Bayelsa is a state in southern Nigeria in the core Niger Delta region, between Delta State and Rivers State. Its capital is Yenagoa. The main language spoken is Ijaw with dialects such as Kolukuma, Mein, Bomu, Nembe, Epie-Atisa, and Ogbia. Like the rest of Nigeria, English is the official language. The state was formed in 1996 from part of Rivers State and is thus one of the newest states of the Nigerian federation.
Location of Bayelsa State in Nigeria
|Geopolitical Zone||South South|
|Created||1 October 1996|
|• Governor||Henry Dickson (PDP)|
|• Deputy Governor||Gboribiogha John Jonah|
|• Total||10,773 km2 (4,159 sq mi)|
|ISO 3166 code||NG-BY|
|HDI (2016)||0.591 · 2nd of 36|
Bayelsa state was created out of Rivers State on October 1, 1996 by the Sani Abacha's military government. Its name was derived from the first few letters of the names of the major local government areas from which it was formed - Brass LGA (BALGA), Yenagoa (YELGA) and Sagbama (SALGA). Hence BAYELSA was derived from the letters BA + YEL + SA.
They are mainly rural dwellers due to the terrain and lack of adequate transportation, health, education or other infrastructure as a result of decades of neglect by the central governments, state governments, and petroleum prospecting companies. This has been a large problem in the state since its creation; successive state governments have not been able to address and repair the issue. The state, as a result, has an almost non-existent commerce. Successive state governments have embarked on industrial projects (even venturing into the oil and gas sector) and poverty-alleviation programs to reverse this situation. Some argue that there is nothing on ground to show for huge sums of money spent for development by successive and present state governments.
The local population engage in fishing on a subsistence and commercial level. The Bayelsa State government is otherwise the main employer in the state.
Bayelsa has a riverine and estuarine setting. Many communities are almost (and in some cases) completely surrounded by water, making them inaccessible by road. The state is home to the Edumanom Forest Reserve, in June 2008 the last known site for chimpanzees in the Niger Delta.
Other important cities besides Yenagoa include Akassa, Lobia, Amassoma (the home of the Niger Delta University), Eniwari, Ekeremor, Aliebiri, Peretoru, Twon-Brass, Egwema-Brass, Kaiama, Nembe, Odi, Ogbia, Okpoama, Brass, Oporoma, Otuan, Sagbama, Olugbobiri, Peremabiri, and Swali.
- Gabriel Okara, novelist and poet
- Ernest Ikoli, pioneering Nigerian journalist and pre-independent freedom fighter
- Major Isaac Adaka Boro, Nigerian Civil War hero (Nigerian Army)
- Daniel Igali, Canadian Olympic gold medalist and world wrestling champion
- Alfred Diete-Spiff, former governor of Rivers State, HRM
- Edmund Daukoru, past Nigerian Minister of State for Energy and was Secretary General of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries in 2006, HRM
- Melford Obiene Okilo, former governor of Rivers State
- Diepreye Alamieyeseigha, first executive governor of Bayelsa State
- Goodluck Jonathan, past president of Nigeria
- Timipre Sylva, former governor of Bayelsa state
- Timaya, musical artist
- Timi Dakolo, musical artist
- Samson Siasia, Former Super Eagles player and Coach
- Diezani Alison-Madueke, Former Minister of Solid Minerals, Transport and Petroleum resources
- Dan Etete Former Minister Minister Petroleum resources
- Finidi George, Former Super Eagles player
- Heineken Lokpobiri Minister of State for Agriculture
- Owoye Andrew Azazi former Chief of Army Staff (Nigeria), former Chief of Defense Staff under President Olusegun Obasanjo and former National Security Adviser under President Goodluck Jonathan.
Due to massive overseas scholarship programs implemented by the old Rivers State in the 1970s and recent Bayelsa State governments, large numbers of Bayelsan professionals reside in Europe and North America. This is part of the general brain-drain trend affecting many African communities.
The major tertiary institutions in Bayelsa state are:
Local government areas
Bayelsa State consists of eight local government areas:
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