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Description of Akwa Ibom
Geographically, Akwa Ibom State is located in Nigeria's South-South region, and it shares borders with Cross River State to the east, Rivers State and Abia State to the west, and the Atlantic Ocean to the south. The Qua Iboe River, which runs north to south through the state before emptying into the Bight of Bonny, is the source of the state's name. The state of Akwa Ibom, with its capital of Uyo, was established in 1987 after being separated from Cross River State.
With a 2016 population estimate of close to 5.5 million, Akwa Ibom ranks 30th in size among the 36 states. The southernmost part of the state is bordered by the Central African mangroves, while the rest is covered by the Cross-Niger transition forests. Also noteworthy are the Imo and Cross rivers, which form the state's eastern and western boundaries, respectively, and the Kwa Ibo River, which cuts through the middle of the state on its way to the Bight of Bonny. The Stubb's Creek Forest Reserve, located in the southeastern part of the state, is a highly endangered wildlife reserve that is home to endangered species such as the African leopard and the Nigeria-Cameroon chimpanzee, as well as declining populations of crocodiles, putty-nosed monkeys, red-capped mangabeys, and Sclater's guenons. Large fish populations and a variety of cetacean species, such as bottlenose dolphins, pantropical spotted dolphins, humpback whales, and killer whales, make the state's waters just as rich in biodiversity as its landmass interior.
Numerous peoples have lived in what is now Akwa Ibom State for hundreds of years. The Ibibio, Anaang, and Oron peoples are all linked and live in the state's northern, western, and southern regions, respectively. Ibom Kingdom and Akwa Akpa were just two of the several city-states that existed in the area that is now Akwa Ibom State before it was annexed by the British in 1884 as part of the Oil Rivers Protectorate. After the Southern Nigeria Protectorate and British Nigeria merged, much of present-day Akwa Ibom became a center of anti-colonial resistance during the Women's War and political activism through the Ibibio State Union. The British gained formal control of the area in the early 1900s before incorporating the protectorate (now renamed the Niger Coast Protectorate) into the Southern Nigeria Protectorate.
In the years after Nigeria's independence in 1960, the territory that is now Akwa Ibom belonged to the Eastern Region till the region was split in 1967, at which point the area became part of the South-Eastern State. Less than two months later, the Igbo-majority former Eastern Region attempted to secede as the state of Biafra; in the three-year long Nigerian Civil War, now-Akwa Ibom was hard-fought over in the prelude to the Invasion of Port Harcourt, and people from Akwa Ibom were persecuted by Biafran forces because they were primarily not Igbo. After the war ended and Nigeria was reunited, the South-Eastern State was reconstituted and remained thus until 1976, when it was renamed Cross River State. In 1991, western Cross River was separated from the rest of the state to form Akwa Ibom.
To this day, oil and natural gas production remain the backbone of Akwa Ibom State's economy, making it the state with the largest gross domestic product.
Major cash crops in the state include cocoyam, yam, and plantain; fishing; and heliculture are also important subsectors. Because of long-standing systemic corruption, Akwa Ibom State ranks only 17th in the country in terms of Human Development Index despite its substantial oil revenues.
Resources of Akwa Ibom
There are substantial on- and offshore oil and gas reserves. In addition, we have access to a wide variety of minerals, including limestone, clay, gold, salt, coal, silver nitrate, and glass sand.
In the early 1950s, after petroleum exploration had begun in Nigeria in 1937, crude oil was discovered at Ikot Akata in what is now Akwa lbom State. However, a commercial discovery was made in 1958 at Olobiri in the present-day state of Bayelsa. Offshore production of crude oil, condensate, and gas by Mobil Petroleum Nigeria Limited, now Exxon/Mobil, has made the state of Akwa lbom the largest petroleum producer in Nigeria. On the coast of Akwa lbom, the Qua lboe Terminal (QIT) is among the largest Niger Delta production facilities.
Historically, the people of Akwa Ibom have been nomadic, adapting their way of life to the climate, social norms, and cultural expectations of the time. They are a people whose traditions include a unique language, set of ideas, beliefs, customs, codes, set of institutions, set of skills, set of artworks, set of rituals, and set of ceremonies.
As a result of stigmatization and taboos, people are discouraged from expressing or engaging in their intrinsic behaviors. Parents and children pass on their learned and malleable behaviors to their offspring. Cultural events, from weddings to the coronation of the Obong to market trading to daily life to the more recent proliferation of church-based festivals, all serve as showcases for learned behaviors.
Like other Nigerians, the people of Akwa Ibom recognized the significance of culture as the sum of a group's practices, as reflected in their economic, social, technological, and political institutions.
As the connecting thread between their present and their past, the people placed a premium on preserving their history. With this, people of various communities have been better able to articulate and pass on their distinct identities to future generations. Thus, these customs are codified, preserved, and passed down through various social strata, including the family, the lineage, the village, and the clan.
The similarity of our population is to blame for the similarities in our rituals, ceremonies, and other cultural practices. There is little to no distinction between our rituals, customs, and traditions, such as our dances, songs, myths, shrines, funerals, folklore, folk art, clothing, foods, cults, festivals, and monuments. Cane and raffia works are our specialty, but we are also known for our wood carving, sculpture, and pottery. The city of Ikot Ekpene, Nigeria, has earned the nickname "RAFFIA CITY" due to its prominence as a global center for the production of raffia goods.
Culture of Akwa Ibom
The state of Akwa Ibom has a rich cultural history. The unity of character that permeates their culture is a reflection of their rich homogeneity. This is because the people of Akwa Ibom are influenced and guided by four main cultural traits. Belief in a solid family unit; outrage at wrongdoing; a penchant for the paranormal; and a determination to fight for what's right. Their songs and dances reflect these four traits. Therefore, when we discuss the function of music and dance, we are really discussing their use as tools of social control.