Top 5 Most Educated States in Nigeria – Ranking of the 37 states

Top 5 Most Educated States in Nigeria (See Your State’s Position Here) – SHARE THIS


Just as some Billionaires climb the Forbes list of the richest persons list within the period under consideration, leading to the displacement of others, some States too have, in terms of education, gone much further than others, displacing other States. Current statistics have shown that these under-listed states are some of the most educationally advantaged in Nigeria.

  1. Rivers
  2. Edo
  3. Abia
  4. Imo
  5. Anambra

See the complete analysis below:

Ranking of the 37 states in Nigeria (Most Educated to Least Educated)

The tag ‘Most educated state’ in Nigeria is usually an emotional subject. Anybody with an iota of pride would want to claim that crown for their State.

This is a never-ending discussion. Many contend that a table listing the most educated states must consider all variables before concluding.

According to this school of thought, basing your argument on the State with the highest number of professors would produce a different result with a ranking based on the number of tertiary institutions in a state.

However, given that record keeping in Nigeria is notoriously bad, the best criteria for this ranking must be easily verifiable. 

Raw stats must be accepted as is.

That is why this ranking is based on the performance of the Senior Secondary School Certificate Examination (SSCE) in recent times. The examination, organized by the West African Examination Council, WAEC, is a national exam, and the tests are standardized and uniform regardless of State.

The marking scheme, too, is standardized for all states of the Federation. The National Bureau of Statistics also publishes the data obtained from WAEC, including the number of students who sat for the exam in private and public schools, male and female candidates, their performance, etc. These results cannot be disputed because there is a consistent pattern in terms of performance.

Our Ranking Criteria

The states’ positions are based on the average performance in the last three years in SSCE. For brevity, the stats are based on the number of students with five credits and above, including English and mathematics. We consider that some states have more candidates that sat for the exam than others; having that in mind, we also considered their percentage performance before we arrived at our final ranking. For instance, Lagos State has the highest number of candidates that sat for the exam, but the percentage of those with five credits in both Mathematics and English is just 70.70%; so if we go by just the number of candidates, Lagos State is the best.

Most educated to least educated State in Nigeria

  1. Rivers

Nigeria’s “oil industry capital” is crowned the most educated State in Nigeria. The Rivers people remained one of the first people in Nigeria to have contact with Europeans. Their early contact with Europeans and Christian Missionaries consequently paved way for them to embrace Western education. For this reason it shouldn’t come as a surprise to see the State performing excellently in education.

 A greater part of their success can be attributed to the free education schemes of various democratic administrations in the State. Former Governor Rotimi Amaechi stood tall regarding infrastructural development in education, among other things.

Kudos to the ‘Treasure Base of the Nation’ for the excellent performance of its students. 86.64% of the 225,576 students who sat for the exam (in both private and public schools) scored 5 credits in both Math and English.

  1. Edo

Edo State, also known as ‘The Heartbeat of the Nation’, is Nigeria’s second most educated State based on final-year high school results. The dogged infrastructural development in the State’s educational sector is already yielding results. It is little wonder that Godwin Obaseki has won many awards to that effect. 

During this period, a staggering 146,136 students who sat for the exam scored five credits in Maths and English, representing 82.91% of the total candidates who sat for the education.

Like Abia and Anambra, students from Edo State have consistently placed in the top 5 over the last three years.

  1. Abia State

Our Abia brothers understood that you can’t be successful in business without adequate education. So they married business and education together, and they’ve occupied the top spot for some time now. 

In the last three years, the ‘God’s Own State’ has always been a consistent performer, always found in the top 3 positions. The State has averaged an 88.06%(121,337 out of 137,789 candidates) pass rate over the last three years. As a result, Abia State is the best State in percentage performance. But their total passed candidates placed them in the 7th position. Thus, Abia State is currently the third most educated State in Nigeria. 

With the current reality in the State occasioned by Governor Alex Otti’s dynamic strides. Abia State will most likely displace Edo and Rivers to emerge as the most educated State. 

  1. Imo

Coming in at the fourth position is another South-East state, Imo State. “The Eastern Heartland” is famous for producing brilliant minds in the country. In the period under consideration, the State recorded 85.30%, which represents about 118,900 out of 139,390 candidates who sat for the exam.

  1. Anambra

In the 2014 SSCE, Anambra State was the best-performing State. But over the years, Abia, which performed better to upstage the State whose slogan is ‘Light of the Nation’, is now third, with Rivers occupying the numero uno position. 

 The result shows that about 109,037 students out of the 136,604 who sat for the exams had 5 credits and above, making the State the fifth most educated state in Nigeria.

  1. Enugu

The ‘Coal City State’ comes in at the 6th position in the most educated state ranking. The same position the State occupied some years ago. With Enugu ranked 6th, this makes four out of the five SouthEastern States consecutively and uniquely placed in this year’s rating. Wow, what a coincidence!

During this period, Enugu scored an impressive 80.07%

  1. Lagos State

The ‘Center of Excellence’ comes in at number 7, which, incidentally, is a position the State has occupied before. Lagos State has consistently maintained its position between 6th and 7th. The commercial capital of Nigeria, as some people call it, records the highest number of candidates in the exam. With more than half a million candidates, only 70.70% of that figure scored 5 credits and above, including in Mathematics and English.

  1. Akwa Ibom

Coming in at 8th is the ‘Land of Promise.’ The oil-rich State has tremendously moved up the ladder of most educated state ranking; just like Rivers State, Akwa Ibomites were among the earliest to embrace Western education. Regardless of what is on the ground with respect to infrastructure, Akwa Ibom students’ performance in recent times is quite encouraging. 

Of the 158,313 students in private and public schools who took the exam,117,785 had five credits and more, representing an impressive 74.40%.

  1. Ogun

‘The Gateway State’ records the second-highest population of candidates who sat for the exam during the period under consideration. 309,337 students took the examination. Unfortunately, just 67.75% of that figure scored 5 credits and above in the exam. This resulted in Ogun State taking the 9th position. Overall, the South Western State remains a formidable force to reckon with in terms of education.

  1. Delta

Another southern state, ‘The Big Heart’ State, is sitting pretty in the 10th position. The State has joined Rivers, Edo, and Akwa Ibom State as the fourth South-South State in this ranking. It has always been within the top ten most educated states in Nigeria.

Records show an impressive 78.04% performance, which represents 132,131 credit passes out of the 169,312 candidates who sat for the exam.

  1. Benue

‘The Food Basket of the Nation’ clearly has a bit of time for schools besides producing food for the nation. Benue State is the first Northern State on our list. In the last three years, 93,326 candidates from the State sat for the exam, and 69,659, representing 74.64%, passed with 5 credits and above, paving the way for Benue to sit in the 11th position.

  1. Cross River

“The People’s Paradise” is the fourth South-South State on the list and the 12th most educated State in Nigeria. This educationally disadvantaged State has made tremendous progress in education. Their performance, if maintained, will make the tag “educationally less developed state” a thing of the past. 

About 79,900 students scored 5 credits and above in the SSCE, which represents 76.54% of the total candidates who sat for the exam. Cross Rivers State is another state in Nigeria that was privileged due to its geographical location to host Christian Missionaries and other Europeans which made them to embrace Western education.

  1. Kebbi

“The Land of Equity,” is skyrocketing to the surprise of everyone. Considered one of the least educated states, Kebbi State, which ranks 13th, is on a mission to change the narrative with this astonishing performance. 

  1. Nasarawa

With about 100,040 students having 5 credits and above out of about 140,901 candidates that sat for the exams; ‘The Home of Solid Minerals’ is solidly occupying the 14th position in our latest ranking. The Northern State has made a laudable performance.

  1. Kaduna

Formerly the capital of the Northern region and still home to some of the most prestigious academic institutions, which is considered the reason why the state slogan is the ‘Center of Learning’ placed 15th, a markdown from the 12th position it occupied a couple of years ago.

Kaduna recorded an impressive 219,370 candidates that sat for the exam, which is the highest figure for the northern states, but only 64.28% scored 5 credits and above including in Maths and English.

  1. Ondo

The “Sunshine State” is considered one of the most educationally advantaged states in the country. Still, it has been gradually sliding backward in terms of its educational performance in recent times. For this period of interest, 118,845 sat for the exam, and 85,640 scored 5 credits and above in Maths and English.

  1. Oyo

‘Pace Setter’ State is not even among the educationally disadvantaged states in the country. They have not been living up to expectations in recent times. Though they pulled a very large crowd in terms of the total number of candidates, only 59.20% of them scored five credits and above (151,942 out of 256,529). 

Considering the huge number of candidates in this State, the 17th position is pretty good, but it is an eye-opener for the available room for improvement.

  1. Ebonyi

Few years ago, Ebonyi State was 10th in the rankings. This State whose slogan is ‘Salt of the Nation’ should be applauded for being in the top 20 as it is also classified as an educationally disadvantaged state.

Ebonyi state, with 53,216 out of 73,840 candidates, is the last South East state on our list.

  1. Kogi

‘The Confluence State’ takes up the 19th position in our ranking. Though classified as educationally disadvantaged, the State recorded a 69.81% pass rate of the 84,470 candidates who sat for the exam, improving its position from the 20th about six years ago.

  1. Sokoto

If we are to go by the number of candidates who sat for the exam, the ‘Seat of the Caliphate’ will be ranked 31st in the country because only 59,053 took the exam, out of which 44,084(74.65%) had 5 credits and above; but since we took the aggregate of percentage performance and the total number of candidates that passed, this makes Sokoto jump to 20th position. 

Stakeholders in the State should prioritise education. It is on record that the State is receiving serious support from the Federal Government and International communities to tackle illiteracy.

  1. Plateau

‘The Home of Peace and Tourism’ has also shown consistency. It is one State that keeps gradually going up the ladder, from 23rd to 22nd and now 21st. Its 64.01% pass rate was enough for 21st. A slight improvement has taken them one step up.

  1. Kano

Nigeria’s largest State in terms of population is also ranked as the 22nd most educated State in the country. Perhaps students in the ‘Center of Commerce’ would rather join adults in commercial activities.

  1. Niger

It seems that the ‘Power State,’ the largest State by landmass, is more famous for producing heads of State. It has consistently been around this position, “20s,” for a long time. Though the State records more candidates(about eighty thousand) than the likes of Sokoto and Kano, its percentage performance(61.98%) puts it at 23rd position.

  1. Adamawa

The ‘The highest peak of the Nation’ could not reach the highest peak in education; it settled at the 24th slot. Adamawa state is among the States in the North East that is facing serious attacks by Islamic Jihadist group; Boko Haram. The extremist believed that western education is sin. So, for Adamawa to record about fifty eight thousand candidates with 5 credits in both Math and English in SSCE in the face of insurgency is impressive. 

  1. Ekiti

Many would be shocked to see ‘The Fountain of Knowledge’ in this position, a state that has a reputation for having the highest number of professors in Nigeria. The South West State has 45,739 students with 5 credits out of a total of 64,685 candidates who took the exam; thus, it is placed in the 25th position. 

  1. Taraba

At 26th position, “Nature’s Gift to the Nation” is five steps backward from her last ranking(21st) and a step higher than that of 6 years ago(25th). With about 37,000 candidates that passed with 5 credits, including Math and English, Taraba State’s performance is not encouraging and is supposed to be placed at 30th position. They closed the gap with their percentage pass rate, which stands at 74.02% of the total candidates that sat for the exam.

  1. Abuja

The nation’s capital, also known as the ‘Center of Unity’, placed 27th. As the nation’s capital, Abuja doesn’t deserve a medal for coming 27th on this list. The FCT has indeed recorded pockets of terror attacks and security challenges. Still, it is not enough reason for Abuja to record just a 62.44% pass rate of the 83,391 exam candidates. Indeed, with Former Minister of Education and Ex-governor of Rivers State Chief Nyesome Wike serving as the FCT Minister, the narrative will change for the better at the Center of Unity.

  1. Borno

Current security problems unleashed by the Boko Haram Islamic Militant group have turned the “Home of Peace” into an epicenter of war. Despite the activities of terrorists, the State sitting at 28th position has managed to stay ahead of nine other states including Kwara, Bayelsa, Osun, etc

  1. Katsina

The ‘State of Hospitality’ is among the educationally less developed States. In spite of huge allocations given to this State by the Federal Government, US, and European Countries to support educational advancement in the home of hospitality, the State still remains educationally backward. The 29th position in the rankings is just a repeat of the state position some six years ago. 

  1. Kwara

Kwara state secured only 48.84% pass rate(that is, 47,646 out of 97,555 candidates). For example, in one year of the 3 years of interest, Kwara pass rate stood alarmingly at 27.62%. The North Central State is not among the communities of states considered extremely educationally less privileged. Hence, it is not a welcomed development for “The Place of Harmony” to be ranked 30th educationally developed State. 

  1. Bayelsa

Bayelsa State had embraced Western education early, yet in this ranking the State performed poorly. The “Glory of All Lands” has been a top-flying state. It’s been among the top ten for some time now. Be that as it may, available statistics show that the State at 31st position, performed below expectations.   

The oil-rich State is the last Niger Delta state as well as South-South state on the list, owing to a disappointing record of only 33,164 candidates that scored 5 credits including in Math and English out of 54,475 candidates that sat for the exam. On the whole, the total number of students that sat for the exam and their pass rate are not encouraging. 

  1. Osun

Again, another surprising inclusion in the 10 least educated states in Nigeria. The ‘State of the Living Spring’, an educationally advantaged state, has retrogressed badly from 22nd to 29 and now 32nd. Available data shows that in a particular year of interest, only 686 candidates had 5 credits, including in Mathematics and English, out of 14,324 that sat for SSCE. This is precisely a 4.78% pass rate. Osun state pass rate was 41.99%.

  1. Bauchi

Raw data shows that Bauchi has a pass rate of 48.60%. But the total number of candidates who produce that pass rate closes the gap that Bauchi would have given Osun State. Over the years, the ‘Pearl of Tourism’ has improved from the 36th to the 31st position in the rankings, and it has sliden back now to the 33rd position.

  1. Gombe

One thing that can be said about the ‘Jewel in the Savannah’ is that they have been consistent in this position. Just like most Northern States, the world is watching how allocations and foreign aid to education are being utilised to revive Gombe State’s educational sector. 

  1. Jigawa

‘The New World’ makes it into the top 3 of the least educated states in Nigeria in the table of the most educated states in Nigeria.

The State is showing consistency in this position.  

  1. Zamfara

Six years ago, the ‘Home of Agricultural Products’ placed 33rd in the rankings. Then, it dropped to this position and has maintained it even until now. It’s a shame that in spite of the special Federal Allocation and foreign support to education the State is enjoying, it still remains the second least educated State in Nigeria.

  1. Yobe

The ‘Pride of the Sahel’ could blame terrorism ravaging the State is responsible for its last-place finish in the last 3 years.

Whatever the situation, this consistency in the last six years as the least educated State in Nigeria should be a wake-up call for critical stakeholders in the State. Especially in light of the huge Federal and International allocations the State has been enjoying recently.


Nigeria comprises 36 states and a Federal Capital Territory. The West African country is made up of over 200 million people dispersed in six distinct geographic areas. There are over 250 tribes in Nigeria, each with its own unique language.

In September 2022, the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) revealed Nigeria as the country with the highest number of out-of-school children in the world. As a result, the country became aware of the prevalence of illiteracy developing across its quarters. Schools throughout the country were in a state of disarray, while insecurity, nepotism and a lack of infrastructure were commonplace in Nigeria.

The 413 LGAs in the North, has over the years, received heavy allocation in order to boost education in the region. Surprisingly, the region cannot give any meaningful reasons as to why they are still underdeveloped in terms of education. As a matter of fact see this article for more on educational allocation. Most likely, the elites in this region are playing politics with the poor masses concerning education. Or, maybe they have weaponized illiteracy for their selfish interest when it comes to elections?

This article assessed the Top 5 Most Educated States in Nigeria.


  1. Maybe most of you here didn’t understood the English language used, such as (presently the statistics shows), please if you wish and truly want to know which is the most educated state in Nigeria go to the National educational board and check the population of WAEC and university graduates then you can by yourself make your judgement. This statistics shows that those are the leading states in education in Nigeria, don’t ague but make your research from the information that I have given to you.

    1. agreed With your posted which is contrary what those guy Above had said. This is not the issue of sentiment, sectionalism is already there in records. May be you dn’t understand the english as my broz said. Pls take note


  3. Blah blah blah and bunkum, is all have been hearing… Ondo state is First, other states can fight for other positions.. Buh for ONDO state… “The first and best”

    1. Sorry, “all u have been hearing”. …….what a pity? Pls Check records before those you hear from teach you nonsense. Ok?

  4. we all no that Imo state is the best and nothing we can do about, am proud of my state and that’s is imo state

  5. no state has the symbol of knowledge in Nigeria except EKITI STATE,therefore EKITI STATE is the first state having the best education history and products in nigeria.don’t forget, Ekiti state is the FOUNTAIN OF KNOWLEDGE. EKITI LEADS FOREVER and EVER.

  6. no state has the symbol of knowledge in Nigeria except EKITI STATE,therefore EKITI STATE is the first state having the best education history and products in nigeria.don’t forget, Ekiti state is the FOUNTAIN OF KNOWLEDGE. EKITI LEADS FOREVER and EVER.

      1. Shut up mehn who is talking about record here… That is just the fact am from ekiti n u can’t stand me in terms of education… You can bet it with me.. I’ll just finish u up…..Rubbish!!!!!!!

  7. kogi state is next to ekiti state.
    even the dead knows that ekiti is the best educationally.
    am kogi state anyway but truth must be told.

  8. Anambra is d best and will still b forever all igbo states and southern Nigeria are best + ogun

  9. All of u that is saying one state or the order, oh na tink say one plus one whey dem thay ask them for class na hi be guru make o na follow up date up delta warri na hi dey talk noting do us

  10. see these..ptchew…all these na fiction u all know that Kaduna is d best..with loads of Educands.

  11. see these…. all these na fiction…………………..Kaduna state is d best and d Most educated State follow by Ibadan.

  12. Imo state the greatest you people are just killing yourself for nothing sake hip hip. Hip hurrrrray god bless imo state

  13. The present statistic is absolutely right there is no 2 ways about it I give it to Imo state is not by tribalism you people should travel around Nigeria nd confirm before you comment ok thanks

  14. We talking of present not past ,before ekiti rules but now Imo rules,just. Like before maradona rules but right now c 7 Ronaldo rules) the present king

  15. Late justice oputa and his boys in Imo state Are doing wonderful things in feild of study so give them round of applause ? clap your hand for the heartland students the dserv it

  16. Pascal dozie the m.t.n boss and his boys in Imo state are genius in telecommunication ) in medical too,go to California)Canada) south Africa) Japan)indian hospitals you will see then, travel and see before you drop comment

  17. Imo sate people are brainy and clever and smart,there youths are sharp even in computer wizard,they Are not too good in trading but wiiiiiiiiiiiiiizard boys they can turn the planet around

  18. You guys should go and do research before you talk rubbish Imo state no one delta no two anambra osun ogun the national educational board got it right)no tribalism no sentiment no yawaa

  19. This is not can you use o’level to judge when we have many student that do not go to school after secondary school.

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