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ENUGU STATE
Posted to the web: 1/30/2003 10:24:59 AM
 
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BACKGROUND INFORMATION

Historical Development: Enugu State was created on August 27, 1991 with the city of Enugu as its capital. The state derives its name from the capital city which was established in 1912 as a small coal mining town, but later grew to become the capital of the former Eastern Region of Nigeria (Ministry of Information, 1992). In 1967, when the Gowon administration created twelve states in Nigeria, Enugu remained the capital of the East Central State of Nigeria, one of the three states carved out of the former Easthern Region.

Sir Michael Okpara Square, Enugu
Sir Michael Okpara Square, Enugu

Nine years later, two states, Anambra and Imo, were carved out of the East Central State and Enugu continued to serve as the capital of Anambra state. The administrative hinterland of the city became much smaller in 1991 when Anambra State was further split to form Enugu State and the new Anambra State.

In 1996, the Abakaliki area, one of the three political and administrative divisions of Enugu State, was carved out and added to a part of Abia State to make up Ebonyi State, which was cre ated in that year along with five others. Today, Enugu State covers a much reduced territory com pared to its size in 1991 when it was initially created.

The town of Enugu, where coal is found in commercial quantity, is euphemistically referred to as the "coal city." The immediate fortunes of the state appear to be tied, among other things, with the rehabilitation of the coal industry, and citizens of the state take delight in being associated with the pseudonym of "the coal city state."

Indeed, the shooting of Nigerian coal miners in Enugu in 1949, by military officers of the British colonial administra tion, contributed very much as a catalyst in changing the political history of the country towards the granting of Independence.

Administrative Areas: There are seventeen local government areas (LGAs) in the state, five of which are largely urban. The local government areas and their headquarters are shown in Table 14.1.

Administrative Structure: At the helm of affairs in the state is the executive Governor, assist ed by the Deputy Governor. Other components of the State Executive Council are Commissioners and the Secretary to the state government. The Governor is also assisted by a number of Special Advisers and Special Assistants. The state legisla ture, the lawmaking body, is headed by the Speaker.

Monument in Memory of Nigerian Coal Miners Killed in 1949, Iva Valley
Monument in Memory of Nigerian Coal Miners Killed in 1949, Iva Valley

He is assisted by the Clerk of the House in the general administration of the Assembly. The seventeen local government areas are each headed by an Executive Chairman, assisted by a Deputy Chairman and several supervisory councillors.

Each Local government has a quasi legislative arm composed of councillors who repre sent the various wards. Some communities are governed by a system of gerontocracy in which a council of elders forms the government. One of the members, usually the oldest, is designated the Community Head, or Chief, or Traditional Ruler.

He works with a cabinet of executive and ordinary members who represent their respective villages. Other communities select their chiefs or traditional rulers in accordance with their written constitution. In all cases, each com munity has a town union (also known as Community Development Association) headed by a President.

The President works with a team of assisting executive members chosen through a popular election. Town Unions spearhead develop ment activities and ensure that the state govern ment's new programmes are implemented. At the head of the traditional political system is the first son ("Okpala").

He holds the symbol of political and religious authority called "Ofo." In some parts of the state, however, the agegrade system of government is used, and in many others, traditional government is by titled societies (Nze na Ozo). Generally, these forms of government make use of masquerade societies to execute decisions.

 

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