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Overview of Nigerian Administrative Subdivisions

Last modified: 2013-09-27 by bruce berry
Keywords: nigeria | subnational entities |
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Background

Initially Nigeria  consisted of only three regions (Western, Northern, Eastern) and Lagos Capital District.  Following the Nigerian Civil War, or the Biafra crisis, an administrative reform was undertaken in Nigeria.  The reform weakened the power of the separate regions and the power of the various ethnic groups (Haussa peoples in Northern region, Yoruba peoples in Western Region and Igbo peoples in Eastern Region).  In 1964, the Mid Western Region was separated from the Western Region. Thus it gave a "remix" in the balance of power of the peoples of Yoruba and Igbo.

In 1967, in a move towards greater autonomy for minority ethnic groups, the military under leadership of Major General Yakubu Gowon divided the four regions into 12 states.  However the Igbo rejected attempts at constitutional revisions and insisted on full autonomy for the east.  On 29 May 1967 Lt. Col. Emeka Ojukwu, the military governor of the Eastern Region who emerged as the leader of increasing Igbo secessionist movement, declared the independence of the eastern region as the "Republic of Biafra." The ensuing Nigerian Civil War resulted in over 30,000 deaths before ending in the defeat of Biafra in 1970.

In 1976 there was a further reform of the administrative structure and the number of subdivisions was changed again.  In subsequent reforms of the administrative divisions in Nigeria, the states did not have symbols.*
Jens Pattke, 08 July 2006

*[ed: see Nigeria: Flags of Subdivisions since 1970 for an update to this post]


Primary Subdivisions of Nigeria
 

Regions States
1 October 1960 to
23 January 1964
23 January 1964 to
27 May 1967
27 May 1967 to
03 February 1976
03 February 1976 to
23-September 1987
23 September 1987 to
27 August 1991
27 August 1991 to
1 October 1996
Since
1 October 1996
Lagos Federal District Lagos Federal District Lagos (1) Lagos Lagos Lagos Lagos
Eastern Eastern East Central Anambra Anambra Anambra Anambra
Enugu Enugu
Imo Imo Imo Imo
Abia Abia
Ebonyi
Rivers Rivers Rivers Rivers Rivers
Bayelsa
South Eastern Crossriver Crossriver Crossriver Crossriver
Akwa Ibon Akwa Ibon Akwa Ibon
Northern Northern Benue-Plateau Plateau Plateau Plateau Plateau
Nassarawa
Benue Benue Benue Benue
Kano Kano Kano Kano Kano
Jigawa Jigawa
North Central Kaduna Kaduna Kaduna Kaduna
Katsina Katsina Katsina
North Eastern Bornu Bornu Bornu Bornu
Yobi Yobi
Bauchi Bauchi Bauchi Bauchi
Gombe
Gongola Gongola Adamawa Adamawa
Taraba Taraba
North Western Sokoto Sokoto Sokoto Sokoto
Zamfara
Kebbi Kebbi
Niger Niger Niger Niger
Western Central Kwara Kwara Kwara Kwara
Kogi Kogi
Western Western Western Oyo Oyo Oyo Oyo
Osun Osun
Ogun Ogun Ogun Ogun
Ondo Ondo Ondo Ondo
Ekiti
Mid Western Mid Western Bendel Bendel Edo Edo
Delta Delta
Federal Capital
Territory (2)
Federal Capital
Territory
Federal Capital
Territory
Federal Capital
Territory
Federal Capital
Territory
1 October 1960 to
23 January 1964
23 January 1964 to
27 May 1967
27 May 1967 to
03 February 1976
03 February 1976 to
23-September 1987
23 September 1987 to
27 August 1991
27 August 1991 to
1 October 1996
Since
1 October 1996
Regions States

(1) Lagos State formed by merging the then-federal district with portions of the Western Region
(2) Formed from parts of Plateau, North Central and North Western States

The coats of arms of the Nigerian regions was created by the Royal Warrant in 1958. The later coat of arms of the Nigerian states have more African motifs.
Jens Pattke, 23 Dec 2009