The appellation for Cross River State is The People’s Paradise. Have you ever wondered why? What makes the capital city, Calabar, so special? Did you know that Cross River State is also home to some firsts in Nigerian history? Don’t worry. Relax. I have packaged twenty-five interesting facts that will keep you at the edge of whatever you are sitting on; and on your toes, if you are standing. If you are lying down, well, just enjoy!
Cross River State
- Originally created in 1967 as South-Eastern State, Cross River State was named after the River Cross or the River Oyono in 1976. The river rises from the Cameroon Mountains and empties itself into the Atlantic Ocean.
- Cross River State is bounded to the East by the Republic of Cameroon, to the South by Akwa-Ibom State and the Atlantic Ocean, to the West by Abia and Ebonyi States and to the North by Benue State.
- The State is the 19th largest state in Nigeria in terms of size and 28th in terms of population.
- Ejagham and Efik are the major spoken languages in Cross River 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 cleanest and safest cities. It also has a major seaport.
- There are 18 Local Government Areas (Abi, Akamkpa, Akpabuyo, Bakassi, Bekwarra, Biase, Boki, Calabar Municipal, Calabar South, Etung, Ikom, Obanliku, Obubra, Obudu, Odukpani, Ogoja, Yakurr, and Yala) in Cross River State that make up three senatorial districts.
- Major cities in Cross River State 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.
- As of 2018, Cross River State is the only state in Nigeria, which Governor (Ben Ayade) and Deputy Governor (Ivara Esu) are eggheads (professors). Ayade hails from Obudu while Esu is from Biase.
- The rarest animals and plants in Cross River State can be found in forests located in Boki Local Government Area.
- Interestingly, the highest concentration of different species of butterflies in the world can be found in Akamkpa Local Government Area of the State.
- 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 Nigeria. Especially the capital, Calabar. Visitors from different parts of Nigeria come to the city in large numbers all year round.
- 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 parts of the state. These are cassava, yams, rice, plantain, banana, cocoyam, maize, cocoa, rubber, groundnut, and palm produce. While in the south, various kinds of seafood are mostly eaten.
- Major livestock in the State are cattle, goats, and sheep. Rearing activities are mainly undertaken by the Fulani herdsmen, 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 incumbent State Governor hails from, the wedding ceremony is done in the groom’s house instead of the bride’s house.
- Notable people from Calabar include Louis Edet (Nigeria’s first indigenous Inspector General of Police), Etim Henshaw (The Red Devils of Nigeria’s famous football team captain), Margaret Ekpo, Donald Duke, Benedict Ayade, Kate Henshaw Nutall, Florence Ita-Giwa, Victor Ndoma-Egba, Shan George, and others too numerous to mention.
- On Thursday, November 30, 2017, Governor Ben Ayade presented the Budget of Kinetic Crystallisation of N1.3 trillion for the 2018 fiscal year to the Cross River State House of Assembly. The budget was the largest for a single state in Nigeria’s history.
Are there other interesting facts or personalities from Cross River State that are not captured in this article, kindly share them in the comments below.
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