Geography vs. Poli-graphy

In conversation with a colleague the other day, we brought up this topic of geography and geopolitical regions and why certain things make no sense at all.

I am Igbo, from the South-South. No, I’m neither from Delta state, Rivers State or Bayelsa. I’m from Abia. Now how is that south-south you ask?

The south-south geopolitical region includes Akwa-Ibom, Bayelsa, Cross River, Delta, Edo, and Rivers states. The “east” or south-east, is generally regarded as Igbo states – namely Abia, Anambra, Ebonyi, Enugu and Imo states. Let’s look at the map.  Note: the south-south geopolitical zone is a completely different concept from the Niger Delta – which does include Abia, Imo and Ondo states.

nigeria-administrative-map

Abuja is considered the centre of the nation, so lets draw an imaginary line though Abuja; going from left to right. This gives us the north and the south. Next, starting from the south-south state that rises the highest on the map (Edo), take a good look at the states that fall below this point on the map. Cross Rivers and Akwa-Ibom states (south-south) are to the east of Abia and Imo, while the lowest point of Delta state lies slightly above Abia’s lowest point.

Now, if we go purely by geography, one would deduce that Cross River state is more east than all the Igbo states on the map. But, more south than Enugu and Ebonyi; considering the lowest point of the state. Akwa-Ibom also is more east than Abia on the map.

So would I be wrong in saying that I am from the south-south and not from the east?

Here is a quote from Wikipedia:

The Niger Delta, and the “South South Zone”, which includes Akwa Ibom State, Bayelsa State, Cross River State,Delta State, Edo State and Rivers State are two different entities. While the Niger Delta is the oil-producing region the Nigerian South South is a geo-political zone.

It is clear that the current classification of states by region is political and not necessarily geographical. Imagine telling your child or student that Igbos are from the east of Nigeria, while pointing to the south-south on the map. Or trying to explain why Asaba is south-south and Aba is not. Of course it is possible that Igbo states retained the “eastern” region classification left over from the colonial/ early post colonial days, being the more populous ethnic group in the region at that time. But today, that classification is no longer logical, nor is it geographically correct.

After all said and done, does this article change a thing? That is totally up to you. But, when a child outgrows a customized and monogrammed article of clothing, do you force the child to keep wearing it simply because it bears his name? Despite the ill-fit?

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