One of Nigeria’s six geopolitical zones, the South East (sometimes hyphenated as the South-East), represents the country’s inland southeast both geographically and politically. Five states make up this region: Abia, Anambra, Ebonyi, Enugu, and Imo.
The area lies between longitudes 7 and 9 degrees east and latitudes 4 and 7 degrees north of the equator. Nine of the 36 states in the country—Abia, Akwa Ibom, Anambra, Bayelsa, Cross River, Ebonyi, Enugu, Imo, and Rivers States—are located inside its geopolitical boundaries.
With more than twenty million residents, the zone has 85 local governments. There are around eleven commercial cities in the zone.
In addition to agriculture, these are the main economic activities. The area is also referred to as a commercial and trading zone because it is home to small and medium-sized indigenous businesses that produce goods and services.
Yam, cassava, rice, cocoyam, etc. are the primary agricultural products of the region. The region is rich in natural resources and solid minerals, including bauxite, iron ore, lignite, clay, coal, tin, and columbite.
In this post, we’ll discuss the three largest states in the southeast in terms of economy, population, landmass, development, and growth rate.
1. Anambra State
The state of Nigeria known as Anambra State is situated in the southeast of the nation.
August 27, 1991 saw the founding of the State. Anambra State is bordered to the west by Delta State, to the south by Imo State, to the east by Enugu State, and to the north by Kogi State.
The state’s population is over 9 million, according to the 2022 Census report. The state is named after the Omambala River, a river that flows through it, and was created in 1976 from the former East Central State.
The Omambala’s Anglicized name is Anambra. The state capital is Awka, a metropolis with a population that grew from 700,000 to over 6 million people between 2006 and 2020.Onitsha, a pre-colonial port city with a long history, is still a significant hub for trade in the state.
Anambra State, also known as the “Light of the Nation,” is the eighth most populous state in the country, though this has been seriously contested because Onitsha, the state’s largest and most populous urban area, had over 8.5 million people as of 2020, making it the second-largest urban area in Nigeria and third-largest in Africa.
With more than 8 million residents, Onitsha is the 47th-largest built-up metropolitan area in the world, according to the 2019 Demographia world urban regions. Even though it is the second-smallest state in terms of territory, Anambra has a large population.
Since at least the ninth century AD, a number of civilizations have existed in what is now Anambra State, including the ancient Kingdom of Nri, whose capital was the state’s historic town of Igbo-Ukwu.
The majority of the people that live in Anambra State are Igbo, and the Igbo language is widely spoken there.
Anambra State was a portion of the secessionist Republic of Biafra established by Igbo nationalists during the Nigerian Civil War (1967–1970).
Anambra State experienced a terrible famine during the war, which drastically reduced the population. Anambra State has made significant progress in bringing its poverty rate down and is currently a highly urbanized state.
In Anambra, agriculture is a significant economic sector. Among the crops raised are oil palms, yams, cassava, maize, and rice. There is also value in fishing. The first automobile company in Nigeria, Innoson, is based in Nnewi and is located in Anambra.
Onitsha is one of the top commercial towns in Africa because traders from all over West Africa travel there to conduct business, which increases the state’s internal revenue.
Innovation, inventiveness, and creativity are born in Anambra. Due to Anambra’s enthusiasm for education, there have been a number of advancements that have raised the state’s GDP.
Atikpo Chukwuebuka and Ubaka Chukwuebuka, two brothers, were the first to develop a device that could remove the bitterness from bitter leaves in 2018. (a highly nutritious vegetable).
The state’s vegetable growing productivity will increase significantly as a result of this machine.
Anambra’s internally generated revenue is consistently boosted by the export of agricultural products. For example, in 2017, the export of washed bitter leaf brought in $5 million.
Nigeria has a sizable oil and gas reserve, with the Anambra Basin holding the potential for 1000 trillion cubic feet of unexplored gas reserves.
Anambra state has the ability to produce more than 100,000 barrels of crude oil per day thanks to its more than 13 oil wells, and local firms like Orient Petroleum and Sterling Oil Exploration and Production Co. LTD (SEEPCO) are already setting the pace.
The state’s total landmass is 4,844 km2 (1,870 sq mi), placing it 35th out of 36 states in terms of size.
Population as a whole (2006 census): 4,177,821; projected population in 2020: 11,400,000
8th place out of 36 states
As of 2020, the global GDP was $15.83 billion.
2. Enugu State
Nigeria’s Enugu State is headquartered in Enugu. It’s in the southeast of Nigeria. The 2006 Nigerian census found 722,664 people living in the city. The two Igbo terms Énu and gwu, which translate to “hill top” and indicate the city’s mountainous topography, are the source of the name Enugu.
The Enugwu-Ngwo and Nike subgroup of the Igbo people have lived in the area that is now Enugu since the 17th century.
The colonial government of the British Empire founded the Southern Nigeria Protectorate in 1900. After the colonists discovered coal, they established what was known as the Enugu Coal Camp, which was named after the adjacent community of Enugu Ngwo, where coal was initially discovered.
The neighboring Port Harcourt, which is situated 243 kilometers (151 miles) south of the camp, was built with the intention of exporting this coal.
People from all over the area came to Enugu for the opportunity to mine coal, which formed the nucleus of the first urban community that is now known simply as Enugu.
One of the few West African cities totally shaped by European contact is Enugu. Enugu had around 8,000 coal miners by 1958. There were no substantial coal mining operations in the city as of 2005.
Following Nigeria’s independence in 1960, Enugu was made the capital of the Eastern Region. Subsequent territorial changes in 1967, 1976, and 1991 made Enugu the capital of what is now Enugu State.
Enugu is referred to as the “capital of Igboland” because it was designated as the short-lived Republic of Biafra’s capital on May 30, 1967. The Biafran capital was relocated to Umuahia when the Nigerian military seized Enugu.
The urban market and the bottling industry are among the city’s industries. Enugu serves as one of the main shooting places for directors in the “Nollywood”-style Nigerian film industry. The Akanu Ibiam International Airport serves as Enugu’s primary airport.
The Udi plateau’s coal mining sector, which gave Enugu its moniker as the “Coal City,” was the driving force behind the city’s expansion in the early 20th century. Since its founding in 1950, the Nigerian Coal Corporation has had a base in Enugu where it has governed coal mining.
Enugu was connected to the sea via Port Harcourt to its south after the Eastern Line was built, and it was eventually connected to the metropolis of Kaduna to its north.
Widespread destruction caused by the Nigerian Civil War led to a decrease in coal production because of damaged or destroyed equipment. Since 2005, coal mining has been a minor source of income, leaving mines idle.
Iron ore, limestone, fine clay, marble, and silica sand are a few more minerals that are mined in Enugu.The majority of things are sold in open markets or on the streets of Enugu; youngsters make up a sizable portion of Nigeria’s street vendors.
In Enugu, there were around 44 children under the age of 16 hawking every hour as of 2003 (boys and girls equally).
Ogbete Market, Awkunanaw Market, and New Market are the three main urban marketplaces in Enugu. Garri is sold in large quantities in New Market.
Merchants from Onitsha, Aguleri, Abakaliki, and Aba, as well as merchants from other nearby cities, frequent Ogbete market. The Ogbete market also sells non-food items.
A Mercedes assembly plant, as well as the production and manufacturing of machinery, pottery, tiles, steel, cement, asbestos, petroleum, and pharmaceuticals, are among the city’s other industries.
Other industries include brewing and soft drink bottling.For a while, Sosoliso Airlines’ headquarters were located on the grounds of Enugu’s Akanu Ibiam International Airport.
Half of the palm kernels produced worldwide were originally credited to the defunct Eastern Region.
Because the plantations and processing machinery were either destroyed or damaged during the Nigerian Civil War, productivity has significantly decreased since then.
Following the civil war and the ensuing oil boom years, production of other significant cash crops like cocoa, groundnuts and groundnut oil, rubber, cassava, cotton and cotton seed, and lumber plummeted.
As a result, Nigeria, which was formerly a self-sufficient net exporter of agricultural products, must import food, including the region known as Enugu State.
Enugu state’s total landmass is 7161km² while the total population as of 2006 census is 3,267,837.
Why then is Enugu Known as O42? O42 is the area code for Enugu. Yes, that is all there is. The use of the number “042” by well-known bands and celebrities contributed to its popularity, which can be linked to pop culture.
3. Imo State
Imo State, a state in Nigeria’s South-East geopolitical region, is bordered to the north by Anambra State, to the west and south by Rivers State, and to the east by Abia State. It gets its name from the Imo River, which borders the state on the east.
Natural resources found in the state include crude oil, natural gas, lead, calcium carbonate, solar and wind energy, zinc, and crude oil.
Iroko, mahogany, obeche, bamboo, rubber trees, and oil palm are among the lucrative plants.
The state also has limestone, fine sand, and white clay. The majority of the population works in agriculture; the main income crops are oil palm and the basic foods are yams, taro, corn (maize), rice, and cassava (manioc).
Other mineral resources include coal and natural gas, and Imo is one of the country’s main onshore petroleum-producing regions.
An international congress in Geneva enacted a convention that established the IMO formally in 1948. (the original name was the Inter-Governmental Maritime Consultative Organization, or IMCO, but the name was changed in 1982 to IMO).
Imo state is mostly an Igbo-speaking region, with 98% of the population being Igbo.The Njaba River, Oguta Lake, Utu River, and Awbana River are only a few of the state’s rivers.
The Otamiri River and Nworie River, a 9.2 km long tributary, flow through the State. Other rivers and creeks in the state include the Ohia and Efuru Rivers in Okigwe, the Okitankwo River in Umudi, and Onas Creek in Ohaji/Egbema.
Eze Dr. Patrick II Chinedu Acholonu, Igwe XI, Duru IX of Orlu is the reigning monarch of Orlu and the guardian of Isi Obiukwu Gedegwum.
The biggest and wealthiest town in Imo state is Owerri. The city is made up of three Local Government Areas: Owerri Municipal, Owerri North, and Owerri West.
Imo is the fourteenth most populous state out of the 36, with an estimated population of more than 5.4 million as of 2016. Imo is the third smallest state in terms of area.
Geographically, the state is divided between the drier Cross-Niger transition woods in the center and the swamp forests of the Niger Delta in the extreme east.
Additional significant regional characteristics The Igbo people, who make up the majority of the ethnic groups in present-day Imo State, have lived there for many years.
English and the Igbo language are both widely spoken throughout the state. Before the Aro Confederacy was vanquished by British forces in the early 1900s during the Anglo-Aro War, what is now Imo State was a part of the medieval Kingdom of Nri and the subsequent Aro Confederacy.
Imo became a focal point of anti-colonial resistance during the Women’s Conflict after the British annexed the region into the Southern Nigeria Protectorate during the war, which ultimately amalgamated into British Nigeria in 1914.
The state’s economy is heavily reliant on agricultural production, particularly the production of palm oil, which is used for cooking by the majority of the population. The production of crude oil and natural gas, particularly in Imo’s north and west, is a significant minor business.
Throughout its history, the state has experienced many outbreaks of violence, most notably the anti-cult Otokoto Riots in 1996 and the ongoing separatist violence perpetrated by the Eastern Security Network and other opportunistic nativist shooters.
Despite turmoil, Imo State boasts the joint-sixth highest Human Development Index in the nation thanks to its rapidly expanding population and industry.
5,530 km2 (2,140 sq mi) is the state’s total area of land.
Estimated population in 2017: 4,978,758
Among 36 states, ranked 13th.
$14.21 billion is the total GDP.
Other states in Southeast are Abịa State and Ebonyi State.