HISTORY OF IMO STATE
Imo State was created on February 3, 1976 out of the old East Central State by the then regime of General Murtala Mohammed. Imo State derives its name from Imo River, which takes its course from the Okigwe/Awka upland. It lies within latitudes 4°45’N and 7°15’N, and longitude 6°50’E and 7°25’E.
Abia State was carved out of Imo State in the state creation exercise of 1991. Imo State has Owerri as its capital and largest city. It has 3 Geopolitical Zones: Owerri, Orlu and Okigwe.
Imo State has 27 Local Government Areas namely:
Other major towns are Okigwe, Oguta, Nkwerre, Orlu, Mbaise, Mbano, Mbieri, Ideato, Awo-Idemili, Ohaji, Obowo, Ngor-Okpala, Uzoagba, Emekuku, Orodo, Mgbidi.
Imo State covers an area of 5,530 square kilometres. It has the population of 3,934,899 (2006 Estimate) and is popularly referred to as the Eastern Heartland.
Situated in south eastern Nigeria, Imo shares boundaries with Enugu and Ebonyi States to the north, Anambra State to the west, Rivers State to the south and Cross River and Akwa Ibom States to the east.
The official language of the state is Igbo alongside English. Imo State has a rich cultural heritage, that is manifested in their dressing, music, dance, festivals, arts and crafts.
The main rivers in Imo are Imo, Otamiri and Njaba. The major lakes are Oguta lake in Oguta LGA and Abadaba Lake in Obowo LGA.
The main streams are; Otamiri, Njaba and Orasi rivers, all of which have very few tributaries. With the exception of Imo River, other rivers rise within the coastal plain sands.
The vegetation is tropical rain forest.
Indigenes of the state are predominantly Christians of different denominations, but mostly Catholicism. Some people in the state still practice traditional religions.
- MILITARY ADMINISTRATORS AND GOVERNORS OF IMO STATE
Imo is blessed with abundant natural resources. These include crude oil, lead, zinc, white clay, fine sand, limestone and natural gas in commercial quantities. The state also produces agricultural produce such as palm produce, cocoa and rubber. The main staple crops are yam, cassava, cocoyam and maize.
Scholars, entrepreneurs and seasoned artists also abound in the state. Works of art produced in the state include: carved doors, walking sticks of different designs, sculptures, flutes, wooden mortars and pestles, gongs, and the famous talking drums. Metal works and various types of fabrications are locally produced.
Some art & cultural centers include: The Mbari Cultural Center and Ikemba Ojukwu Cultural Center all situated in Owerri.
Industries include Fuason Industries, Owerri, which produces galvanized iron sheets, the Afrik Enterprises, Awo-Omama, a pharmaceutical company, Imo Concorde Hotel, Owerri.
Industries that had been partially privatized include card packaged Industry, Orlu, Resin Paints Limited, Aboh Mbaise and Aluminium Extrusion Industry, Inyisi. Industries in the private sector include Sab Spare Parts and Allied Accessories, Okigwe, which make motor-spare parts, Oma Pharmaceutical, Awomoma, which produces drugs and medicines, Magil Industries Atta, which makes steel, sponge, bread, polythene and paper.
Economic trees like the iroko, mahogany, obeche, gmelina, bamboo, rubber palm and oil palm are in abundance.
Each community in Imo has different festivals celebrated in honor of ancient deities or to mark an important event in the history of the area. There are different festivals to usher in the harvest season, the most popular being the Ahiajoku Festival, which is observed in all the farming communities.
Traditional music and dances include Abiigbo, Ekpe, Ikoro, Okonko, Mmanwu, etc.
The top 10 tourist destinations in Imo State include:
1. Imo Wonderlake Resort and Conference Center, Oguta
2. Abadaba Lake
3. The Source of Urashi River
4. The Amadioha Shrine
5. The Ancestral Home of King Jaja of Opobo
6. The Blue Obana Lake
7. Ekwe and Ebenator Spring
8. Iyi Ogidi Spring
9. Iyi Mgbede Spring
10. The Nekede Zoo & Gardens
List of Military Administrators and Governors of Imo State, Nigeria since its creation include:
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 Governor1986 – 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 2011PPA /PDP
Owelle Rochas Anayo Okorocha Governor 29 May 2011 – date (APC)
Long Live Imo State.