List of South West States in Nigeria

There are six southwest states in Nigeria with one hundred and thirty-seven local government areas. The states are OndoOsunOyoEkiti, Lagos and Ogun. The region’s inhabitants are mostly Yoruba, and the dominant language is Yoruba.

The South West Nigeria is one of the six geo-political regions in Nigeria. The region is mostly a Yoruba-speaking area as most of the zone falls within Yorubaland–the indigenous cultural homeland of the Yoruba people, a group that makes up the largest ethnic percentage of the southwestern population. However, there are different dialects even within the same state.

In addition to having common weather conditions for agriculture, the South Western region is also known for its commerce and trading activities with a preponderance of micro, small, and medium indigenous industries that are into manufacturing, fabrication, and agro-allied produce. Some of its biggest cities that contribute greatly to the Nigerian economy include Ibadan, Ogbomosho, Ikorodu, Akure, Abeokuta, Oyo, Ifẹ, Ondo City, Ado Ekiti, Iseyin, Sagamu, Badagry, Ilesa, Obafemi Owode, Osogbo, Ikare and Owo.

States in the South West Geopolitical Zone of Nigeria

1. Ekiti State

  • Capital: Ado-Ekiti
  • Tribes: Yoruba
  • Languages: Yoruba, English
  • Economic Activities: Agriculture, Trading

Created out of the Old Ondo in 1996, Ekiti State is an upland zone rising over 250 meters above sea level and covering a total of 6,353 square kilometers of land. It is bordered by Kwara in the north and Osun to the west. Ondo is to the South, and Kogi is to the East. The state is also dotted with rugged hills, such as the Ikere-Ekiti Hills in the south, Efon Alaaye Hills in the west, and Ado-Ekiti in the center. Aside from being the only state with a warm spring in Nigeria, it is the watershed and source of some prominent rivers such as Ero, Ose, Ogbese, and others.

Culturally, the people of Ekiti state are homogeneous, and they speak a dialect of the Yoruba language known as Ekiti. The people of the and are one of the largest ethnic groups among the Yorubas, with an ancestry in the migrated people of Ile Ife. The slight differences in the Yoruba dialect spoken by the people are informed and influenced by their spatial locations, especially the border communities to other states. The people of Ekiti state are hard-working. Their men are predominantly farmers, while the women engage in trading.

The major source of occupation and income in the state is agriculture. Agriculture provides income and employment for about 75% of the populace, producing food and cash crops. Some of the food crops they are known to produce are rice, yam, cassava, maize, and cowpea, while the cash crops are cocoa, oil palm, kola nut, plantain, banana, cashew, citrus, and timber.

2. Lagos State

  • Capital: Ikeja
  • Tribes: Yoruba, Ewe and Ogu
  • Languages: Yoruba, Igbo, Awori, Hausa, Arabic, English
  • Economic Activities: Oil, Agri-food

Lagos State was created on May 27, 1967, and it is one of the known South West states in Nigeria. The state is located on the narrow plain of the Bight of Benin and is dominated by bodies of water, with nearly a quarter of the state’s area being bodies of water. Also marked as both the most populous and smallest state area in Nigeria, Lagos State borders Ogun State to the northeast, making it the only Nigerian state to border only one other state.

Lagos State is inhabited by various indigenous ethnic groups. However, the majority of the people living in the area are Yorubas. There are also the Ewe and Ogu peoples in the far west. Other occupants of the land are non-native Nigerian ethnic groups like Edo, Fulani, Hausa, Igbo, Ijaw, Ibibio, and Nupe. Also forming a significant part of Lagos’ population are immigrants from Benin, China, Ghana, India, Togo, and the United Kingdom.

Economically, Lagos State, the economic and financial hub of Nigeria, is the third most populous city in the world, having a massive retail market that encourages manufacturing sector activities. In addition to being the richest state in Nigeria, Lagos State is also the fifth largest economy in Africa. The state generates two-fifths of the country’s domestic income, and despite being the nation’s smallest in size, Lagos is the only state that independently produces half-year revenues in twelve figures.

More than half of Nigeria’s industries, mainly agri-food and oil services, are concentrated in Lagos State, particularly in industrial zones (Ikeja, Ikorodu, and Surulere) and ports such as Apapa and TinCan Terminals. The state’s commercial port is the fourth biggest in Africa, and it handles over 1.2 million containers a year and three-quarters of Nigeria’s imported refined oil. Major cities of Lagos include Lagos, Ikeja, Lekki, Ikorodu, Eko Atlantic, Badagry, Epe, Ojo, and many others.

3. Ogun State

  • Capital: Abeokuta
  • Tribes: Yoruba, Ijebu, Awori
  • Languages: Yoruba, English
  • Economic Activities: Agriculture, Mining

Also among the South West states in Nigeria is Ogun state, which was created in 1976 with Abeokuta as the capital. Ogun state is known as the ‘gateway state’ because it is strategically positioned as the link by road, rail, air, and sea to the rest of the country. Some of the major towns of importance in the state are Sagamu, Nigeria’s leading kola nut grower, Ijebu Ode – the royal capital of the Ijebu Kingdom, and Ilaro, which served as markets during the mining industry day and still do today.

Ogun State has twenty (20) local government areas, and it borders Lagos State to the south, Oyo State and Osun State to the north, Ondo State to the east, and the Republic of Benin to the west. The state is largely inhabited by the Yoruba ethnic group of southwest Nigeria and also by subgroups, namely the Ikale, Ilaje, Anago, Ketu, Ohori, Etc. Generally, it has six major ethnic groups: the Egba, the Ijebu, the Remo, the Egbado, the Awori, and the Egun. There are also significant numbers of Nigerians from other parts of the country and foreign nationals.

Economic-wise, Ogun State has a large concentration of industrial districts, which has led to its status as the third-richest state in Nigeria. Among the major factories in the state are Dangote Cement in Ibese, Nestlé, Lafarge Cement Factory in Ewekoro, Memmcol in Orimerunmu, Coleman Cables in Sagamu and Arepo, and Procter & Gamble in Agbara. There are also breweries and plastic, rubber, aluminum, and paint manufacturing plants, which are some of the primary sectors contributing to Ogun State’s gross income.

Ogun state is also home to some of the staple foods in the country. Rice, maize, cassava, yam, plantains, cocoa, palm oil, tobacco, and cotton are among the agricultural products that contribute more than 40 percent to Ogun State’s gross domestic product (GDP). Primary mineral resources present in the state include limestone, chalk, phosphate, and clay. The Aro granite quarry provides most of southern Nigeria with construction materials.

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4. Ondo State

  • Capital: Akure
  • Tribes: Yoruba, Ijaw
  • Languages: Yoruba, Ijaw, English
  • Economic Activities: Oil&Gas, Agriculture, Mining

Popularly referred to as the “Sunshine State,” Ondo State was created on February 3, 1976, from the former Western State of Nigeria. It has 19 local government areas and originally included what is now Ekiti state, which was founded in 1996 by General Sanni Abacha.

Ondo State borders Ekiti State to the north, Kogi State to the northeast, Edo State to the east, Delta State to the southeast, Ogun State to the southwest, Osun State to the northwest, and the Atlantic Ocean to the south. Akure, the state capital, is rapidly developing into a commercial and industrial center and is the site of a federal university of technology.

Ondo State is the 19th most populated state in the country and the 25th-largest state by landmass. Its capital is Akure. The state consists of Yoruba subgroups of the Idanre, Akoko, Akure, Ikale, Ilaje, Ondo, and Owo peoples. Ijaw people, such as the Apoi and Arogbo populations, are the inhabitants of the southeastern swamps that are close to the Edo state border. Meanwhile, Yoruba, Ijaw, and English are the official languages spoken by the people of Ondo state. There are, however, numerous dialects of Yoruba spoken in the state (Akoko, Akure, Apoi, Idanre, Ijaw, Ikale, Ilaje, Ondo, and the Owo).

The economy of Ondo state is dominated by the petroleum industry. It is a 15% oil-based economy. The state also produces the most cocoa in the nation. Asphalt mining and activities related to the state’s extensive coastline also contribute to the state’s economy. It is the home to the Idanre inselberg hills, playing host to the highest geographical point in the western half of Nigeria at higher than 1,000 Meters in elevation.

As the eighth-richest in Nigeria, agriculture is essential to Ondo State’s economy, with the primary crops being cotton, tobacco, cocoa, rubber, and lumber. The state cultivates palm oil and cereals for export, while its traditional industries include pottery manufacturing, textile weaving, tailoring, carpentry, and blacksmithing. Fish are also abundant in its many water bodies. Mineral resources you will find in the state are Bitumen, Dimension stones, Feldspar, Gemstones, Glass/Granite, Gypsum, Kaolin, Limestone, and oil/gas.

5. Osun State

  • Capital: Osogbo
  • Tribes: Yoruba
  • Languages: Yoruba, English
  • Economic Activities: Agriculture, Trading

Osun State is one of the South West States in Nigeria. It was created out of Oyo state on 27 August 1991, with Osogbo as its capital. The state borders Ekiti and Ondo states at the east, Kwara state to the north, Ogun state to the south, and to the west by Oyo State. Osun is an inland state. It is the ninth smallest in area and the nineteenth most populous state in Nigeria

With 30 Local Government Areas and over 200 towns (including the ancient kingdom capitals of Ila Orangun, Iragbiji, Ada, Ikirun, Oke-Ila Orangun, Ipetu-Ijesha, Ijebu-Jesa, Erin Oke, Ipetumodu, Ede) divided into three federal senatorial districts, the state of Osun is primarily inhabited by the Yoruba people, mainly of the Ibolo, Ifẹ, Igbomina, Ijesha, and Oyo subgroups. The dominant language in the state is Yoruba, but there are variations in intonation and accent across the towns and cities. Similarly, the state has a highly literate and articulate populace, which makes up a strong and productive workforce.

Osun State is an agrarian state. Farming is largely practiced both at commercial and subsistence scales, and this attracts people from outside the state. The presence of food and cash crops attracts traders and artisans to the state’s prominent markets, such as Owena, Sekona, Ikirun, Ifon, and Odo Ori markets. Some of the known crops produced in the state are cocoa, cassava, millet, maize, potato, and yam. Other key industries, especially in the urban areas, are artisanal mining and livestock herding. Mineral resources also available in the state are Gold, Granite, Columbite, Talc, Tantalite, and Tourmaline.

6.  Oyo State   

  • Capital: Ibadan
  • Tribes: Yoruba
  • Languages: Yoruba, English, Hausa, Igbo, Edo, Efik
  • Economic Activities: Agriculture

Oyo State is in the southwest of Nigeria, and it was among the 3 states carved out of the former Western State of Nigeria in 1976. Oyo State is an inland state that is bordered to the north by Kwara State, to the east by Osun State, and to the southwest by Ogun State and the Republic of Benin. The state is the fifth most populous in Nigeria, and its capital, Ibadan, is the third most populous city in the country and formerly the second most populous city in Africa.

It is also recognized as the center of administration of the old Western Region since the days of British colonial rule. Apart from Ibadan, Oyo state has other important towns such as Oyo, Iseyin, Ogbomoso, Okeho, Saki, Igboho, Kisi, Igbo-Ora, Lalupon, Fiditi, Ilora, and Eruwa. Most Oyo State residents are Yoruba, and the Yoruba language remains dominant.

As the sixth-richest state in Nigeria, Oyo state is mainly an agrarian state, with the western city of Shaki being described as the state’s breadbasket. Cassava, cocoa, and tobacco are among the most important crops to Oyo State’s economy. The state is also known for its cottage industries, including cotton spinning, weaving, leather dyeing, and wood carving.

Enterprises in Ibadan include food processing industries, an abattoir, a brewery, a printing facility, a tobacco processing plant, furniture manufacturing, and car assembly. You can also find vast cattle ranches at Saki, Fasola, and Ibadan and a dairy farm at Monatan in Ibadan. Some of the known mineral resources present in the state are clay, kaolin, and aquamarine.

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