Imo State, located in the southeastern region of Nigeria, is a place of diverse landscapes and local governance structures. One frequently asked question is, “How many local governments does Imo State have?” This article is here to offer a clear response to this query while also delving into additional essential details about the state.
Before we reveal the number of local governments in Imo State, let’s take a journey through the heart of this Nigerian state. Beyond knowing the number of local governments, we will unveil important information about Imo State’s geographical location, its approximate population, and various other aspects that set this state apart within the nation, among others. Join us on this exploration of Imo State.
About Imo State
Imo State, located in the south-east geopolitical zone of Nigeria, is bordered by Anambra State to the north, Rivers State to the west and south, and Abia State to the east. It is named after the Imo River that runs along its eastern border, with Owerri as its capital and the nickname “Eastern Heartland.”
The state was created on February 3, 1976, and its governor at the time of my knowledge cutoff in September 2021 was Hope Uzodinma. Imo State covers an area of 5,530 square kilometers and had an estimated population of over 4.9 million in 2017. It’s known as “Imolite.”
The state’s economy relies heavily on agriculture, particularly palm oil production, which is a staple for cooking. Additionally, crude oil and natural gas extraction contribute to the economy, mainly in the northern and western regions. Imo State has a history marked by occasional violence, such as the 1996 Otokoto Riots and ongoing separatist conflicts involving the Eastern Security Network and other nativist groups.
Despite its challenges, Imo State has experienced population growth and industrialization, and it ranks sixth in Nigeria for the Human Development Index. The state has a rich history, with the Igbo language being a lingua franca alongside English, and it was once part of the Kingdom of Nri and the Aro Confederacy. It played a role in anti-colonial resistance and was involved in the Nigerian Civil War as part of Biafra before becoming a separate state in 1976.
Imo State, situated in southeastern Nigeria, is bordered by Abia State to the east, the River Niger and Delta State to the west, Anambra State to the north, and Rivers State to the south. Geographically, the state spans latitudes 4°45’N to 7°15’N and longitudes 6°50’E to 7°25’E, covering an area of approximately 5,100 square kilometers.
The state boasts various natural resources, including crude oil, natural gas, lead, Calcium Carbonate, and renewable energy sources like solar and wind power. It’s also rich in diverse flora, such as iroko, mahogany, obeche, bamboo, rubber trees, and oil palm. Additionally, white clay, fine sand, and limestone can be found in the region.
Imo State experiences a distinct climate, with the rainy season commencing in April and lasting until October, bringing annual rainfall levels ranging from 1,500 mm to 2,200 mm (60 to 80 inches). The region maintains an average annual temperature above 20°C (68.0°F), resulting in an annual relative humidity of 75%, which rises to 90% during the rainy season. The dry season is marked by a two-month period of Harmattan, occurring from late December to late February, with the hottest months between January and March.
Despite its natural richness, Imo State faces challenges due to high population density and over-farming, which have led to soil degradation and deforestation. These issues are exacerbated by heavy seasonal rainfall, contributing to soil erosion and the destruction of houses and roads in the area.
Imo State faces significant environmental challenges, with soil erosion being the most prevalent geo-environmental hazard. There are over 360 erosion sites in the state, 57 of which are critical and require immediate attention. These gullies, found in various areas, are mainly attributed to poor civil engineering practices, especially in road and gutter construction, as well as sand mining. Runoff control during road construction is often inadequate, and there are no proper measures to reduce intense water flow during gutter construction, leading to erosion issues, especially at the intersection of gutters and roads. As a result, farmlands, road paths, and social infrastructure like electricity and water supply have been severely affected. The pollution of surface water and streams from runoff at these gully sites has also impacted communities that rely on such water sources.
Efforts to combat soil erosion include the Nigeria Erosion and Watershed Management Project (NEWMAP), initiated in the state in 2014, and interventions from the Ecological Fund. Several communities have benefited from NEWMAP projects, aiming to mitigate the effects of erosion in Imo State.
Flooding is another environmental concern, with specific areas being identified as high, moderate, or low flood hazard zones. Flooding has caused damage, displacement, and destruction of farmlands in various communities, including the state capital, Owerri.
The primary occupation in Imo State is agriculture, but soil degradation due to over-farming and high population density is a significant issue. Inefficient production techniques, primitive agricultural methods, and inadequate investment have contributed to declining soil productivity. To address these challenges, the state government and private companies need to intervene and support the agricultural sector, as relying solely on crude oil, natural gas, and palm oil will not suffice for the state’s development.
Imo State was established in 1976 as part of a broader creation of new states under the leadership of Nigeria’s late military ruler, Murtala Muhammed. It was previously part of the East-Central State. The state derives its name from the Imo River, which is connected to a prominent Nigerian family of the same name that held leadership positions in the region before the establishment of a more formal government. In 1991, a portion of Imo State was split off to create Abia State, and another part became Ebonyi State.
The process of creating Imo State, initiated after the conclusion of the Nigerian Civil War in 1970, began at Ngwoma and was overseen by Eze S. E. Onukogu. Over the years, Imo State has witnessed various historical events, including the Otokoto riots of 1996, which were a response to kidnappings and murders in the state. It also played a role in the nationwide #ENDSARS protests that led to riots, the destruction of police stations, and the loss of lives.
Imo State has a three-tier administrative structure encompassing state, local, and autonomous community levels. The state’s governance is divided into the Executive, Legislative, and Judicial arms. The Executive is headed by an elected Governor, who is supported by a deputy governor, commissioners, and executive advisers.
Imo State is home to over 4.8 million people, with varying population densities across the region, ranging from 230 to 1,400 people per square kilometer. The majority of the population practices Christianity. Notable towns in the state include Orlu, Obowo, Oguta, Awo-Omamma, Mgbidi, Mbaise, Okigwe, and Ohaji/Egbema.
The state is predominantly Igbo-speaking, with Igbo people making up around 98% of the population. In terms of politics, Imo State operates under a democratic system led by an elected governor who collaborates with members of the state’s house of assembly. Owerri serves as the state capital.
The state’s electoral system is based on a modified two-round system. To win in the first round, a candidate must secure both the plurality of the vote and over 25% of the vote in at least two-thirds of the State Local Government Areas. If no candidate meets these criteria, a second round is held between the top candidate and the next candidate with the highest number of Local Government Areas where they received the plurality of votes.
How Many Local Government In Imo State?
Imo State currently has a total of twenty-seven (27) local government areas (LGAs). These LGAs serve as administrative divisions within the state, each with its own local government council responsible for local governance and development initiatives. This regional structure helps facilitate the efficient delivery of public services and the administration of local affairs in Imo State.
Local Government in Imo State (List)
- Aboh Mbaise
- Ahiazu Mbaise
- Ehime Mbano
- Ezinihitte Mbaise
- Ideato North
- Ideato South
- Ihitte Uboma
- Isiala Mbano
- Ngor Okpala
- Oru East
- Oru West
- Owerri Municipal
- Owerri North
- Owerri West