Rivers State also known simply as Rivers is named after the many Rivers that border its territory. It is one of the 36 States of Nigeria with a population of 5,198,716 according to 2006 census data.
The State was part of the oil Rivers Protectorate from 1885 till 1893, when it became part of the Niger Coast Protectorate in 1900. The region was merged with the chartered territories of the Royal Niger Company to form the colony of Southern Nigeria. The State was created on the 27th of May 1967 by the then regime of General Yakubu Gowon with the split of the Eastern Region of Nigeria. Until 1996 the State contained the area now known as Bayelsa State.
Rivers State has a total area of 11,007km2 (4,277m2) making it the 26th largest state in Nigeria. It is a predominantly low-lying pluvial State in Southern Nigeria, located in the eastern part of the Niger Delta on the ocean ward extension of the Benue Trough. The inland part of the State consists of the tropical rainforest and towards the coast, the typical Niger Delta environment feature many mangroves, swamps, and its topography range from flat plain with a network of rivers to tributaries. It is bounded on the south by the Atlantic Ocean, to the North by Imo and Abia State, to the east by Akwa-Ibom State and to the west by Bayelsa and Delta States.
Endowed by nature as the nation’s treasure base, Rivers State is blessed with vast deposit of oil and gas, vast arable land, seaports and rivers, a vast array of wildlife and plants. Other natural resources found within its boundaries are silica sand, glass sand, and clay. The availability of these resources has played the role of the main driver of the economic development of the state and has made the state the richest and most important section of the African Zone of the British Empire.
More than 60% of the country’s output of crude oil is produced in the state thereby making it economically significant as the center of Nigeria’s oil industry and a major contributor to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
Rivers State has maintained its importance as a leading supplier of wealth to the nation for centuries. In 2007, the State ranked 2nd nationwide with a Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of $22.07 Billion and a Per Capital Income of $3.965
There are three tiers of government in Rivers State and they are: The Executive council, the Legislature and the Judiciary. The State Executive council is made up of the Governor, the Deputy Governor, and the Commissioners, Special Advisers, and the Secretary to the State Government. The Commissioners are the overall heads of the ministries, while the Permanent Secretaries overseas the day-to-day activities of the same ministries as Chief Accounting Officers.
The Parastatals are organs of the government charged for the establishment and running of certain key economic areas, of the State Government. They are placed under the supervision of the Governor or the Deputy Governor. The Special Advisers are assigned responsibilities in the following areas to enhance productivity and accountability; education, information, hotels and tourism etc. The Rivers State House of Assembly is the legislative (law making) arm of the Government. The Judiciary is the body that interprets the law in the State. It is headed by the State Chief Justice. The second tier of government is the Local Government administration. This is the grass root government that is close to the people of the State. There are twenty-three (23) local government councils and each is run by its executive council and legislature.
The current cabinet is serving under Governor Chief (Barr) Ezenwo Wike, who assumed his first tenure in office as Governor on 29th May, 2015 with Deputy Governor Dr (Mrs) Ipalibo Harry-Banigo.
The present administration has promised to work relentlessly towards actualizing its vision and mission for a better Rivers State and as such it developed a blue print that will touch every area of life of the average Rivers citizen. The new vision that entails responsive governance spells out its mission, vision and priorities that it hope to pursue.