About Akwa Ibom State: People
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Akwa Ibom Heroes

Late Brigadier General Wellington Bassey
Commanded the parade where the Union Jack was lowered and Nigerian Flag was hoisted on October 1, 1960

Late Dominic Cardinal Ekanem (CFR)
Ist Cardinal in English speaking West Africa.
1st Nigerian Cardinal to qualify as a candidate to papacy.

Late Chief (Dr) Clement Isong (CFR)
1st Governor, Central Bank of Nigeria
1st Civilian Governor of former Cross River State

Late Chief Nyong Essien (CMG, CON)
1st representative of Old Province in the Legislative Council in Lagos.
1st President of Eastern Regional House of Chiefs.
1st installed President of Ibibio Union.
1st oficially recognised Paramount Ruler of Uyo

Late Obong Sampson Udo Idiong (MON, FIAMN)
1st Vice President of Ibibio Union.
A strong advocate for the creation of Calabar, Ogoja River State (COR State Movement)
1st paramount Ruler in Abak, Ukanafun and Oruk Anam respectively.

Late Obong Sampson Udo Etuk
Initiator of the first communal educational pursuit in Nigeria - Ibibio Scholarship Fund.
1st President-General of Amalgamated Ibibio Union.
1st Black Principal of Uyo Teacher Training College (TTC).

Late Hon. Senator (Dr) Esin Awana Esin
Qualified first as Pharmacist in 1935.
1st Medical Doctor in Oron nation. Regional Minister for Local Government Affairs.
Senator / Minister in Charge of Foreign Affairs and Health

Late Chief Bassey Udo Adiaha Attah (MON)
One of the pioneers Ibibio State Union.
Hold Bsc (Tuskegee), Msc (IOWA), Post Graduat Diploma in Tropial Agriculture (Trinidad).

Late Chief (Hon) Ibanga Udo Akpabio
1st Principal of Ibibio State College.
1st Chairman, Central Annang County Council.
Minister of Education in 1953 and Internal Affairs in 1960.
An astute politician and founding father of many Schools including Independence High School - Ukana - Essien Udim LGA.

Late Hon Justice(Dr)Egbert Udo Udoma
A Jurist, Administrator, Elder Stateman.
Former Chief and Acting Governor-General of Uganda.
Retired Justice of Supreme Court of Nigeria.
National President, Ibibio State Union.
Leader COR State Movement.
Chairman, Constitution Drafting Committee.

Late Obong Philip Efiong
1st Nigerian Commander of the ordinance depot.
1st Nigeria Director of Ordinance Services of the Nigerian Army.
Acting Chief of Staff, Supreme Headquarters (May 1966)
He called an end to hostilities and voluntarily led a delegation of surrender to General Gowon in Lagos.

Late Brigadier-General U. J. Esuene
Military Governor of the South Eastern State (1967).
His achievement included: establishment of University of Calabar, Polytechnic, Sports Stadium, College of Education, Mercantile Bank, Metropolitan Hotel, Itu / Calabar Highway, Cross River State Housing Estate etc.

Samuel Okon Peter (OON), (DSP)
World Heavyweight Boxing Champion
History open details

The Ibibios with the Efiks migrated down the Cross River during the first half of the 17th century and founded Creek Town, Duke Town, and other settlements including Calabar, Calabar developed into a major trading centre from the 17th to the 19th century, exporting palm oil in return for European goods.

After the chiefs of Duke Town accepted British protection in 1884, the town, which was called Old Calabar until 1904, served as capital of the Oil Rivers Protectorate (1885–93), the Niger Coast Protectorate (1893–1900), and Southern Nigeria (1900–06) until the British administrative headquarters were moved to Lagos. It remained an important port (shipping ivory, timber, and beeswax, as well as palm produce) until it was eclipsed by Port Harcourt, terminus (1916) of the railroad, 90 miles (145 km) west.

On September 23, 1987 the southwestern third of Cross River state got created as a new state called Akwa Ibom State. Thus, Akwa Ibom was created by combining the Uyo, Ikot Ekpene, Eket and Abak divisions of old Calabar province.

Ethnicity open details

Akwa Ibom State enjoys a relatively homogenous ethnicity with the  inhabiting ethnic goups of; Ibibio, Annang, Oron, Ibeno, and Eket. The Ibibio are the largest group followed by the Annang. Language similarities exits among the ethnic groups and they readily express similar customs. 

It is belived that a common heritage exists among the various ethnic groups hence the prevalence of customary solidarity among them.

The similarities in language, music, values, art, styles, literature, family life, religion, ritual, food, naming, public life, and material culture is evidence of the historical fact that our people have pursued common social, cultural, political, and economic relationships.

Population open details

According to Nigeria's 2006 census Akwa Ibom is home to some 4 million people, a desnsity of 466 people per square km, 3% of Nigeria's population of 36 states. Akwa Ibom population dynamics are controlled by the effects of fertility, mortality, immigration and emmigration. Population of Akwa Ibom State is evenly distributed according to the breakdown of the state's population as tabulated in the schedule that follows.

There are vast areas of permanent swamps along the Enyong Creek and the coastal areas of Eket, Mbo and Oron, which are either very sparsely populated or totally uninhabited. There are swampy areas, unsuitable for settlement in the lower Cross River State Valley in Ibiono, ltu and Uruan LGAs.

About 60% of the population is agrarian and such related employ, 25% is commercial oriented while the remaining 15% constitute the civil and public sector.

Culture open details Cuisine open details

The Akwa Ibom indigenes having been known to be a mobile society have practiced social emancipation towards greater expansion as well as security and continuity of life at one time or the other in response to their environment, social order, and acceptable lifestyle of the day. They are a people whose culture can be identified with their language, ideas, beliefs, customs, codes, traditional institutions, tools, techniques, works of art, rituals, and ceremonies.

Intrinsic behaviours are bottled up and abolished through the use of taboos and stigmatisation. Learned and freely variable behaviours are transmitted from parents to children and from generation to generation. Frequently, learned behaviours are showcase in cultural events such as traditional marriages, Obong Coronation, market trading, daily lifestyles, or even the more recent church based events and festivals.

Given the importance of culture, as the total way of life of a people as expressed in the economic, social, technological and political institutions like other Nigerian people, Akwa Ibom people documented their experiences through oral traditions.

The preservation of their history was important to the people, being the vital link between their present and their past. This has assisted the different groups to define their identity and transmit same to their children. Thus codification, preservation and transmission of these traditions occurr at different levels of the society- at family, lineage, village and at clan levels.

The homogenous nature of the people is accountable for the minor difference in our traditions and customs, including all other aspects of cultural life. Little or no difference exists in our dances, songs, myths, shrines, funerals, folklore, mode of dressing, foods, cults, festivals and monuments We are noted for wood carving, sculpture, pottery and most importantly cane And raffia works. Ikot Ekpene is recognised internationally for its raffia products hence the term RAFFIA CITY.

Akwa Ibom State is a home of culture. Their rich homogenous nature is expressed in their cultural outlook. To this end Akwa Ibom people have four distinct cultural characteristics that affect and direct their behavioral patterns. These include the following; Pre-occupation with the supernatural; concern for good morals; Rebellion against injustice and Belief in a strong family system. These four characteristics influence their music and dance. Therefore when music and dance is being talked about, in reality we are referring to the general role they play as instruments of social control.

Therefore, in order to understand the cultural and social role of the music of Akwa Ibom people, four major elements of their music becomes imperative, namely; the Folk songs, musical instruments, orchestras and dances.

Akwa Ibom is well known nationally for its exciting and rich culture. It is highly gifted in culinary culture as it is reputed for its salivating variety of standard cuisines. Akwa Ibom's cuisines lures and tours the world. In fact, our culinary culture is exported around the world. Its meals are often described as irresistible and of outstanding preference. As the State lies within the tropical rain forest zone, vegetables, seafood and domestic animals dominate her traditional diets as most of these food items are in season for a greater part of the year.

The list of salivating dishes in Akwa Ibom culture can be long. The people are well versed in using farm produce like cassava, maize, yam, cocoyam, vegetables and so on to create a variety of meals to suit various periods of the day and occasions. Thus the state’s food preparation skills have resulted in the national appreciation of some of its dishes.

Akwa Ibom's cuisine has a distinctive, regional quality that is rarely equalled. These quality standards are exhibited in the preparation of the meal, the comprising ingredients and the mode of presentation.

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