The richest states in Nigeria are not merely defined by their natural beauty or cultural diversity, but by their impressive economic prowess. As Africa’s most populous nation with a booming economy, Nigeria has carved its place among the continent’s wealthiest countries based on GDP.
Nigeria’s 36 states each possess their own unique characteristics, population sizes, and economic opportunities. Among them, certain states have risen above the rest, establishing themselves as major economic hubs and driving forces behind Nigeria’s overall growth.
In this article, we will be looking at the top 10 richest states in Nigeria, the web of factors that make these states the economic powerhouses of Nigeria. From their impressive Gross Domestic Product (GDP) to their abundant natural resources and thriving human capital, we will explore the key elements that shape their economic success.
In addition to the top 10, we will also provide detailed information on the financial capabilities of all the 36 states in Nigeria, including their Gross Domestic Product per Capita (GDP per Capita), Purchasing Power Parity per Capita (PPP per Capita), Gross Domestic Product at Purchasing Power Parity (GDP PPP), expressed in both our local currency, Naira, and the foreign currency, dollars.
Nigeria is geographically divided into six geopolitical zones, with each zone encompassing multiple states. Among these zones, the southwest zone, led by Lagos state, has emerged as the highest revenue generator establishing Lagos as the wealthiest state in the country.
By examining the internal revenue and capital income of these states, we can gauge their true wealth and understand the economic forces driving their success. Whether you are a Nigerian seeking to know where your state stands on the country’s wealth ladder or simply intrigued by the economic dynamics of Nigeria, this article provides the much needed insights
1. Lagos State
GDP per capita: $6,614 Billion
Lagos State is the richest state in Nigeria but the smallest state in Nigeria, generating 40% of the country’s income. Despite its small size, it earns revenue in the billions. Lagos is a bustling metropolis that attracts 20,000 new residents daily, seeking opportunities in this global city. It is also the most beautiful state in Nigeria.
Lagos State is not only the wealthiest state in Nigeria but also the most populated state in Nigeria. The port in Lagos handles a significant amount of containers and three-quarters of Nigeria’s imported refined oil. It is the fourth largest port in Africa, and the Apapa site alone receives 60% of the country’s imports. Lagos is also home to the Nigerian Stock Exchange and many private-sector businesses. With its thriving startup ecosystem and a high percentage of internet users, Lagos is a hotspot for creative businesses and cultural events.
Lagos State is about four times wealthier than the second-richest state in Nigeria due to its substantial revenue generation, it can also be said that it is the best state in Nigeria. The city is undergoing major construction projects, including the Dangote Group Oil Refinery, which will be Africa’s largest oil refinery. The Eko-Atlantic metropolis, a planned city on a reclaimed island, is another ambitious project in Lagos. It has the richest local government in Nigeria, which is Lagos Island.
With 180 kilometres of shoreline and sedimentary rock foundations, Lagos State aspires to become the “Dubai of Africa.” It aims to be a hub for commerce, tourism, and modernity. Lagos International Airport, which handles 75% of Nigeria’s international arrivals and departures, further solidifies the state’s position as the wealthiest in the country.
2. Rivers State
GDP per capita: $2,277 Billion
Capital: Port Harcourt
Rivers State is the second-richest state in Nigeria, located in the Niger Delta region. The primary source of its wealth is oil and gas production and also one of the best states in Nigeria. The oil and gas sector makes up 44.6% of the state’s gross domestic product (GDP), more than agriculture and computer technology combined. Industries and services contribute less to Rivers State’s GDP, with only 7% and 6%, respectively.
Rivers State is home to the headquarters of Nigeria Liquified Natural Gas Limited, a national company responsible for producing and exporting liquefied natural gas. The state holds a 49% stake in the company through the national oil corporation, NNPC. Shell owns 25.6%, Total owns 15%, and Eni owns 10.0%.
Bonny Island, located in Rivers State, is famous for its refineries and gas processing complexes. The state is also home to various ethnic groups, including the Ogoni people, who gained international attention in the 1990s for their campaign against Shell’s environmental impact. In addition to oil and gas, fishing, agriculture, silica sand, and clay contribute to the wealth of Rivers State.
Rivers State is known for its universities and has tried diversifying its economy recently. The government promotes investment in non-oil sectors like hospitality, healthcare, and information technology. This diversification is expected to create jobs and generate additional revenue for the state.
The state’s rapid economic growth has led to significant infrastructure development, including the Port Harcourt Mall, the Rivers State Ecumenical Centre, and the iconic Port Harcourt Pleasure Park.
With its rich natural resources, diverse ethnic groups, and strategic location, Rivers State has excellent potential for further economic growth and development. It attracts domestic and foreign investments, making it one of the wealthiest states in Nigeria today.
3. Akwa Ibom
GDP per capita: $2,962 Billion
Akwa Ibom is the third richest state in Nigeria. It is located in southern Nigeria, specifically in the South-South region. The state is surrounded by two other South-South states, one South East state, and the Atlantic Ocean. Akwa Ibom was created in September 1987 and is known for its significant population, ranking Nigeria’s 15th most populous state.
The state has a diverse population, with various ethnic groups and tribes. The Anaangs, Oron, and Ibibio people are among the dominant groups in Akwa Ibom. It was carved out from Cross River State in 1987.
Akwa Ibom is considered wealthy due to its thriving economy. It is well-known for its involvement in highly productive activities such as crude oil and natural gas production. It is recognized as one of the top oil-producing states in Nigeria.
In addition to oil and gas, Akwa Ibom also engages in agricultural activities. The state is home to one of the largest shopping malls in the country, which contributes significantly to its economy.
4. Imo State
GDP per capita: $2,996 Billion
Imo State is located in the southeastern part of Nigeria and ranks as the fourth richest state in Nigeria. Imo State is rich in natural resources, including zinc, natural gas, crude oil, lead, limestone, fine sand, and white clay. It is home to more than 163 oil wells. Major oil companies like Agip, Royal Dutch Shell, Chevron Corporation, and Addax Petroleum operate in the region, contributing to its wealth.
Agriculture is a significant occupation in Imo State, with crops like yam, cassava, and other agricultural products cultivated by the residents. Aside from its natural resources, Imo State’s wealth is also attributed to various industrial businesses, ongoing infrastructure projects, and reserves of valuable resources like crude oil, natural gas, and sand.
Imo State stands out not only as one of the richest states in Nigeria but also as the wealthiest state in the South-Eastern region of the country.
5. Delta State
GDP per capita: $2,306 Billion
Delta State, located in the Niger Delta region, is the fifth richest state in Nigeria. It plays a significant role in Nigeria’s economy, producing 35% of its crude oil output and 40% of its natural gas reserves.
Besides oil and gas, Delta State is blessed with other valuable natural resources such as silica, lignite, kaolin, tar sand, gemstones, and limestone. The state has diverse industries, including textile, glass, chemical, chalk, plastic, and rubber plants. Fishing and farming also contribute significantly to the state’s economy.
One of the notable industries in Delta State is the Delta Steel Company (DSC), located in Aladja and specializes in steel manufacturing. However, the DSC is currently controlled by Premium Steel and Mines Limited (PSML).
Delta State is home to the Ethiope River, famous for being Nigeria’s only clean body of water. It is a popular tourist attraction, and the source of the river flows under a magnificent tree, adding to its charm.
The state is also known for the Ogbe-Ogonogo Modern Market, which is one of Nigeria’s major marketplaces. Additionally, Delta State receives 13% of the federal income from natural resources on a derivation basis, as stated in Nigeria’s 1999 constitution. This further solidifies its position as one of the wealthiest states in the country.
6. Anambra State
GDP per capita: $2,002 Billion
Population: 5,527, 809
Anambra State, located in the southeastern part of Nigeria, is known for its two important economic centres, the capital city of Awka and the port city of Onitsha. Despite being the second smallest state in the country, Anambra has the eighth highest population in Nigeria, and Onitsha is one of the most populated cities in the country.
Anambra State is often called the “Light of the Nation” and is recognized as the state with the lowest poverty rate in Nigeria. As a result, it ranks as the tenth richest state in the country.
This state is rich in natural resources such as natural gas, crude oil, bauxite, and ceramics. It also has fertile land for agro-industrial activities like fishing and farming. The availability of arable soil has led to a significant area of cultivated land for grazing and agriculture.
Anambra State began its journey towards becoming one of the richest states in Nigeria in 2006 with the establishment of Orient Petroleum Refinery (OPR), the first private refinery in Nigeria. It became an oil-producing state in 2012 when oil was discovered in the Anambra River Basin. The state has around 13 oil wells and the capacity to produce over 100,000 barrels daily.
Anambra State is rich in oil and houses significant industrial and commercial ventures. It is home to Innoson, Nigeria’s leading automotive manufacturer, located in Nnewi. The city of Onitsha is home to International Breweries PLC, which produces popular brands like Hero Lager, Castle Milk Stout, Grand Malt, and Beta Malt. Onitsha is a major commercial and market centre in West Africa, contributing to the state’s internal income.
The state also hosts numerous financial institutions, including the Nigerian Stock Exchange, further enhancing its reputation as one of the richest states in Nigeria.
7. Ondo State
GDP per capita: $2,326 Billion
Ondo State, situated in the southwestern region of Nigeria, has a rich history and is known for its cultural diversity. The state is home to various ethnic groups with unique traditions and customs. The major ethnic groups in Ondo State include the Akoko, Akure, Okitipupa, Ilaje, and Owo.
With a population of around 3.5 million, Ondo State has a vibrant and dynamic society. The people of Ondo State engage in various economic activities, including agriculture, trade, manufacturing, and services.
Agriculture plays a significant role in the state’s economy. Ondo State is blessed with fertile land and favourable climatic conditions, making it suitable for cultivating various crops such as cocoa, palm produce, rubber, timber, and food crops like yam, cassava, and maize. The state is one of the significant cocoa producers in Nigeria, contributing significantly to the country’s agricultural output.
In addition to agriculture, Ondo State is also known for its mineral resources. The state has deposits of minerals such as limestone, granite, kaolin, bitumen, and clay. These mineral resources provide opportunities for mining and industrial activities, contributing to the state’s economic growth.
Ondo State is committed to attracting investments and promoting economic development. The state government has implemented policies and initiatives to create a conducive business environment, encourage entrepreneurship, and attract both local and foreign investors. Efforts are being made to improve infrastructure, provide necessary amenities, and support the growth of industries in the state.
The tourism potential of Ondo State is also noteworthy. The state has natural attractions such as beautiful beaches, waterfalls, caves, and wildlife reserves. Places like Idanre Hills, Ebomi Lake, and the famous Owo Museum of Antiquities attract tourists from within and outside Nigeria, contributing to the state’s revenue and economic growth.
8. Ogun State
GDP per capita: $2,024 Billion
Ogun State is located in southwest Nigeria and is known as “the Gateway State.” It is the eighth richest state in Nigeria, mainly because it has many industrial areas.
Several big factories in Ogun State contribute to its economic wealth. Some of these include Dangote Cement, Nestlé, Lafarge Cement Factory, Memmcol, Coleman Cables, and Procter & Gamble. These factories are involved in cement production, food processing, breweries, and plastic, rubber, aluminium, and paint manufacturing.
Agriculture is also an important sector in Ogun State, with crops like rice, maize, cassava, yam, plantains, cocoa, palm oil, tobacco, and cotton significant contributors to the state’s economy. These agricultural products make up more than 40% of the state’s gross domestic product (GDP).
Ogun State’s capital city is Abeokuta, an important economic centre. It serves as a crucial connection point for road and rail transportation between Lagos and other parts of the country. The state has a large amount of arable land, with about 74% of its surface suitable for farming. However, only 30% of this land is currently used for agriculture. There are also remnants of tropical rainforest and savannah woodland in the northwest part of the state.
Ogun State has valuable mineral resources such as limestone, chalk, phosphate, and clay. The Aro granite quarry in the state provides construction materials for southern Nigeria.
Apart from its wealth, Ogun State’s strategic location is another advantage. It shares a border with Lagos State and has access to the ocean and the Republic of Benin, opening up trade and commerce opportunities.
9. Bayelsa State
GDP per capita: $4,355 Billion
Bayelsa State, located in Nigeria, is a region rich in valuable resources. One of its most important assets is oil, which contributes to the country’s economy and provides employment opportunities. The land in Bayelsa is also fertile, making it suitable for farming and enhancing the state’s economic strength through food production.
The abundance of water in Bayelsa supports a thriving fishing industry, providing people with food and livelihoods. Additionally, the state is blessed with beautiful natural surroundings, including diverse plant and animal life. This makes Bayelsa an excellent place for nature enthusiasts to explore and appreciate the environment.
Bayelsa State is a unique and promising location with significant advantages. Its oil reserves contribute to the nation’s prosperity, while the fertile land supports agricultural productivity. The presence of ample water resources fuels a thriving fishing industry. Moreover, the state’s natural beauty and diverse ecosystems make it an attractive destination for those who enjoy nature. By effectively utilizing these resources and investing in key areas, Bayelsa State can continue to grow, generating more job opportunities and enhancing the overall well-being of its residents.
10. Niger State
GDP per capita: $1,721 Billion
Niger State is situated in the northern part of Nigeria and is the largest state in Nigeria, covering an expansive area of 76,363 square kilometres. Despite being the biggest state in nigeria, it is not the most populous state, with a population of approximately 7 million people.
One of the notable features of Niger State is its significant contribution to the nation’s economy. This economic strength can be attributed to various sectors, including agriculture, mining, and energy.
Niger State is home to two major hydroelectric power stations: the Shiroro Dam and the Kainji dam. These power stations harness the energy of flowing water to generate electricity, providing a vital power source to the state and the surrounding regions. The presence of these hydroelectric power stations plays a crucial role in supporting industrial and commercial activities, as well as improving the quality of life for the residents.
In addition to its economic significance, Niger State boasts diverse natural landscapes and cultural heritage. The state is characterized by its unique blend of scenic beauty, including vast plains, rolling hills, and the meandering River Niger. It is also home to various ethnic groups, each with its rich cultural traditions and customs.
|Rank||State||GDP Per Capita (in US Dollars)official exchange||PPP Per Capita(in US Dollars)||GDP (in trillionsof Naira)||GDP PPP(in billion of US Dollars)||GDP(in billion of US Dollars)official exchange|
|3||Akwa Ibom State||2,962||7,739||₦7.77||50.30||19.25|
|14||Cross River State||2,255||5,892||₦4.07||26.33||10.08|
Definitions of Terminologies
1. GDP (in billion of US Dollars) official exchange: This refers to the total value of all goods and services produced within a country’s borders during a specific period, typically measured in billions of US Dollars. The official exchange rate is the rate at which the country’s currency can be exchanged for US Dollars.
2. GDP PPP (in billion of US Dollars): GDP PPP stands for Gross Domestic Product at Purchasing Power Parity. It is a measure of the total value of goods and services produced within a country’s borders, taking into account the relative cost of living and inflation rates between countries. It is also measured in billions of US Dollars.
3. GDP (in trillions of Naira): This refers to the total value of all goods and services produced within a country’s borders during a specific period, measured in trillions of Naira.
4. PPP Per capita (in US Dollars): PPP per capita is a measure of average income or wealth per person in a country, taking into account the relative cost of living and inflation rates between countries. It is expressed in US Dollars and represents the purchasing power of an average individual in that country.
5. GDP per capita (in US Dollars): GDP per capita is a measure of the average income or wealth per person in a country. It is calculated by dividing the country’s GDP by its population, and it is expressed in US Dollars. It provides an indication of the standard of living and economic well-being of the population.
6. Official exchange: Official exchange refers to the rate at which a country’s currency can be exchanged for another currency, typically the US Dollar. It is determined by the respective governments and central banks and can fluctuate based on various factors, such as market forces, economic conditions, and monetary policies.
Nigeria’s economy is strong and diverse, thanks to the contributions of its different states. Lagos is leading the way with its busy city life and successful industries.
Rivers and Akwa Ibom also play important roles in the oil and gas sector. Imo, Delta, and Anambra have wealth from various resources, like natural gas and agriculture. Ondo, Ogun, and Bayelsa each have their own strengths that help Nigeria’s economy.
Overall, these states work together to drive the country’s growth and economic strength in Africa.
Frequently Asked Question
How many states are in Nigeria?
Nigeria has 36 states and 1 Federal Capital Territory, making a total of 37 administrative divisions.
Which state is the largest state in Nigeria?
The largest state in Nigeria is Niger State, located in the North-central region of the country.
What is the richest local government in Ebonyi State?
The richest local government in Ebonyi State is Afikpo North Local Government Area.
What is the richest local government in Benue State?
The richest local government in Benue State is Guma Local Government Area.
Who is the richest man in Anambra State?
Arthur Eze is the richest man in Anambra State. His wealth is derived from businesses, investments, and properties. He was born in 1948 in the Dunukofia Local Government Area of Ukpo town, and he is often referred to as “Ozoigbondu” due to his reputation and influence.
Which state is the biggest in Nigeria?
The biggest state in Nigeria in terms of land area is Niger State, located in the North-central region of the country.
Which state has the highest population in Nigeria?
Lagos State has the highest population in Nigeria.