At present, Nigeria has 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory. These states were not created on the same day. As successive governments came to power they created more new states. In the history of Nigeria, creation of states has always been done by military governments. No civilian government has created states in Nigeria.
At independence and up to 1967, Nigeria was made up of four regions. These were: Northern region; Western region; Eastern region; and, Midwestern region. From these regions, Yakubu Gowon, who was the Head of State, created twelve states in 1967.
In 1976, the government of Yakubu Gowon, was overthrown, and Murtala Muhammed, became the Head of State. Murtala brought the number of states to 19 by creating additional seven states. Thus Nigeria had a total of 19 states till 1987.
In 1987, Nigeria's military president, Ibrahim Babangida, created two more states to bring the total to 21. The states are, Akwa Ibom and Katsina. Babangida was to further increase the number of states to 30 in 1991, when he created additional nine states. The states include: Abia, Enugu, Delta, Jigawa, Kebbi, Osun, Kogi, Taraba, and Yobe.
Sanni Abacha who took over government in 1993, increased the number to thirty six. In 1996, Abacha created the following states: Ebonyi, Bayelsa, Nasarawa, Zamfara, Gombe, and Ekiti. That was the last time states were created in Nigeria.
There have been several demand for the creation of more states by different ethnic nationalities since this democracy in 1999, but successive civilian governments have not been able to do that.
The creation of new states help to bring the governed closer to the government. It enhances the chances of participation of those at the grassroots in government. Again, it also brings development nearer to the people as there is more spread of resources to the local communities.
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