Cross River State occupies 20,156 square kilometers. It shares boundaries with Benue State to the North, Enugu and Abia States to the West, to the East by Cameroon Republic and to the South by Akwa-Ibom and the Atlantic Ocean.
Cross River State was created on May 27, 1967 from the former Eastern Region, Nigeria by the General Yakubu Gowon regime. Its name was changed to Cross River State in the 1976 State creation exercise by the then General Murtala Mohammed regime from South Eastern State. The present day Akwa Ibom State was excised from it in the State creation exercise of September 1987 by the then regime of General Ibrahim Babangida. Its capital is Calabar. Its major towns are Akamkpa, Biase, Calabar South, Ikom, Obubra, Odukpani, Ogoja, Ugep, Obudu, Obanliku and Akpabuyo.
The state has been governed by lots of previous Governors and Administrators which included Udoakaha.J.Esuene, Paul Omu, Tunde Elegbede, Clement Isong, Donald Etiebet, Daniel Archibong, Ibim Princewill, Ernest Atta, Clement Ebri, Ibrahim Kefas, Gregory Agboneni,Umar Faoruk Ahmed, Christopher Osondu and Donald Duke.The present Governor Senator Liyel Imoke has been the State Governor since May 29, 2007-July 14, 2008 and from August 26, 2008 to date.
The State is composed of three major ethnic groups-these are the Efik, the Ejagham and the Bekwarra. The Efik language is very widely spoken in Cross River State, even as far as Arochukwu in neighboring Abia state.
The Efik speaking people live mainly in the Calabar Municipality and Calabar South LGAs,and also in Bakassi,Akpabuyo,Odukpani and in parts of Akamkpa LGAs. There is also the Qua community in Calabar, which speaks Ejagham.The main Ejagham group occupies mostly the Northern sections of the State. The other groups North of Calabar are known as the Ekoi's. The Ekoi's are the peoole of Biase in Biase LGA,part of Akampka LGA (i.e. Oban) and the Bahumono in Abi LGA.
There is also the Yakurr/Agoi ethnic group in Yakurr LGA, while the Mbembe are predominantly found in Obubra LGA. Further up the core Northern part of the State are several sub-dialectical groups, among which are Etung, Olulumo, Ofutop, Nkim/Nkum, Abanajum, Nseke and Boki in both Ikom, Etung and Boki LGAs. Also, the Yala/Yache, Ukelle, Ekajuka, Mbube, Bette, Bekwarra and Utugwanga people are found in Ogoja, Yala, Obudu and Obanliku LGA's.
Cross River State epitomises the nation's linguistic and cultural plurality and it is important to note that, in spite of the diversity of dialects, all the indigenous languages in the State have common linguistic roots as Niger-Congo languages.
Cross River State is divided into 18 Local Government Areas. They are:
- Calabar Municipal
- Calabar South
In line with the objectives of the former Governor of the state Mr. Donald Duke to mix business with pleasure, there are many festivals. These festivals bring in tourists from far and wide into the State to enjoy themselves and also do business in the State. These festivals include The Cross River State Christmas Festival,which promises to be an event that will rival any festival events in Africa, with over 30 days of endless fun, carnival, games, cultural display, art exhibition, pageant and music performance. Some major festival dates: The
- Cross River State Christmas Festival - 1 December to 31 December annually
- The Cross River State Carnival Float - 26 December yearly
- The Ugep Leboku Yam festival - 28 August annually
- The Calabar Boat Regata
Another Interested Festival in Cross River state is Anong Bahumono Festival, Which We Have deference cultural dances during the Festival which include Ikpobin the most Entertainment dance in the State, Ekoi, Obam, Emukei, Etangala Dances In the Anong Village Of Cross River State.
TOURISM IN CROSS RIVER STATE
From the soaring plateaus of the mountain tops of Obudu to the Rain forests of Afi, from the Waterfalls of Agbokim and Kwa to the spiralling ox-bow Calabar River which provides sights and images of the Tinapa Business Resort, Calabar Marina, Calabar Residency Museum and the Calabar Slave Park along its course, there is always a thrilling adventure awaiting the eco-tourist visiting Cross River State.
Other tourist attractions are the Ikom Monoliths (a series of volcanic-stone monoliths constructed some time between 2500 BC and 1 AD), the Mary Slessor Tomb, Calabar Drill Monkey Sanctuary, Cross River National Park, Afi Mountain walkway canopy, Kwa falls, Agbokim waterfalls, Tinapa Business Resort and the annual Calabar Carnival that takes place during the Christmas period.
Cross River State can be accessed by air through the Margaret Ekpo International Airport at Calabar. There are daily flights to Calabar from Lagos and Abuja serviced by airlines such as Virgin Nigeria, Arik Airlines and Aero Contractors. Aero Contractors also have flights to the Bebi airstrip at Obudu for trips to the Obudu Mountain Resort.
Calabar, the capital of Cross River State, is now the leading tourism city of Nigeria. Visitors from different parts of Nigeria come to the city in large numbers all year around.
Educational institutions in the State include: University of Calabar, Cross River State University of Technology, Ibrahim Babangida College of Agriculture and The Polytechnic, Calabar.