Kogi State was carved out of the old Kwara and Benue States. The birth of the new state was a re-union of a people who had shared common history and had co-existed as one polity for a period of over seven decades before being severed by the 1976 states creation exercise. No doubt, Kogi State is a state abundantly blessed in terms of both human and natural resources.
The creation of the state on the 27th August 1991 by the administration of former President Ibrahim Babangida was a dream fulfilled and one which sought to put the state on the threshold of rapid socio-economic transformation.
It was a dream; the people had relentlessly worked towards realizing because of their common history, ancestry and cultural values. Having been together for over seven and a half decades, the 1976 state creation that carved a part of the former Kabba Province along with part of Benue-Plateau state to form Benue State was received with shock, yet most people believed it was nothing but a temporary arrangement which was done for the administrative convenience of those in authority and not of the people.
The area which today forms Kogi State, was a colonial formation then known as Kabba province and which had been allowed to suffer neglect since independence. It was therefore, the quest for rapid socio-economic development of the area that informed the decision of the Babangida government in 1991 to create along with eight others, a state out of both Kwara and Benue bringing together families who had been separated by the 1976 states creation exercise into a happy re-union.
Kogi State is made up of the Igala, Kabba, Ebira and Kogi Dvision of the former Kabba province. It is the most centrally located state in the country and shares boundaries with plateau, Niger and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), to the North, by Benue and Anambra States to the East and on the West; it is bordered by Ondo, Kwara, Edo and Enugu States. It is in short, the gate way state with very rich cultural values, great natural endowments and infinite stretches of arable land.
The state capital, Lokoja is an ancient historical town which once served as the colonial administrative headquarters of Nigeria. It is located on the intersecting point of longitude 7049’N and latitude 6044’E on the map of Nigeria. Lokoja town is situated on the slope of a range of hills, Mount Patti. The town in its growth runs down the scope and expands into the Niger River valley. It is located at the confluence of the rivers Niger and Benue. The Kogi State Capital is a modern city is bounded on the North and East by the River Niger and on the West by the wooded heights of Mount Patti and South by Ajaokuta. It occupies an area of between twenty and thirty kilometers.
The state capital, like most others in the country plays a dual role since it is the administrative headquarters of the Kogi Local Government Area. It is about 334 kilometers away from Ilorin and lies on the right hand side of kilometer seventy-six on the Okene-Abuja road.
In spite of the difficulties in the definition of the Niger-Benue confluence area, there seems to be a general agreement on the various peoples and cultures that inhabit the areas which now form Kogi State. The peopling of the area has been studied in the context of evidence derived from archaeology, physical anthropology and historical linguistics. It has in this area dates back to the Stone Age.
Inspite of the appreciable level of development in Lokoja, billions of naira will still be required to develop the state and give it a befitting face-lift as the nation’s “midland state” or “gateway”. Though, funds are not readily available to ensure the quick realization of this dream, the state is blessed with a crop of dedicated, patriotic, selfless and visionary leaders. Kogi State is a state of diverse cultures and languages but in these diverse cultures lays the strength of the state.
On the whole, the state is heterogeneous in nature with the Ebiras, Igalas and Okun Yorubas forming the major group. The smaller ethnic groupings include Bassa Kwomus, Bassa Nges, Oworo, Nupes, Ogori/Magongo, Egbura Koto and Kakandas.
By the population figures of the 1991 national census, the state has a population of 2,089,946. Conservatively however, the present population could have hit 3 million.
At the birth of the state, it had eleven local government areas and these have steadily gone up to twenty-one.
These LGs include,
The state derives its name from the Hausa word “Kogi” Meaning River. Two of Nigeria’s largest rivers, the Niger and Benue form a confluence in Lokoja and there are other rivers of great economic importance all scatter in the state.
The state is dotted with large reserves of mineral resources. Available geological surveys have shown that the state is richly endowed with such minerals as coal, limestone, marble, feldspar, kaolin, iron, columbite, tantalite, quartz, mica, talc, crude oil and a host of other resources.
In terms of tourism, there abound vast tourist attractions in form of historical relics and natural features, festivals all of which make the state’s tourist industry a very rich one.
In Kogi State too, lies the answer to the nation’s quest for industrial development. These are the multi-billion naira Ajaokuta Steel Project and the Itakpe Iron Ore Project. The Ajaokuta Steel Project is undoubtedly, the largest in Africa.
However, agriculture is the main-stay of the state’s economy. Its rich vegetation favours the production of such crops as coffee, beniseed, maize, cassava, cocoa, yams, rice, guinea corn and a host of others.
Successive administrations in the state are fast taking advantage of the vantage position occupied by the state to launch the state on the path of greatness.
Kogi state has a total land area of 28,313.53 square kilometres and a projected population of 3.3 million people. It lies on latitude 7.49oN and longitude 6.45oE with a geological feature depicting young sedimentary rocks and alluvium along the riverbeds, which promotes agricultural activities. The state features ferrasols soil type and famous hills like ososo hills, which spread from Edo State to the western part of Kogi State and aporo hill on the eastern part. Another famous mountain is Mount Patti, which lies in Lokoja and stands at about 750 metres above sea level.
Summary of its Climate
Kogi State has an average maximum temperature of 33.2oC and average minimum of 22.8oC. Lokoja the |State capital is generally hot throughout the year. The State has two distinct weather viz dry season, which lasts from November to February and rain season that lasts from March to October. Annual rainfall ranges from 1016mm to 1524mm.
The vegetation of the state consists of mixed leguminous (guinea) woodland to forest savannah. Wide expanse of fadama in the river basin and long stretches of tropical forest in the Western and Southern belt of the state.