Rivers State, one of Nigeria's 36 States was created by Decree No. of 1967. The state is the heart of the hydrocarbon industry and is responsible for a huge chunk of the nation's foreign exchange earnings. The status of Rivers State in terms of its strategic importance and significance to the nation's economy earned it the name, Treasure Base of the Nation. And Port Harcourt, the State capital, is known throughout Nigeria as the Garden City, because of its beautiful layout and topography.
It is bounded on the South by the Atlantic Ocean, the North by Anambra, Imo and Abia States, the East by Akwa Ibom State and the West by Bayelsa and Delta States. Rivers State, which is in the Niger Delta, has a topography of flat plains netted in a marvelous web of rivers and tributaries. Among the rivers are New Calabar, Orashi, Bonny, Sambreiro and Bartholomeo. With a good climate, many rivers and vast areas and arable land, the people of Rivers State are predominantly farmers, fishermen and traders.
The state has a population of 3.9 million people who are hospitable and business-friendly with rich, unique cultural heritage. The people come from various ethnic groups namely, Abua, Andoni, Ekpeye, Engenni, Etche, Igbani, Ikwerre, Kalabari, Ndoni, Ogba, Ogoni, Okrika, etc. The ethnic groups have existed for centuries and before the creation of Rivers State belonged to the political entity known as "Oil Rivers"
Port Harcourt, the state capital, is Nigeria's second busiest seaport. This cosmopolitan city has a busy international airport with regular links to all parts of the country and major cities of the world, marks the eastern terminal of Nigeria's railway system and is the largest commercial and industrial center in Nigeria outside Lagos, with four University degree-awarding institutions. Besides, Rivers State with 23 Local Government Councils boasts of two refineries, a petro-chemical plant, fertilizer plant and a liquefied natural gas plant.
The people of Rivers State on January 9th, and 16th, 1999 in one-voice gave, Dr. Peter Odili the mandate to become the first Chief Executive of the new Rivers State.
Taking over the mantle of leadership on May 29, 1999 and armed with the knowledge of the seriousness of the situation, the abject poverty and deprivation of his people in the midst of plenty, Governor Odili announced his resolve to bring about urgent and dramatic changes in the administration of the State. Having taken this bold step at the inception of this Administration, His Exellency Governor Odili inaugurated various committees to have in-depth study of areas that affected the people most in alleviating their suffering.