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Arewa is a Hausa language term for north, one of the cardinal directions. Its popular usage in contemporary Nigeria sometimes suggests a northern Nigerian regionalism or proto-nationalism. In both Nigeria and Niger Republic, Arewa is the name of very specific historical entities: in Niger and Nigeria a pre-colonial state, and in Nigeria a small local government region.

Specific meanings[edit]

In Nigeria, it simply refers to the local term for geopolitical area north of River Niger and River Benue that geographically split Nigeria into north, west and east. In Niger, it has a very specific meaning. Arewa (Niger) is a small pre-colonial animist dominated state of the Dallol Maouri valley, known for the indigenous "Maouri"/"Mawri" Hausa culture.[1][2][3][4] In Nigeria, Arewa Dandi is a "Local Government Area" in Kebbi State, and has been called simply "Arewa" in the past.

Arewa is taking the destiny of its economy in a renewed way: The Arewa we love to see in couple of years: Arewa (Northern Nigeria) region is the fastest developing region in Africa, leading in planning and executing strategies, enhancing its position as the African business and investment destination, welcoming businesses seeking a strategic base in Nigeria from which to implement their growth strategies and to manage and integrate their operations for Nigeria, Africa and beyond. Arewa is experiencing new waves of activities that drive innovation, knowledge and creativity. The State Governors within the region believe in collaboration, partnership and commitment toward a common goal, which lead to the creation of the Region’s Economic Development Plan that creates value-adding solutions and incentives for investors and companies in Arewa to ensure sustainable economic growth, vibrant business growth and good job opportunities. Arewa mission will continue to evolve under strong Northern States Governor’s Forum (NSGF) leadership.

“Given the emergence of new regional dynamics in development policy and practice, Arewa region MUST fine-tune current regional development perspectives and to develop new ones that are not only more in sync with the present and future global context but with the governance systems being currently adopted that are becoming more and more decentralized and grassroots oriented. States Governors within the Arewa region must come together to create and adopt the Arewa Regional Economic Development Plan with emphasis on a balanced approach to development and opportunity for all, irrespective of one’s tribe, social class, religious belief and even political affiliation; and establish targets for economic growth of the entire region. The economic plan should be built on current regional opportunities, collaboration and innovation linking States macroeconomic models with regional development and economic plan termed: Regional Econometric Model”…President ACRD Click to read on:

Nigarewaerian regionalist usage[edit]

Speculative flag of Arewa Republic

In post independence Nigeria, some use the word as a general term for Nigerian Hausaland: a contraction of "Arewacin Nijeriya" (Northern Nigeria). Much of the north was once politically united in the Northern Region, a federal division disbanded in 1967, and was previously home of the seven Hausa states, later the Sokoto Caliphate in the pre-colonial period, and the Northern Nigeria Protectorate under British colonial rule.

Northern Nigeria regionalist groups, such as the Arewa Consultative Forum,[5][6] the Arewa Media Forum based in Kaduna, and the related Arewa House and Arewa People's Congress are examples of this usage. These groups do not advocate independence from Nigeria, and focus on cultural unity of the so-called Hausa–Fulani community which forms the majority in the north of the nation.

Within even smaller regionalist circles, the term Arewa Republic is used as to describe a speculative future region, entity, or state that coincides with the pre-1967 Northern Region, Nigeria.[7][8][9][10]


  1. ^ Arewa-s-region,
  2. ^ Decalo, Samuel (1997). Historical Dictionary of the Niger (3rd ed.). Boston & Folkestone: Scarecrow Press. ISBN 0-8108-3136-8.
  3. ^ Fuglestad, Finn (1983). A History of Niger 1850-1960. African Studies series (No. 41). New York - London: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-25268-3.
  4. ^ Geels, Jolijn (2006). Niger. Chalfont St Peter, Bucks / Guilford, CT: Bradt UK / Globe Pequot Press. ISBN 978-1-84162-152-4.
  5. ^ Archived June 14, 2009, at the Wayback Machine..
  6. ^ A good critical discussion on the genesis of the ACF can be found in
    • Nneoma V. Nwogu. Shaping truth, reshaping justice: sectarian politics and the Nigerian truth commission. Rowman & Littlefield, 2007 ISBN 0-7391-2249-5
  7. ^ Speculative regionalist discussions can be found on message boards, such as this, at
  8. ^ Powergame[permanent dead link], Sun News (Nigeria). 7 September 2008.
  9. ^ Editorial[permanent dead link]. Sun News (Nigeria). 2 March 2009.
  10. ^ NIGERIA: THE 'ENEMIES WITHIN'. Femi Ajayi. Nigeria World Online. 20 September 2004.