Top 10 Oldest States In Nigeria


Nigeria is a large and diverse country, home to many different regions and 36 states. In this article, we will explore the oldest states in Nigeria and their histories. We will look at the dates when each state was created, as well as how much time has passed since then. All of these states have unique stories to tell about their history and culture.

Top 10 Oldest States In Nigeria

1. River State

River State is one of Nigeria’s oldest and most historical states, having been founded on 27th May 1967. It is located in the Niger Delta region, and its capital is Port Harcourt. Rich in cultural heritage, it has a population of over 5 million people who are mostly members of the Ijaw and Efik tribes.

The state is endowed with many natural resources, including crude oil and agricultural products such as cassava and coconut. Fishing is also an important industry in River State as well as petrochemical production. In addition to being a major source of revenue for the state, these industries also provide employment opportunities for its citizens.

Tourism has grown significantly in recent years due to its remarkable wildlife parks, scenic beaches, and rich culture. River State continues to be a leader when it comes to economic development in Nigeria despite being one of its oldest states.

2. Lagos State

Lagos State is one of the oldest states in Nigeria, having been founded on 27 May 1967. It is located in the southwestern region of Nigeria and is the smallest state in terms of land area, but it has a population of over 21 million people.

Lagos state has a rich history and houses some of Nigeria’s most iconic landmarks like the National Museum, Tafawa Balewa Square, and Eko Atlantic City. Lagos State is also known for its vibrant culture, with diverse language groups such as Yoruba, Hausa, Igbo and Ijaw represented here.

The economy in Lagos State is booming due to its large commercial activities and flourishing tourism industry. The state boasts numerous shopping malls, business districts, and recreational centers which are popular with both locals and tourists alike.

3. Kwara State

Kwara State is one of the oldest states in Nigeria. It was founded on the 27th of May 1967 and has since become an important part of the nation’s economy and culture. The state is located in North Central Nigeria, bordered by Niger, Kogi, Oyo, Osun, and Ekiti States. The state capital is Ilorin, which serves as a hub for business and industry.

Kwara has a population of about 3 million people from various ethnic groups such as Yoruba, Nupe, Igala, Barba, and Fulani among others. The state is known for its rich cultural heritage with different festivals celebrated throughout the year to show appreciation for the area’s diverse cultures. Agriculture is also a major sector of Kwara’s economy with crops such as maize, sorghum, and groundnut being some of its main products.

4. Kano State

Kano State, located in Northern Nigeria is one of the oldest states in the country. It was founded on May 27, 1967, and is home to over 10 million people. The state has a rich history, both culturally and economically. Historically, Kano was an important center for trade thanks to its strategic location on the trans-Saharan caravan route which connected Europe to Africa. The city of Kano was also an important center of Islamic civilization dating back several centuries, as evidenced by its numerous ancient monuments and artifacts.

Today, Kano State continues to play an integral role in Nigerian society as it is one of the most populous states in the country with a vibrant economy that includes manufacturing and agriculture. It is also home to many prominent universities such as Bayero University Kano and Ahmadu Bello University Zaria which are both highly revered institutions across West Africa.

5. Kaduna State

Kaduna State is one of the oldest states in Nigeria, being founded on 27 May 1967. Located in northern Nigeria and sharing its borders with Katsina, Zamfara, Kebbi, Sokoto, Niger, and Plateau states, Kaduna State has a long history of cultural significance.

The state is home to over 6 million people who identify as primarily Hausa-Fulani or Igbo. It is considered an important economic hub and is home to many industries such as textiles, leather goods, and food processing.


The capital city of Kaduna State is Kaduna City which also serves as the administrative center for the state government. There are several notable landmarks throughout the region including the Emir of Zazzau’s Palace in Zaria City as well as Kurmi Market which dates back to 15th century Africa.

6. Cross River State

Cross River State is one of the oldest states in Nigeria, with a long and rich history. Founded on 27 May 1967, it has been home to many different cultures, languages, and religions throughout its existence. Spanning an area of over 20,000 square kilometers, this state is known for its abundant resources and vast biodiversity.

Cross River State has had a vibrant culture since pre-colonial times, with major ethnic groups such as the Efik people occupying the area before contact with Europeans began.

The state’s capital city Calabar is often referred to as “Nigeria’s tourism Mecca” due to its relatively peaceful atmosphere coupled with its numerous attractions. It is also home to some of the best higher education institutions in the country like the University of Calabar and Cross Rivers University of Technology (CRUTECH).

7. Abuja

Abuja is one of the oldest states in Nigeria. It was founded on 3 February 1976, making it 46 years old. Abuja was established as a federal territory by the then military head of state, General Murtala Mohammed. At the time, Nigeria was still under military rule and General Mohammed wanted to create a new capital city for the country – something that had never been done before in Nigerian history!

Today, Abuja still serves as Nigeria’s capital city and has grown rapidly over the years. The population has increased significantly since its founding in 1976 with over 4 million people now living in Abuja and its environs. The city is well known for its iconic landmarks such as Aso Rock, Zuma Rock, and Millennium Park among others.

8. Oyo State

Oyo State is one of the oldest states in Nigeria, having been established on 3 February 1976. It is located in the southwest region and shares boundaries with Kwara State to the north, Osun State to the south, Ogun State to the southwest, and Niger State to the northwest. As one of Nigeria’s oldest states, it has a rich heritage that dates back centuries.

The population is estimated at 5 million people, with most belonging to various indigenous ethnic groups such as Yoruba, Igbo, and Hausa-Fulani. The state capital is Ibadan which serves as a major economic hub for commerce in Nigeria. The government of Oyo State has long invested in promoting economic development for its citizens by providing substantial infrastructure projects such as roads, bridges, and power supply networks.

9. Osun State

Osun State, one of the oldest states in Nigeria, is located in the southwestern region of the country. Founded on 3 February 1976, it is home to over 4 million people and has a rich history pre-dating its official founding as a state. The Osun river is one of the major landmarks that characterize this region and acts as a source of inspiration for many who visit or live there.

Located between Oyo and Ekiti states, Osun offers visitors a glimpse into traditional Nigerian culture with its diverse array of festivals like the Osun Osogbo Festival which takes place every August and celebrates Yoruba mythology. Besides the cultural attractions, natural beauty abounds here with lush rain forests, mineral resources, and breathtaking waterfalls dotting the landscape.

10. Ondo State

Ondo State is one of the oldest states in Nigeria, founded on 3 February 1976. This vibrant state is located on the southwestern coast of Nigeria and boasts a long and rich history. With a population size estimated at over three million people, Ondo State has diverse cultures and ethnicities which contribute to its unique identity.


The state is home to some of Nigeria’s oldest cities, including Akure, Owo, and Igbokoda. It also offers an abundance of natural beauty with vast forests offering visitors stunning sights. Its capital, Akure, is known as the Sunshine City due to its reputation for sunshine throughout the year! The city also provides plenty of cultural attractions such as museums and art galleries that showcase local artists’ work.


It is clear that Nigeria consists of many old states and territories with a long history. These states have each contributed to the overall cultural and social development of the country. While some of these states are more modern, they still retain their traditional values and beliefs.

Nigeria’s oldest states provide invaluable insight into its past, as well as its potential future. With an understanding of the significance of these states, we can better appreciate the importance of preserving Nigeria’s cultural heritage and identity.

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