Akwa Ibom is a state in Nigeria named after the Qua Iboe River. It is located in the coastal South-Southern part of Nigeria, located between latitudes 4°321 and 5°331 North, and longitudes 7°251 and 8°251 East. Akwa Ibom State is bordered on the east by Cross River State, on the west by Rivers State and Abia State respectively, and on the South by Cross River State and the Atlantic Ocean.
Furthermore, Akwa Ibom Sate is one of Nigeria’s 36 states but was created in 1987 from the defunct Cross River State. Akwa Ibom State is peopled by a population of 3,920,208 people, according to the 2006 census conducted by Nigeria Population Commision. Uyo is the state’s capital. Besides English, the main spoken languages are Ibibio, Annang, Eket, and Oron languages. Akwa Ibom people are predominantly of the Christian faith, though there are some people who imbibe traditional religion common in Africa.
The main ethnic groups of the state are Ibibio, Annang, Oron. The dominant Ibibio, Annang, speak a dialect of the Ibibio Language, and Oron are the largest ethnic groups in Akwa Ibom State. The Ibibio language, according to linguistic studies, belongs to the Benue–Congo language family, which is part of the Niger–Congo group of languages. In spite of the homogeneity, there was no centralized government among the people dominant ethnic groups during the pre-colonial era. However, the Annang, Oron, Efik, and Ibibio were all autonomous republican groups.
The creation of one of the earliest local government in Nigeria, Enyong Division, with headquarter at Ikot Ekpene, marked the organization and integration of the people who later became Akwa Ibom State. The emergence of one the earliest socio-cultural organizations in Nigeria, the Ibibio Welfare Union, later christened Ibibio State Union, marked the beginning of concerted movement towards the emergence of Akwa Ibom State . This emergent social-cultural organization began by agitating for greater local participation in the colonial administration. This nationalist posture was later geared towards the actualization of state creation in the 1940s and 1950s. That is to say that Akwa Ibom people were the pacesetters as far agitation for state creation in Nigeria.
Unfortunately, it was until 1987 that the protracted agitations for Akwa Ibom State creation saw the light of the day, owing to institutionalized marginalization of the minorities of Niger Delta region that has characterized political development in Nigeria. It should however be noted that, Akwa Ibom State is made up of a homogenous group of people, who are always receptive of visitors and outsiders. This accounts for the large number of non-indigenes residing in the state. The high level of development in the state is equally match with the abundance of natural and human resources in the state as well as favourable investment-friendly government policies that will not only boost the tourism industry but have a multiplier effects on the industrialization and development of Akwa Ibom State in no small measure.
Akwa Ibom State has a landmass of 6,900 sq Km, with arable land from the saline water swamp forest in the South, to the rainforest in the North which supports agricultural activities throughout the year. Akwa Ibom State is endowed with abundance of oil and gas deposits. Indeed, about 40% of Nigeria’s crude oil is found in Akwa Ibom State, this underscores the rich endowment of the state. There are other vital mineral resources the state is endowed with that made the state favourable for investments are: limestone, clay, gold, salt, coal, silver nitrate and glass sand can be found in commercial quantity when fully explored.
Investment opportunities abound in Akwa Ibom State in areas of commerce, industries, agriculture, housing, hotels and tourism. The state government has been implementing policies that are adequate incentives for the development of small, medium and large scale enterprises in the State. In addition, the state is well positioned for Information and Communication Technology (ICT) development. Towards this end, several policies have been carried out to achieve this goal. For instance, there is the establishment of Digital library, Akwa Ibom State University of Technology (AKUTECH) and the Ibom Science Park among others. While quite a number of youth are being sponsored abroad to acquire ICT skills that will provide manpower for ICT development in the state.