


When Nigeria attained independence from colonial rule in 1960, it was a federal state with three regions. These were the Eastern, Northern, and Western regions. There were also provinces which served as a legacy of colonial rule. These were later abolished in 1976.


In 1963, a new region was created, bringing the total to four. The new region was known as the Mid-Western Region and was created from the Western Region.


In 1967, the country's military regime replaced the four regions with 12 states. Between 1967 and 1970, the former Eastern Region attempted to secede from the rest of Nigeria, resulting in the infamous Biafran Civil War.

The states created in 1967 resulted from General Yakubu Gowon's rise to power via a coup d’état.


Seven additional states were created in 1976, bringing the total to 19. The 19 states of Nigeria in 1976 included the Federal Capital Territory, created from Niger State. In 1987, two more states (Akwa Ibom and Katsina) were created, bringing the total to 21. This was done under the military rule of General Ibrahim Babangida.


On 27 August 1991, the number of states in Nigeria increased to thirty as General Babangida thought it fit to create another nine states, bringing the total to 30.


In 1993 when General Sani Abacha came into power, the government was under immense pressure to create additional states. Under recommendation from the National Constitutional Conference (NCC), the reigning military regime decided to create six more states. This was done in October 1996, bringing the total to 36 states.

States creation in Nigeria

Here is a list of states created by General Sani Abacha on 1 October 1996.

  1. Bayelsa State
  2. Ebonyi State
  3. Ekiti State
  4. Gombe State
  5. Nasarawa State
  6. Zamfara State

Here is a list of states General Ibrahim Babangida created on 27 August 1991 and 23 September 1987.

  1. Abia State
  2. Adamawa State
  3. Delta State
  4. Edo State
  5. Enugu State
  6. Jigawa State
  7. Kebbi State
  8. Kogi State
  9. Osun State
  10. Akwa Ibom State
  11. Katsina State

Who created 7 states in Nigeria? Here is a list of states created by General Murtala Muhammed on 3 February 1976.

  1. Taraba State
  2. Yobe State
  3. Anambra State
  4. Bauchi State
  5. Benue State
  6. Borno State
  7. Imo State
the first 12 states and the capital of Nigeria
A Nigeria map showing the various states. Photo: @This Is Nigeria
Source: Facebook

What are the first 12 states created by Yakubu Gowon?

Here is a list of the first 12 states and the capital of Nigeria created by General Yakubu Gowon on 27 May 1967.

  1. Lagos State
  2. Niger State
  3. Ogun State
  4. Ondo State
  5. Oyo State
  6. Plateau State
  7. Sokoto State
  8. Kano State
  9. Cross River State
  10. Kaduna State
  11. Kwara State
  12. Rivers State

Who created states in Nigeria in 1976?

1976 saw the creation of 7 states by General Murtala Muhammed. This brought the total to 19 states. Later in the year 1987, General Ibrahim Babangida created two more states.

Who created the 36 states in Nigeria?

They were created by different leaders under different regimes. These include General Murtala Mohammed, General Ibrahim Babangida, General Yakubu Gowon, and General Sani Abacha.

Who created 21 states in Nigeria?

What are the first 12 states created by Yakubu Gowon?
A map of Nigeria. Photo: @cartopostersmaps
Source: Instagram

By 1987, the country had 21 states. These had been created by General Ibrahim Babangida (2), General Murtala Mohammed (7), and General Yakubu Gowon (12).

Who created 12 states in Nigeria?

General Yakubu Gowon created Nigeria's first 12 states in 1967.

When did Nigeria have 12 states?

The country had 12 states between 1967 and 1976. This is after the reigning military regime replaced the then four regions with the country's first 12 states.

The history behind state creation in Nigeria and their creators is quite fascinating. The country saw 36 states created in five regimes. These administrative units replaced the regions and provinces left by the British. recently explored the main economic problems plaguing Nigeria. Like other middle-income countries with emerging markets, the country has witnessed gradual expansion in communication, technology, finance, manufacturing, and service sectors.

However, problems such as poor health facilities, high crime levels, unemployment, and corruption continue to be pressing issues in the country's economy.


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