The slogan of Cross River State is The People’s Paradise. Have you ever wondered why? Why does it seem rather quiet in Nigerian politics? No worries. I have packaged twenty-five interesting facts that will keep you at the edge of whatever you are sitting on. Enjoy!
- Originally created in 1967 as South-Eastern State, it was named Cross River State in 1976 after the River Cross (Oyono River), which rises from the Cameroun Mountains and empties itself into the Atlantic Ocean.
- It is bounded to the East by Cameroun Republic, to the South by Akwa-Ibom and the Atlantic Ocean, to the West by Abia and Ebonyi States and to the North by Benue State.
- It is the 19th largest state in terms of size and 28th in terms of population in Nigeria.
- Ejagham and Efik are the major spoken languages in the state.
- The Efik language is widely spoken in Cross River State, and as far as Arochukwu in bordering Abia State.
- The capital is Calabar, one of Nigeria’s clean and safe cities. It also has a major seaport.
- There are 18 local governments Areas (Abi, Akamkpa, Akpabuyo, Bakassi, Bekwarra, Biase, Boki, Calabar Municipal, Calabar South, Etung, Ikom, Obanliku, Obubra, Obudu, Odukpani, Ogoja, Yakurr and Yala) in the state that make up 3 senatorial districts.
- Major cities are Calabar, Ugep, Ikom, Obudu and Ogoja.
- Only one major (federal) road connects 10 local government areas from the popular Watt market in Calabar. They are, Calabar South, Calabar Municipal, Odukpani, Akamkpa, Biase, Yakurr, Obubra, Ikom, Yala and Ogoga. The road still goes on to Kastina-Ala in Benue State.
- Cross River is the only state in Nigeria, which Governor (Ben Ayade) and Deputy Governor (Ivara Esu) are professors (egg-heads). Ayade hails from Obudu while Esu is from Biase.
- The rarest animals and plants can be found in forests located in Boki local government.
- The highest concentration of different species of butterflies in the world can be found in Akamkpa.
- With an average population density of about sixty-five persons per square kilometers, Cross River State is about the most sparsely settled state in Southern Nigeria.
- Cross River State boasts of being the venue for the largest carnival in Africa.
- Various annual festivals are, Cross River State Carnival (26-29 December) in Calabar, Yakurr Leboku Yam festival (28 August) in Ugep and the Calabar Boat Regatta.
- Cross River State is the leading tourism state in the country. Especially the capital, Calabar. Visitors from different parts of Nigeria come to the city in large numbers all year around.
- Tourist attractions are, the soaring plateaus of the mountain tops of Obanliku, the Obudu Mountain Resort, the Rain forests and Mountain walkway canopy of Afi, Waterfalls at Agbokim and Kwa, the monoliths at Ikom, Cross River National Park at Boki and the Obubra Lake at Obubra. Others are, the Etanpim Cave, in Odukpani, the Tinapa Business Resort, Calabar Marina Resort (which houses the Calabar Slave Museum, the Cinema and a view of the Calabar River where one could take a boat ride around or to Oron in Akwa-Ibom State), Calabar Residency Museum and Mary Slessor Tomb.
- Cross River State can be accessed by air through the Margaret Ekpo International Airport at Calabar and the Bebi airstrip at Obanliku, by sea through the Calabar seaport and by road from different parts of the country to other parts of the state.
- The main crops can be found in the northern and central part of the state. These are cassava, yams, rice, plantain, banana, cocoyam, maize, cocoa, rubber, groundnut and palm produce. While in the south, sea foods are mostly eaten.
- Major livestock in the State are cattle, goats and sheep. Rearing activities are mainly undertaken by Fulanis, except in Obanliku at the Obudu Cattle Ranch where organized cattle ranching takes place.
- Mineral resources in Cross River State include limestone, titanium, tin ore, ceramic materials and hard stone.
- Tertiary educational institutions include: the University of Calabar and the Cross River State University of Technology both in Calabar, the Ibrahim Babangida College of Agriculture in Obubra and Technical College, Ugep.
- The weirdest of all cultures. Compared to other cultures in the state, in Obudu, Northern Cross River, where the State Governor hails from, the wedding ceremony is done in the groom’s house instead of the bride’s house.
- Notable people from Calabar includes: Louis Edet (Nigeria’s first indigenous Inspector General of Police), Etim Henshaw (Nigeria’s first football team captain), Margaret Ekpo, Donald Duke, Benedict Ayade, Kate Henshaw Nutall, Florence Ita-Giwa, Victor Ndoma-Egba, Shan George etc.
- On Thursday, November 30, 2017, Governor Ben Ayade presented a budget (Budget of Kinetic Crystallisation) of N1.3 trillion for the 2018 fiscal year to the Cross River State House of Assembly. The budget is the largest for a single state in Nigeria’s history.
Ayomide Akinbode holds a degree in Chemistry but has a passion for History and Classics. When he is not writing, he’s either sleeping or playing Scrabble.