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CROSS RIVER STATE
Posted to the web: 1/29/2003 1:09:37 PM
 
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BACKGROUND INFORMATION

Historical Development: For Cross River State, the journey to statehood within the Nigerian federation was long and tortuous. It perfectly recapitulates the nation's political history. Far back in the colonial days, what is now Cross River State was the hinterland of one of Nigeria's earliest ports, Old Calabar, which today is the state capital.

 

Bassey Duke Effigy,calabar
Bassey Duke Effigy,calabar

Old Calabar epitomised a civilisation which spread beyond the confines of the present Cross River State. As an important trading and cultural centre before the colonial period, Calabar radiated its traditional and cultural influence far and wide. When it embraced Christianity, it also became a centre for its spread throughout the Cross River Basin.

By the nineteenth century, Old Calabar, with its heterogeneous inhabitants, had become a citadel of learning, the headquarters of British parastatals and the Niger Coast protectorate. It later became the first capital of Southern Nigeria reconstituted by the OrderinCouncil of 1899 (Jaja, Erim and Andah, 1990).

During the colonial administration, the Calabar cultural area comprised the Calabar province which included what is now Akwa lbom State, Arochukwu LGA in Abia State and the Ogoja Province, to which Abakaliki also belonged. Cross River State remained part of the Eastern Region after Nigeria's independence in 1960, and until 1967, when the military government changed the regional structure into a 12state structure.

In this arrangement, Cross River State became part of the SouthEastern State. When, in 1976, the country was further split into nineteen states, the name Cross River State was adopted. It was during the 1987 political reform which resulted in a 21state structure, that the present political identity of Cross River State was established by the removal of what is now Akwa lbom State.

The Cross River State at that time comprised seven local government areas (Calabar Municipality, Odukpani, Akamkpa, Obubra, Ikorn, Ogoja and Obudu).

 

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