Ebonyi is an agrarian state in south-east Nigeria. It is inhabited and populated primarily by the Igbos. Its capital and largest city is Abakaliki. Known as the “Salt of the Nation” because of its large salt deposits, Ebonyi State is one of the 36 states in Nigeria. It was created in 1996, making it one of the youngest states in Nigeria. The State shares a border with Benue State to the North, Enugu State to the west, Imo and Abia States to the south and Cross River State to the east. The State capital and largest town is Abakaliki. The second largest town is Afikpo. Other towns are Ikwo, Izzi, Onicha, Edda, Onueke, Ezzamgbo, Nkalagu, Uburu, Ishiagu, Amasiri and Okposi.
Ebony State was one of the six states created in 1996 by the then federal military government of General Sani Abacha. The State of Ebonyi was created from parts of both Enugu State and Abia State, which in turn were initially constituents of the old Anambra and Imo States respectively. For administrative purposes, Ebonyi State is divided into three Senatorial Zones, each represented by a Senator at the National Assembly, and six Federal Constituencies, each represented by a Member of the House of Representatives also at the National Assembly. The three Senatorial Zones are:
Ebonyi North – comprising Abakaliki, Ebonyi, Ishielu, Ohaukwu and lzzi LGAs
Ebonyi Central – comprising Ikwo, Ezza North and Ezza South LGA.
Ebonyi South – comprising Afikpo North, Afikpo South, lvo, Ohaozara and Onicha LGAs
The state is also divided into thirteen local government areas (LGAs), namely:
- Abakaliki, – Afikpo North, – Afikpo South, – Ebonyi, – Ezza North, – Ezza South, – Ikwo, – Ishielu, -Ivo, – Izzi, – Ohaozara, – Ohaukwu – Onicha.
Educationally, Ebony State It is home to six Higher institutions of learning: Ebonyi State University, Abakaliki (EBSU); Federal University Ndufu Alike Ikwo (FUNAI); Akanu Ibiam Federal Polytechnic, Unwana; Savannah Institute of Technology, Ishieke Junction, Abakaliki; Federal College of Agriculture, Ishiagu; Ebonyi State College of Education Ikwo (EBSCOEI) and College of Health Sciences, Ezzamgbo.
In the health sector, Ebonyi has two major hospitals – Ebonyi State Teaching Hospital and the Federal Medical Center – both in Abakaliki. The State also has three general hospitals located in Onueke, Onicha and Enohia Itim (near Afikpo). These are complemented by several private hospitals and clinics in various towns and villages. The State also has three schools of nursing at Uburu, Afikpo and Edda.
In terms of accommodation, Ebonyi hotels can be affordable and inexpensive, although there are luxurious hotels in Ebonyi, especially in the state capital, but their prices are different from was you see in most of the big cities in Nigeria. Some of the hotels in Ebonyi are Salt Lake Hotel, Ebonyi Hotel Abakaliki, Grace Court Hotel & Salts, and Klasson Suites Limited, Pinnacle Hotel and Suite.
Upon your entry into the Ebonyi by road through any of the transport company as Ebonyi does not have An Airport, taking a ride around the state might be a little stressful as the only means of transportation within the city is via the commercial bus, tricycle popularly known as keke or motorbike know as okada.
Ebonyi State has a rich cultural heritage. This is expressed in the many colorful cultural dances, folklore and artwork, some of which have attracted national and international attention. The popular Nkwa Umuagbogho Dance Group of Afikpo has won several national and international merit awards.
As a state inhabited majorly by Christians, aside the religious festivals that is celebrated in the state, the major festival that brings Ebonyians together is the Ebonyi State Cultural Fiesta celebrated in Abakaliki. But like every other Igbo State, Ebonyi celebrates the annual IwaJi, New Yam festival.
Tourist attractions in the State include Ndibe Beach in Afikpo, the salt lakes in the towns of Okposi and Uburu, and Ishiagu Pottery Works in Ishiagu. Read: Top 5 places of interest in Ebonyi state
Aside from the local markets, Most of the stores are located in the capital city. These small scale malls are more popular in the just-evolving state. There are also mega malls you can do your shopping while in the state capital.
The state is blessed with mineral resources such as lead, limestone, zinc and marble. Ebonyi is called “the salt of the nation” for its huge salt deposit at the towns of Okposi and Uburu.
In the industrial sector, the State has several food processing factories including dozens of rice mills, many quarry factories, a fertilizer blending plant, one of Nigeria’s largest poultries (Nkali Poultry) and one of Nigeria’s foremost cement factories (the Nigerian Cement Company at Nkalagu).
The people of Ebonyi State are predominantly farmers and traders. The main crops produced in the State are rice, yam, palm produce, cocoa, maize, groundnut, plantain, banana, cassava, melon, sugar cane, beans, fruits and vegetables. Fishing is also carried out in Afikpo.
Ebonyi is home to the popular abakaliki rice, As the highest producer of rice in Nigeria, the most common food one can get in Ebonyi is rice. The most popular dish you can get in a beer parlor are fresh fish or Nkwobi. other Food you can’t afford to miss while in Ebonyi are, Abacha, Ofe Akwu and Abakaliki Rice, Ofe Oha, Ofe Onugbo, Ofe Egusi which can either go with pounded yam or fufu
Abakaliki Greater Rice Husks
Ebonyi people are known to be incredibly industrious and hard working. Hence, it is not surprising, they cultivate rice, process it and over the years, it has became a source of livelihood for the people of Abakaliki. You will see rice husks piled into huge heaps which is a significant proof of how the trade has survived for decades. The rice mill industry serves is the source of the local rice delivered to most Nigerian homes. The rice husks have become sort of landmark for the people of Ebonyi State.