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The region of the state was created out of Cross River State on September 23, 1987 by the then Military Administration of General Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida.[7] No central government existed among the people of what is now Akwa Ibom State prior to the British invasion in 1904. Instead, the Annang, Oron, Efik, Ibonos and Ibibio were all autonomous groups.

Although several Scottish missionaries arrived in Calabar in 1848, and Ibono in 1887, the British did not firmly establish control of the area until 1904. In that year, the Enyong Division was created encompassing the area of the current state of Akwa Ibom, with headquarters at Ikot Ekpene, an Annang city described by the noted Africanist Kaanan Nair, as the cultural and political capital of Annang[8] and Ibibio.

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