Historical Development: Gombe State, "Jewel in the Savannah," was created
on 1st October, 1996 by the General Sani Abacha administration. Its creation
was a fulfilment of the aspirations of the people who, for long, had been yearning
for a state of their own out of the then Bauchi State.
The genesis of the struggle dates back to 1979. Since its creation, the state
has been growing fast, blessed with abundant physical, human and economic resources.
One of the criteria for an area to qualify for State creation is economic viability.
There is no doubt that Gombe fulfiled that criterion.
It is a confluence of economic activities, by its position as the meeting point
for business people from the surrounding states. The states include: Borno and
Yobe to the north and east, Taraba and Adamawa to the south, and Bauchi to the
west. This advantage has made the state vibrant in all respects.
In addition, the land is blessed with natu ral resources, while the people
are highly industri ous and enterprising. Thus, within the short period of its
existence, it has made tremendous progress.
Location and Size: Gombe State is located between latitude 9°30' and
12°30'N and longitudes 8°45' and 11 °45'E of the Greenwich Meridian. It lies
within the NorthEast region of Nigeria and occupies a total land area of about
20,265sq. km. The state had, by 1998, an estimated population of 1,820,415 inhabitants.
Administrative Areas: Gombe State comprised eleven Local Government
Areas (LGAs) in 1999, the same number created in 1996 (see Map151 Gombe State
Administrative) However, some of the LGAs, notably Akko, Dukku and Gombe have
been in existence since 1976, as part of the then Bauchi State.
Indeed, most of the LGAs in the state today, were created in 1989 or 1992
and thus existed before 1996, when three new LGAs were carved out to make up
the eleven the state now has (Table 15.1). The state, really and historically,
corresponds largely to the Gombe Emirate under the Emir of Gombe, and made up
of five chiefdoms, viz. Cham, Dadiya, Kaltungo, Tangale and Waja. It comprises
such previously dependent and powerful emirates
and chiefdoms as Gombe, Tangele and Waja. Gombe town is the administrative
capital of the state, as it has been for the Emirate, the seat of the Emir.
Its population of about 200,000 makes it the largest centre in the state. It
is also the commercial and zonal services headquarters in Nigeria for many Federal
Government establishments, includ ing NNPC.NEPA, NITEL Territorial Office, NIPOST
Territorial Office and Nigerian Railway Corporation.