Past Governors Of Cross River State And Their Biography



Cross River, formerly South-Eastern, state, southeastern Nigeria. What is now Cross River state was part of the former Eastern region until 1967, when it became South-Eastern state; it received its present name in 1976. In 1987 the southwestern third of Cross River state became a new state called Akwa Ibom.

Below is the list of administrators and governors of Cross River State as at South-Eatern State till date:

Udokaha Jacob Esuene

1. Brigadier Udokaha Jacob Esuene was the first Military Governor of South-Eastern State (later renamed Cross River State) between May 1967 and July 1975 during the military regime of General Yakubu Gowon.
He was a Nigerian air force officer and the first governor after the state was formed in May 1967 when Eastern Region was split into East-Central State, Rivers State and South-Eastern states.
He became a governor on 28 May 1967 – July 1975, was born on 1936 died 1993. was of Ibibio ethnicity.Paul Ufuoma Omu2. Major General Paul Ufuoma Omu was the 2nd governor of South-Eastern State (later renamed Cross River State) between July 1975 and July 1978 during the military regimes of Generals Murtala Muhammed and Olusegun Obasanjo.
Born on July 1940 in Igbide, Bendel State, Nigeria.
Omu joined the army on December 10, 1962, and was a course mate to Ibrahim Babangida, Sani Bello and Garba Duba at the Nigeria Military Training College.
He was Commander, 33 Infantry Brigade in July 1975, when appointed Governor of South-Eastern State.

Muftau Adegoke Babatunde Elegbede

3. Vice-Admiral Muftau Adegoke Babatunde Elegbede ( 1939 – 19 June 1994) or Tunde Elegbede was Chief of Nigeria’s Defence Intelligence Agency from July 1986 to January 1990 and Military Governor of Cross River State, Nigeria between July 1975 and October 1978
Elegbede attended the Methodist Boys High School in Lagos.
As a Navy Captain, Elegbede was appointed Military Governor of Cross River State between 28 July 1978 and 30 September 1979, when he handed over power to the elected civilian governor Clement Isong at the start of the Nigerian Second Republic. During his tenure, the Maritime Academy of Nigeria was established at Oron (now in Akwa Ibom State).
Elegbede was assassinated by gunmen on 19 June 1994 along the Gbagada/Owonshoki expressway in Lagos, hit by more than 70 automatic rifle bullets. In July 2001, three of the seven suspected robbers were formally charged. However, as of September 2009, nobody had beeonvicted of the murder.

Clement Nyong Isong

4. Clement Nyong Isong, CFR (20 April 1920 – 29 May 2000) was a Nigerian banker and politician who was governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (1967–1975) during the military regime of General Yakubu Gowon. He was later elected as the first civilian governor of Cross River State (1979–1983) in the Nigerian Second Republic.
Isong was born on 20 April 1920 in Eket, Akwa Ibom State. He studied at University College, Ibadan, Iowa Wesleyan College, Mount Pleasant, Iowa, and the Harvard Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, where he obtained a Ph.D. in Economics. He taught economics in the University of Ibadan before joining the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) as secretary, later becoming director of research. He was seconded to the International Monetary Fund as an adviser in the African Department.
Isong died on 29 May 2000. His portrait features on the 1,000 Naira note brought into circulation on October 12, 2005.

Donald Dick Etiebet

5. Chief Donald Dick Etiebet (1934 – 21 July 2015) was a Nigerian politician who was a senator during the Nigerian Second Republic (1979 – 1983). He was then elected governor of Cross River State with the support of the then Senate president Joseph Wayas and senator Joseph Oqua Ansa who all went against seating governor Clement Isong, Fidelis Ikogo Nnang was his deputy, holding this office from October to December 1983, when the military coup brought General Muhammadu Buhari to power.
Etiebet was born on 1934 in Ikot Ekpene in Akwa Ibom State, of Annang origins and died July 21 2015.
He married Nike Maryam Agunbiade, from Oyo State in 1991, and they have three children. His younger brother Donatus Obot Etiebet held office as Minister of Energy in the short-lived cabinet of Ernest Shonekan, continuing in office after that government was removed by General Sani Abacha, and later was a contender to be PDP nominee for governor of Akwa Ibom State in 2007. His son Aniekan Donald Etiebet was another contender for the same post.

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Dan Patrick Archibong

6. Brigadier General Dan Patrick Archibong (4 October 1943 – 11 March 1990) was a Nigerian soldier who was Military Governor of Cross River State from January 1984 until 1986.
Archibong was admitted to the Nigerian Defence Academy (NDA), Kaduna in January 1964. He did not complete the course with his original class because of the crisis of 1966. He returned to the NDA after the war and was commissioned in August 1970, with loss of seniority. Promoted to Colonel, Archibong was appointed Military Governor of Cross River State in January 1984 following the coup in which General Muhammadu Buhari took power, and held the position until 1986.
Born 4 October 1943
Died 11 March 1990 (aged 46)[1]
Spouse(s) Mrs Florence Dan-Archibong
Children 6, including Arthur Javis Archibong.

7. Navy Captain Eben Ibim Princewill was Military Governor of Cross River State, Nigeria between 1986 and December 1989, during the military regime of General Ibrahim Babangida.
He was allowed to retire from the navy with full benefits at the end of his term in office.

Ernest Attah

8. Lt. Colonel Ernest Attah was Military Governor of Cross River State, Nigeria, between December 1989 and January 1992 during the military regime of General Ibrahim Babangida. When he assumed office he found so many problems with the state finances that he dissolved the entire state cabinet and set up two panels of inquiry headed by high court judges Emmanuel Effanga and Dorothy Nsa Eyamba-Idem to probe the administration of his predecessor Eben Ibim Princewill.

Clement David Ebri

9. Clement David Ebri (born 11 December,1952) is a Nigerian politician who was elected on the NRC platform as Governor of Cross River State, Nigeria between January 1992 and November 17, 1993 during the Nigerian Third Republic, leaving office after the military coup that brought General Sani Abacha to power. He was a strong supporter of General Ibrahim Babangida, who had initiated the short-lived third republic.
Ebri was born on 11 December 1952 in Mkpani, Yakurr Local Government Area, Cross River State. He studied at Sacred Heart College, Aba, the Community Secondary School, Ugep, and the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. Before entering politics, Ebri was editor of the Nigerian Chronicle and Director of the Mercantile Bank of Nigeria, and the Savannah Bank of Nigeria. He was the Chief Executive of Brecon Associates, Inter-urban Contracting Services and Dimaron Nigeria Limited.

Ibrahim Kefas

10. Retired Air Commodore Ibrahim Kefas (27 January 1948 – 1 October 2021) served as military administrator of Cross River State in Nigeria between December 1993 and September 1994, and then of Delta State until August 1996 during the military regime of General Sani Abacha.
Ibrahim Kefas was born into a Christian family on 27 January 1948, in Wukari, Taraba State. He was the oldest of many children born to Christian missionary Atewunu Angyu Kefas (Manu). His father, Manu, was one of the missionaries to introduce Christianity to the region. Being a very devout Christian, he put Ibrahim Kefas in Bible College by the age of thirteen hoping he would become a preacher. Ibrahim Kefas, being the youngest student in Bible College at time, completed his program before most but had other plans. He was fascinated by planes and wanted to fly them so he joined the Nigerian Defence Academy and became a pilot before he was 20 years old.
Born 27 January 1948 Wukari, British Nigeria
Died 1 October 2021.

11. Air Vice Marshal Gregory Agboneni (born 30 August 1948) was a former Nigerian soldier and military administrator of Adamawa and Cross River states.
Agboneni attended US Air Force Pilot Training as a foreign student in 1971–1972, after which he served as a soldier and fighter pilot for the Nigerian Air Force. Furing the military regime of Head of State General Sani Abacha Agboneni was appointed as Military Administrator of Adamawa State, an office in which he served between December 1993 and September 1994, and of Cross River State, where he served between September 1994 and August 1996. He was also the Commander of the Order of the Niger.

Umar Farouk Ahmed

12. Colonel Umar Farouk Ahmed was Military Administrator of Cross River State, Nigeria (August 1996 – August 1998) during the military regime of General Sani Abacha. He was then appointed administrator of Kaduna State in August 1998 during the transitional regime of General Abdulsalami Abubakar, handing over power to the elected civilian governor Ahmed Mohammed Makarfi in May 1999. Shortly after, he was retired by the Federal Government, along with all other former military ministers, governors and administrators.
Ahmed graduated from the Nigeria Defence Academy and the University of Jos, where he obtained an Advanced Diploma in Public Administration. He was commissioned in the army in 1976 as a platoon Battery Commander. Subsequent posts were Military Assistant (1986), General Staff Personnel Training Army Headquarters (1987), Academy Adjutant (1989) and Commanding Officer S.S Wing (1992).
In Cross River, his administration was said to be “most inept”. When leaving Kaduna, Ahmed handed over a debt N400 million to his successor, who refused to honor any of his commitments. The Kaduna State House of Assembly resolved to probe his tenure based on allegations of looting. In April 2001, he was one of 16 former military administrators who announced the creation of an association called the United Nigeria Development Forum (UNDF).
He later became a director of First Interstate Bank.

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13. Navy Captain Christopher Osondu was appointed Military Administrator of Cross River State, Nigeria in August 1998 during the transitional regime of General Abdulsalami Abubakar, handing over power to the elected civilian governor Donald Duke in May 1999. Shortly after, he was retired by the Federal Government, along with all other former military ministers, governors and administrators.
In November 2001, he was elected Vice Chairman (North) of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in Abia State. In December 2002 he left the PDP. In the 2003 elections he was a senatorial candidate of the National Democratic Party (NDP) in Abia North.

Donald Duke

14. Donald Duke (born 30 September 1961 in Calabar) is a Nigerian politician. He was the Governor of Cross River State, Nigeria from 29 May 1999 to 29 May 2007 and the 2019 Nigeria Presidential candidate for Social Democratic Party, SDP.
Duke was born to Henry Etim Duke, and the second indigenous (after Ayodele Diyan) and longest ever serving Controller General (then referred to as Chairman board of Customs and excise duties) of the Nigerian Customs service.
He attended Corona School, Lagos and Federal Government College, Sokoto.
He received his LLB degree in 1982 from Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria – Nigeria, the B.L in 1983 from the Nigerian Law School, Lagos and a L.L.M. in Business Law and Admiralty in 1984 from University of Pennsylvania.
Spearheading the incumbent debt of Nigeria, Duke pushed for democracy and against military control. He stated; “What got the military out of power was not democracy but the dreadful state of the economy. If we, the democratic government, cannot deliver food for the mass of people we can forget about democracy.”
Duke received praises for his contributions to the fields of agriculture, urban development, government, environment, information and communication, investment drive, and tourism and making Calabar the cleanest city in Nigeria.
He initiated the Obudu Ranch International Mountain Race which attracted contestants and visitors from other countries. In 2005, he created a special reserve fund for the state meant to ‘‘hedge against economic downturn, and the inevitable rainy day’’. This was meant to cushion the effect of unforeseeable economic challenges that may occasion uncertainty in the state’s Internally generated revenue, as well as monthly allocation from the federal government.
He also initiated the Calabar Carnival which started in 2004 and is popularly referred to as “Africa’s biggest street party.”
Duke initiated the Tinapa Resort project as a way to boost business and tourism in the state. Over $350 million was spent on initial development before phase 1 opening in April 2007. BBC reported in September 2006 that Governor Duke was the only governor specifically mentioned as not being under investigation by the federal Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (Four other governors were also reported as not under investigation but their names were not released.)
Duke announced that he would run for the presidency in the 2007 presidential election, but stepped aside in favour of the eventual winner, Umaru Yar’Adua.
On 8 June 2018, Duke declared interest in running for presidency in 2019.
On Tuesday, 4 September 2018, Duke after much silence as to what party he’ll be running under for president, announced that he’ll be leaving PDP and run under SDP.
On Monday, 14 June 2021, Duke was officially welcomed back to PDP by the party’s leaders after two years of defecting to SDP to join the presidency race. He stated some reasons why he left saying that the party neglected and deviated from some of their core principles and also urged that the party returns to these principles.

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Liyel Imoke


15. Liyel Imoke was elected governor of Cross River State, Nigeria in April 2007, taking office on 29 May 2007. He is a member of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP).
Liyel Imoke hails from Agbo tribe in Abi Local Government Area of Cross River State. Born on 10 July 1961 at Ibadan in the then Western Region of Nigeria.
Liyel Imoke attended Mary Knoll College, Okuku, Ogoja and then the Federal Government College Enugu (1973–1977) for his secondary education. He obtained a bachelor’s degree in International Relations and Economics at the University of Maryland in the United States in 1982. He then studied law at the University of Buckingham, England, gaining an LLB degree in 1985, and then studied at the American University in Washington, D.C. where he gained a master’s degree in Law.
He completed his legal education at the Nigerian Law School, Lagos, in 1988.
Liyel Imoke practiced law in Washington, D. C. and Lagos between 1982 and 1992. He was principal partner of Liyel Imoke and Co., Lagos.
In July 2003, Liyel Imoke was appointed Federal Minister of Power and Steel, and for a while was also Federal Minister of Education. HE implemented reforms laid out in the Nigerian Power Sector Reform Act of 2005, leading to establishment of the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), the Rural Electrification Agency (REA) and the unbundling of the National Electric Power Authority (NEPA).
In April 2007, Liyel Imoke successfully ran for governor of Cross River State under the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) platform. He took office on 29 May 2007. The election was annulled by an Election Appeal Tribunal in July 2008. He was elected again in a re-run on 23 August 2008. He won the 2012 Cross River State gubernatorial election.

Benedict Bengioushuye Ayade

16. Benedict Bengioushuye Ayade (Incumbent) is a Nigerian politician and the current governor of Cross River State since 29 May 2015. He ran successfully for the office of governor in April 2015 on the platform of People’s Democratic Party (PDP). Before that, he was a member of the 7th Senate of Nigeria. He was re-elected as the governor of Cross River State in the 2019 gubernatorial elections. Ayade, on Thursday, May 20, 2021, announced his defection to All Progressives Congress (APC) in Calabar, capital of the State, and was received by Yobe Governor and APC caretaker Committee Chair, Mai Mala Buni.
He was born in Obudu LGA of Cross River State on the 2nd of March, 1968 to the family of Mr. Peter Akinsheye Ayade and Mrs. Beatrice Ngayi Ayade, the patriarch and matriarch of the Ayade Dynasty, both of blessed memory. He hails from Kakum Village, Ipong Ward of Obudu Local Government Area of Cross River State, Nigeria. His parents were both devout Catholics. His father worked as a public servant with the water board.
Benedict Ayade received his primary education at St. Stephens Primary School, Obudu, and proceeded to Government Secondary School, Obudu, Nigeria, for his secondary education.
Ayade earned his B.Sc. (Honours) from the University of Ibadan in Ibadan, Nigeria (1984–1988). He then proceeded to obtain his M.Sc. in microbiology (1989–1990) and subsequently his Ph.D in environmental microbiology from the same University of Ibadan (1990–1994), winning the Best Doctoral Dissertation Award in Environmental Microbiology. Ayade also has an MBA (2000–2002) from Ambrose Alli University Ekpoma, Edo State. Ayade is a lawyer with a LLB law degree (2006–2010) from Delta State University, Abraka. Ayade went on to work as a lecturer at Delta State University, Abraka, where he was subsequently appointed professor.

From his work in groundwater remediation in Nigeria, Ayade invented a sewage treatment plant powered by solar energy.