Geopolitical Zones in Nigeria And Their States (Full List)

Geopolitical Zones in Nigeria And Their States (Full List). Nigeria is a Federal Republic comprising 36 States and its Federal Capital Territory, Abuja. The states are grouped into six geopolitical zones, the North Central (NC), North East (NE), North West (NW), South West (SW), South East (SE) and South (SS).

Geopolitical Zones in Nigeria

The geopolitical zones in Nigeria are currently six in number, with each containing a set of people with similar culture, belonging to the same ethnic group or even sharing the same history.

There are six geopolitical zones in Nigeria with each zone having similarities in ethnicity and culture amongst the states, there are also 774 local governments areas spread across these zones.

Nigeria as the giant of Africa and the most populous black nation in the world is a Federal Republic that has 36 states and Abuja, which has the status of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT). The 36 states and the FCT are grouped into six geopolitical zones to make up Nigeria in totality.

These six geopolitical zones and states under them are carefully carved based on geographical location, similar ethnicity, economic activities and common political ideology.

Nigeria as a multi-ethnic country with over 519 languages needs to be properly managed under a controlled system and administrative division that is why the six zones were created during the regime of President General Sani Abacha.

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It was former President Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida who during his regime that introduced it while looking for a way to best allocate resources.

He then grouped the 36 states into Six (6) geopolitical zones which are; North West, North East, North Central, South West, South East and South South respectively.


North West region is made up of Jigawa state, Kano state, Kaduna state, Katsina state, Kebbi state, Sokoto state and Zamfara state. They occupy a total land area measured at 216,065kmsquare which makes the North West one of the largest regions in the country.

The North-western region is the most populated geopolitical zone in Nigeria with population reaching more than 90 million residents in its area. The National Population Commission according to the figures gotten from its 2006 census, stated that the North West geo-political zone is the most populated zone in the whole Nigeria.

It is predominantly a Hausa speaking region though other major languages exist here. The residents of this region are mostly farmers as agricultural practices such as cattle rearing, planting cash crops such as millets, yam, beans, okro, etc are mostly carried out in this part of the country.

These includes Kanuri, Fulani, Zuru, Gbagyi, Jabba, Zara, Maguzawa and Baju. Others ethnic groups in the North West geopolitical zones are the Dakarkari, Kaje, Gwari, Kataf, Kambari, Zabarmawa and Gungawa among others. Major towns/cities in North West include Zaria, Kaduna, Katsina, Kano, Dutse, Gusau and Birnin-Kebbi.

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The North East geopolitical zone comprises of Borno state, Bauchi state, Yobe state, Adamawa state, Taraba state and Gombe state. Islam is the major religion in this zone as the percentage of Muslims as opposed to Christians is on the high side.

In terms of economic activity, agriculture and animal farming is very predominant among indigenes of this geopolitical zone. Also, it is said that the North East is the most dangerous region in Nigeria as Boko Haram, a deadly terrorist group are known to be responsible for more than five thousand deaths as recorded by the NPC.

These zone comprises of Major ethnic groups like the Kanuri, Fulfulde, Fulani, Babur, Balewa, Tiv, Tangalawaja and Mumuye. Potiskum, Yola, Maiduguri, Bauchi, Jalingo, Damaturu and Gombe are the major towns in this geopolitical zone.


Popularly referred to as the Middle belt, the North Central is the most heterogeneous of all the Geopolitical zones in Nigeria. Due to its diversity, there are many ethnic groups that speak different languages located in this zone.

Unlike the rest, the North Central is made up of people with different ethnic backgrounds that do not understand each others language. Also it houses the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.

The major ethnic groups in this place include the Igala people of Kogi state, Igbira, Idoma, Tiv, Yoruba, Gbagyi, Nupe, Berom, Mangu, Mada-Eggon and Gwandara.

The north central geopolitical zone in Nigeria comprises of 6 states including the Federal Capital Territory Abuja making it 7(note: Abuja is not a state). These includes Niger state, Kwara state, Kogi state, Benue state, Nasarawa state and Plateau state.

Minna, Ilorin, Lokoja, Makurdi, Lafia and Jos are the major towns/cities here. Abuja isn’t a state but can be included among the states in the north central geopolitical zone in Nigeria.


The South West geopolitical zone in Nigeria is made of predominantly the Yoruba speaking ethnic groups with a a pocket size of other ethnic groups.

The South West geopolitical zone comprises of the following states: Lagos state, Oyo state, Ogun state, Osun state, Ekiti state and Ondo state.

In this Yoruba dominated region, we can identify Lagos, Ibadan, Abeokuta, Osogbo, Ado-Ekiti and Akure as the major cities.

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South East is the Igbo dominated geopolitical zone in the country with majority of the indigenes speaking the Igbo language.

It is made up of 5 states which includes Abia state, Enugu state, Anambra state, Ebonyi state and Imo state.

Major towns here are Onitsha, Owerri, Aba, Enugu and Abakaliki.


This is the oil producing geopolitical zone in Nigeria sometimes loosely referred to as the Niger Delta.

The states here include Akwa Ibom state, Delta state, Rivers state, Bayelsa state, Edo state and Cross River state.

This region that is less than 7% of the total area of Nigeria is the Region that produces the oil used in sustaining the Nigerian economy.

The major towns here include Uyo, Asaba, Port Harcourt, Yenagoa, Warri, Benin and Cross River.

This region is also made of numerous ethnic groups, these includes the Ijaw, Itsekiris, Urhobos, Isokos, Ikwerre, Bini, Essan, Ogoni, Ibibio, Efik, Annang and Ejagham.

Economic Activities of the Six Geopolitical Zones in Nigeria

The geopolitical zones in Nigeria are closely tighten into the economic activities.

  • The North geopolitical zones are great in economic activities, like cattle, agriculture, commerce, and oil production.
  • The South geopolitical zones are engaged into activities, like the production of oil and gas, farming, rubber, nut shell, periwinkle shell, granite, palm wine, herbal medicine, textile, and industrialization.
  • The North zones are rich in coal, tin, semi-precious stones.
  • The South zones are rich in crude oil, natural gas, silver nitrate, ceramics, iron ore, tin, and rock.
  • The North is a provider of tomatoes, onion, potatoes, flax and groundnut.
  • The South is a provider of rice, biter-kola, cashew, breadfruit, yam and cassava.

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