Imo State

Imo State

Imo is one of the 36 states of Nigeria and lies in the South East of Nigeria. Owerri is its capital and largest city. Its other major cities are Orlu and Okigwe. Located in the south-eastern region of Nigeria, it occupies the area between the lower River Niger and the upper and middle Imo River.

Imo State is bordered by Abia State on the East, River Niger and Delta State to the West, Anambra State on the North and Rivers State to the South.[4] The state lies within latitudes 4°45’N and 7°15’N, and longitude 6°50’E and 7°25’E with an area of around 5,100 sq km.[5]

The economy of the state depends primarily on agriculture and commerce.

Rivers and lakes
The Orashi River has its source in Imo State. Imo River, being the major river in the State, drains through Abia State, where it is joined by Aba River from the North, and Akwa Ibom State into the Atlantic Ocean.:4 There are Njaba River, Oguta Lake, Utu River and Awbana River in the State. Otamiri River and its 9.2 km length tributary, Nworie River flow in the State.:4 There are other rivers and creeks in the state including Onas Creek in Ohaji/Egbema, Okitankwo River in Umudi, and Ohia and Efuru Rivers in Okigwe.:5

Natural resources
The state has several natural resourced including crude oil, natural gas, lead, Calcium Cabornate and zinc.[4][6]

Profitable flora including iroko, mahogany, obeche, bamboo, rubber tree and oil palm. Additionally white clay, fine sand and limestone are found in the state.[4]

Imo’s major towns include Isu, Okigwe, Oguta, Orlu, Atta Ikeduru, Akokwa, Mbaise, Mbaitoli, Mbieri, Ohaji/Egbema, Orodo, Nkwerre, Ubulu, Ngor Okpala, Omuma, Mgbidi, Awo-Omamma, Izombe, Orsu, Amaigbo and Mbano

Oil and gas exploration
There are over 163 oil wells at over 12 different locations in the state.[4] The main petroleum companies operating in the state are Addax Petroleum, Chevron Corporation, Royal Dutch Shell and Agip.[4] Some of the established oil-rich local government councils include Ohaji/Egbema, Oguta, Oru East, Iho, Oru West, Obowo and Ngor Okpala.[7]

Investment opportunities
Many investment opportunities exist in the state including oil and gas exploration, chemical plants, brewery plants, hydroelectric plants, gas-fired power plants, grain mills, starch production, cashews, fruit and vegetable juice concentrate production, integrated multi-oil seed processing plants, ceramics, Inland Waterway Transport, Integrated Palm Produce Industry et al.[4]

Independent global brewer, Heineken through its subsidiary Nigerian Breweries has significant investment in Imo State.[8] The company manages the world-class Awo-omamma Brewery, a multiple-line brewery plant.[9]

Many more oil and gas opportunities are yet to be developed.[4] The federal government has been called to inspect newly discovered oil-rich areas which might help foster economic development and job creation.[10]

Industrial parks and processing zones to harness the huge agricultural produce and minerals would give a major boost to the state’s economic growth and industrialization.[4]

Oguta Lake, Palm Beach Holiday Resort in Awo-omamma and a host of other tourist sites along the banks of the 26 km-length Njaba River present hotspots for tourism.[11]:34

The chief occupation of the local people is farming but due to over-farming and high population density, the soil has greatly degraded. The cash crops include oil palm, raffia palm, rice, groundnut, melon, cotton, cocoa, rubber, maize, etc. Consumable crops such as yam, cassava, cocoyam and maize are also produced in large quantities.[4]

The rainy season begins in April and lasts until October[12] with annual rainfall varying from 1,500mm to 2,200mm (60 to 80 inches).[5][13]

An average annual temperature above 20 °C (68.0 °F) creates an annual relative humidity of 75%. With humidity reaching 90% in the rainy season. The dry season experiences two months of Harmattan from late December to late February. The hottest months are between January and March.[5][12][13]

With high population density and over farming, the soil has been degraded and much of the native vegetation has disappeared.[5]

This deforestation has triggered soil erosion which is compounded by heavy seasonal rainfall that has led to the destruction of houses and roads.[5][14][15]

Imo State came into existence in 1976 along with other new states created under the leadership of the late military ruler of Nigeria, Murtala Muhammad, having been previously part of East-Central State. The state is named after the Imo River.[16] Part of it was split off in 1991 as Abia State, and another part became Ebonyi State. Imo state was created at Ngwoma and the meetings for the state creation which began after the Nigerian Civil War ended in 1970 were chaired by Chief S. E. Onukogu.

The state has a three-tier administrative structure: State, Local and Autonomous community levels. The three arms at state level are the Executive, the Legislative and the Judiciary. The executive arm is headed by an elected Governor who is assisted by a deputy governor, commissioners and executive advisers.

This is a list of administrators and Governors of Imo State since its creation.

Name Title Took Office Left Office Party
Ndubuisi Kanu Governor Mar 1976 1977 (Military)
Adekunle Lawal Governor 1977 Jul 1978 (Military)
Sunday Ajibade Adenihun Governor Jul 1978 Oct 1979 (Military)
Samuel Onunaka Mbakwe Governor 1 Oct 1979 31 Dec 1983 NPP
Ike Nwachukwu Governor Jan 1984 Aug 1985 (Military)
Allison Amakoduna Madueke Governor Aug 1985 1986 (Military)
Amadi Ikwechegh Governor 1986 1990 (Military)
Anthony E. Oguguo Governor Aug 1990 Jan 1992 (Military)
Evan Enwerem Governor Jan 1992 Nov 1993 NRC
James N.J. Aneke Administrator 9 Dec 1993 22 Aug 1996 (Military)
Tanko Zubairu Administrator 22 Aug 1996 May 1999 (Military)
Achike Udenwa Governor 29 May 1999 29 May 2007 PDP
Ikedi G. Ohakim Governor 29 May 2007 29 May 2011 PPA / PDP
Owelle Rochas Anayo Okorocha Governor 29 May 2011 To Date APGA/APC
The legislative arm is headed by the Speaker of the State House of Assembly who is currently speaker Rt. Hon. Ihenacho Ihim and his deputy, Rt. Hon. Ugonna Ozurigbo[17] The remainder of the house is made up of elected legislators from the 27 LGAs of the state

The judiciary is made up of the high court of justice and customary court of appeal and is headed by the Chief Judge of the state.[18]

Agriculture and Natural Resources
Industry and Tourism
Works and Transport
Youths and Sports
Women Affairs
Internal Resources and Pension Matters
Local Government and Rural Development
Happiness and Purpose Fulfilment
English and Igbo

Local Government Areas
Imo State consists of twenty-seven (27) Local Government Areas. They are:

Aboh Mbaise
Ahiazu Mbaise
Ehime Mbano
Ezinihitte Mbaise
Ideato North
Ideato South
Isiala Mbano
Ngor Okpala
Oru East
Oru West
Owerri Municipal
Owerri North
Owerri West
Smaller jurisdictions in the state may receive Township Status or Urban Status.[19]

The state is over 4.8 million people and the population density varies from 230–1,400 people per square kilometre.[5] Christianity is the predominant religion.

In addition to English being official language, Imo state is a predominantly Igbo speaking state, with Igbo people constituting a majority of 98%.[20]

There are several institutions of higher learning including state and federal government run institutions. They are as follows:

Imo State University
Federal University of Technology, Owerri.[21]
Federal Polytechnic, Nekede
Eastern Palm University, Ogboko, Ideato
Imo State Polytechnic, Umuagwo
Alvan Ikoku College of Education
Technological Skills Acqisition Institute, Orlu
Notable people
Imo has produced a number of notable people in all walks of life, one of whom is Engr. Morgan K Orioha. Born on 2nd July 1981 in Umuezukwe, Awo-Omamma of Oru East Local Government Area.[22] Morgan Kelechukwu Orioha is the fourth son of his parents. His father Mr Michael Orioha died in 2004, leaving behind Ezinne Beatrice Orioha (nee Obi) and other children. Morgan is married to Thelma Ogbejesi, a nurse. Both Engr. Morgan and Mrs Thelma Orioha now have two children. Nonetheless, Morgan attended St Anthony’s Primary School (now Umuezukwe Primary School), Awo-Omamma, one of the schools founded by the early missionaries.[23]To acquire a post-primary education, he later proceeded to Bishop Shanahan Secondary School, Orlu, Imo.[24] Owing to his father’s illness, Morgan received a financial support throughout his educationalstudies from his brothers, especially from Sir Herbert Orioha. Thus, in 2005, he bagged Bachelor of Engineering (BEng) in Electrical and Electronic Engineering from Anambra State University, Nigeria. He received his MSc in Mobile and Satellite Communications from the University of Glamorgan, the UK, in 2008.

Morgan is a liberal democrat. He became naturalised in the UK in December 2017. He is currently a member of Conservative Party of the UK. As a student leader, Morgan was Chairman of Faculty of Engineering Students (2002), Political Adviser to Student Union Government (SUG) President (2003), and presidential candidate in the annulled Anambra State University SUG election of 2004. He has served his community, Awo-omamma through, Awo-omamma Development Forum (ADF) – a community development organisation- in various capacities including as Chairman of the Publications and Award Committee, Editor of the Omamma Voice Magazine, and member of the Literature and Culture Promotion Committee. Morgan is a member of the Board of Directors of Forward Thinkers Foundation, a non-profit Nigerian organisation. He has served the organisation as Directors of Communications, and Finance respectively.[25]

Morgan escaped bankruptcy in 2017 through an Individual Voluntary Arrangement (IVA). By 20th April 2017, his IVA proposal was approved by his creditors and the process commenced officially on 30th of April 2017. By 1st of March 2018, his creditors accepted the full and final settlement offer. On 8th March 2018, the full and final settlement offer was paid for closure of the debt management process.[26]

Chioma Ajunwa – 1996 Olympic gold long jumper
Christy Opara – 1997/98 60 meters Fastest Woman in the world and 1992 Olympic Bronze medalist on Track and Field
Nwankwo Kanu – National footballer
Emmanuel Amunike – 1994 African Player of the Year and Olympic-winning soccer star
Samuel Okwaraji – was a National Footballer (19 May 1964 – 12 August 1989)
Prince Amukamara – Cornerback for the New York Giants
Kelechi Iheanacho – Striker for Leicester City, U-17 World Cup winner and tournament’s MVP (2013)
Nnamdi Asomugha – Former Oakland Raiders and Philadelphia Eagles Cornerback
Christian Okoye – Former running back for the Kansas City Chiefs
Alban Uzoma Nwapa – Eurodance musician
Christogonus Ezebuiro Obinna – Highlife musician
Genevieve Nnaji – Nollywood actress
John Munonye – Author
Judith Chichi Opara Mazagwu – Nigerian actress, musician and businesswoman
Kanayo O. Kanayo- Actor
Clem Ohameze- Actor
Obianuju Catherine Acholonu – Author
Onyeka Nwelue- Author, scholar, actor, entrepreneur
Onyeka Onwenu – Singer, actress and politician
Osita Iheme – Actor
Rita Dominic Nigerian actress
Stephanie Okereke- Actress
Charly Boy – Hip hop singer and Activist
Chile Eboe-Osuji – Judge, International Court of Criminal Justice, Hague
Pats Acholonu – Supreme Court Justice
Christina Anyanwu – journalist and senator
Kema Chikwe – former Minister of Aviation
Evan Enwerem – former governor and former President of the Senate
Ikedi Ohakim – former governor
Rochas Okorocha – present governor
Prince Eze Madumere – Present Deputy Governor
Collins E. Ijoma – the youngest US Trial Court Administrator
Daniel Kanu – Politician, Businessman and Philanthropist. Organizer of 2 Million Man March, largest gathering in History of Nigeria
Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu – politician and businessman
K. O. Mbadiwe – former Minister of Commerce and Industry
Sam Mbakwe – former Governor
Fabian Osuji – former Minister of Education
Achike Udenwa – former Governor
Maurice Iwu – former INEC chairman
Chinwe Obaji – Professor and former Minister of Education
Raymond Njoku – Former Minister of Transportation
Ugonna Ozurigbo – Deputy Speaker, Imo State House of Assembly(2015-) & Member
Chief Dr. Walter Ofonagoro – Former Minister of Information and Culture
Evelyn Okere – Nigerian businesswoman, publisher, fashion designer and the organizer of the St. Eve West African Fashion Week.
Adiele Afigbo – historian
Michael Echeruo – academic and writer in Igbo studies

About The Editor 438 Articles
The Editor of The Heartlander. - News & Views from Imo State, the Eastern Heartland of Nigeria

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