Imo State is one of the 36 States of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, with an administrative structure of 27 Local Government Areas (LGAs) in the south east region of Nigeria. It lies within latitudes 4°45'N and 7°15'N, and longitude 6°50'E and 7°25'E. It has a total land mass of 5530.49 sq. kilometers and an estimated population of about 4.9million people, who are generally enterprising and hospitable.
The state came into existence in 1976 having been previously part of East-Central State, Part of it was split off in 1991 as Abia State and another became part of Ebonyi State. The state is named after the Imo River which bears the name of a prominent Nigerian family who were the chiefs of Imo State before the ratification of a more formal government.
Imo state has a three-tier administrative structure: State, Local and Autonomous community levels. The three arms at state level are the Executive, the Legislative and the Judiciary. The executive arm is headed by an elected Governor who is assisted by a deputy governor, commissioners and executive advisers.
Imo State occupies a strategic location as the Heartland of the Eastern Region of Nigeria with Owerri as its capital. The State enjoys proximity to many of the neighboring states’ metropolitan markets including Port Harcourt, Onitsha, Enugu, Abakaloki, Yenagoa, Calabar and Uyo.
Imo State has an International Cargo Airport in Owerri, and access to the seaports of Port Harcourt and Calabar. It is generally known as a tourist center and investment haven for the South Eastern Region of Nigeria.
Many investment opportunities exist in the state including oil and gas exploration, chemical plants, brewery plants, hydroelectric plants, gas-fired power plants, grain mills, starch production, cashews, fruit and vegetable juice concentrate production, integrated multi-oil seed processing plants, ceramics, inland waterway transport, and palm produce industry, real estate.
There are over 163 oil wells at over 12 different locations in the state. The main petroleum companies operating in the state are Addax Petroleum, Chevron Corporation, Royal Dutch Shell and Agip.
Many more oil and gas opportunities are yet to be developed. The federal government has been called to inspect newly discovered oil-rich areas which might help foster economic development and job creation.
Independent global brewer Heineken, through its subsidiary Nigerian Breweries, has significant investment in Imo State. The company manages the world-class Awo-omamma Brewery, a multiple-line plant.
Industrial parks and processing zones to harness the huge agricultural produce and minerals would give a major boost to the state's economic growth and industrialization. Some of Imo mineral-based raw materials include: limestone, clay, shale, petroleum, Kaoline, lead/zinc Ore, gravel (crushed lataritic sand), lignite, gypsium, black marble and glass sand.
Oguta Lake, Palm Beach Holiday Resort in Awo-omamma and a host of other tourist sites along the banks of the 26 km-length Njaba River are present hotspots for tourism.
Agriculture is the primary occupation, but due to over-farming and high population density, the soil has greatly degraded. One primary source of revenue for Imo State Government is from palm oil production contributed by both large scale and small scale production.
Imo State has natural endowments and the government has put in place policies and programmes aimed at creating enabling environment for investments.
The operating environment has its challenges. The power supply can be erratic; the land-acquisition process can be complex and time-consuming; transport can be a challenge; and the tax system can be difficult. Nonetheless, things have been improving steadily Nigeria. And Imo State offers a location, a climate and a businessfriendly environment that make this state one of the most attractive places in which to invest in Nigeria, West Africa.
There are several institutions of higher learning including state and federal government run institutions such as:
(1) Imo State University, Owerri.
(2) Alvan Ikoku Federal College of Education, Owerri.
(3) Federal University of Technology, Owerri.
(4) Michael Okpara College of Agriculture, Umuagwu. Federal Polytechnic, Nekede.
(5) Eastern Palm University, Ogboko, Ideato (6) Hezekiah University, Umudi