Edo State is an inland state in central southern Nigeria. Its capital is Benin City. It was formed in 1991 by the split of Bendel State into Edo and Delta State. Languages spoken in the state include Bini, Esan, Afemai, Ora, Ijo etc.
Edo state is home to several ethnicities, among them the Bini, Esan, Afemai and Ijaw. The state is renowned for its proficiency in sports and athletics and a culture of intellectual edification and scholastic excellence. The University of Benin, one of Nigeria's prominent Universities is located in Edo State, as are other institutions of higher learning.
Tourist attractions, which span the expanse of the state, are exemplified by the Emotan statue in Benin city and the Somorika hills in Akoko Edo. Somorika hills consist of an extended expanse of hills crowned by massive boulders perched precariously on the summits of hills and alongside seemingly inadequate locations on the sides. Indeed the hills form a breathtaking accompaniment to any journey on the road that run alongside them and are particularly enchanting to children.
The desire for an Edo State came to the political front in 1981 when a delegation led by the Oba of Benin visited the Nigerian National Assembly to make claims for the creation of a state out of the old Bendel State.
Edo state shares borders with Ondo State to the west, Kogi State to the North and Delta State to the south. It occupies a land area of between 17,802 - 19,187 square kilometers. It lies at an elevation level of about 500 feet in the south and up to 1800 feet in the north. The state is mainly in the tropical rain forest region of Nigeria but Northern portions are located in the derived savanna zone of the country and some communities in the south fall within the mangrove swamp vegetation. The state undergoes two seasons: rainy season starting from April to October and dry season from November to March with a cold harmattan spell between December and January. In the state is the the Benin lowlands originally a stretch of tropical forest but the increasing interest in the economic value of rubber plantations has reduced the forest population. The state also has the Okomu Wildlife Sanctuary long managed by the Nigerian Conservation Foundation. The Okomu river crosses the old Okomu Forest researve from the Northeast to the Southwest and it is from the river that the forest reserve derives it name. The Okomu sanctuary is located within the state borders and has various species of butterflies and birds. However, through the years, the forest reserves surrounding the sanctuary has been threatened by economic activities by various stakeholders including a 1992 concession granted to Michelin to erect a rubber estate close to the forest reserves. Other striking features are the Afenmai Hills, Orle Valley Basin, Esan Plateau and the Benin Lowlands. The Ikpoba river rises from the Esan Plateau where many Ishan communities live.
Important cities and towns
Benin city is the state's capital and also the largest urban center in the state, it is noted for its historical landmarks and monuments. Other major locations includes, Auchi, Sabongida-Ora, Ekpoma, Irrua and Uromi.
Though, the state is made up of different groups of citizens of various dialects and cultural characteristics, the State is dominated by the Edo speaking people sometimes called Bini and relatively it is one of the more homogeneous states in the nation due to cultural and linguistic affinities of the various groups in the state many of whom trace their history to the ancient Benin empire. Among the major ethnic groups in the state are the Edos who live in the cities of Benin, Ojogbo, and other small villages, Ishans, Etsakos, Owans, ghotuo, and Akoko-Edos.
The state is home to various agricultural and natural resources. The state has fertile land for the cultivation of palm oil, rubber and cocoa while small scale farmers and fishermen plant various food crops such as yam, cassava, rice, plantain, rice, sugar cane, cashew, tomatoes, ground nut, cotton and maize. Agricultural produce has also served as raw materials for a few industries in the state such as Okomu Palm oil and Presco Oil Palm
The state has various industries many utilizing the natural resources located in the area. Among the industries are the Edo State Cement Company at Okpella, sawmills, textile factories, animal feed factories, carpet manufacturing, pottery, blacksmith. The state also has two large breweries, Edo Pharmaceuticals, Bendel Brewery, Nigerian Bottling Company, and the Bendel Feed and Flour Mills
The state is one of Nigeria's oil producing zones, but it also home to various other resources such as clay, limestone,
Arts, culture and tourism
Edo state has many tourist centers including bronze casting centers, the National Museum at Benin, and the Okomu Wildlife Sanctuary. The state also has a rich heritage of artworks including brass casting of natural and stylized sequences, also, the Benin empire was known for its over a century works of bronze sculptors and wood carvings commissioned by various royal courts. Some of the artworks are located in the National Museum, Benin just around a popular roundabout. Also located in Benin around the GRA area are Hexagon Bar and Hypnotic Bar and many other restaurants and bars, the city also hosts various affordable hotels for lodging.
The Rubber Research Institute of Nigeria and the University of Benin is located in the state. While the state government established a state university at Ekpoma. A polytechnic is also located in Auchi and a College of Education in Eki-Adolor.
The Nigerian Institute of Oil Palm Research is also located in the state
Local Government Areas
- 1. Akoko-Edo
- 2. Egor
- 3. Esan-North-East
- 4. Esan-Central
- 5. Esan-South-East
- 6. Esan-West
- 7. Etsako-Central
- 8. Etsako-East
- 9. Etsako-West
- 10. Igueben
- 11. Ikpoba-Okha
- 12. Oredo
- 13. Orhionmwon
- 14. Ovia-North-East
- 15. Ovia-South-West
- 16. Owan-East
- 17. Owan-West
- 18. Uhunmwonde