While violence in Ondo has historically been relatively low, in the first half of 2015 reported fatalities increased significantly as compared to previous years. This was mainly in connection to a few incidents of criminality (bank robberies in Owo and Akoko North West LGAs) and piracy (Ilaje LGA) that killed dozens. Other issues, reported in Ondo included political tensions and cult violence. After the 2012 gubernatorial election, in which Olusegun Mimiko of the Labour Party (LP) was re-elected, the losing parties raised concerns about alleged election irregularities and intimidation. In 2014, Mimiko left the LP to join the People’s Democratic Party (PDP). The next gubernatorial elections are scheduled for 2016.
Overall, between 2012-2015, Akwa Ibom was the second most peaceful state in the Niger Delta region as measured by reported fatalities per capita. Udom Emmanuel of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) won the gubernatorial election in April 2015, to replace outgoing Governor Godswill Akpabio (also PDP) who was elected in 2007. Election violence was reported in both 2011 and 2015. After the most recent election, supporters of the opposition All Progressives Congress (APC) protested the results, alleging irregularities. Other issues reported in the last three and a half years include land conflict and abductions.
Since May 2013, political tensions were high in Rivers State after the disputed Nigerian Governor’s Forum election. Formerly a member of the PDP, Governor Rotimi Amaechi, who is from Ikwerre (Rivers East Senatorial District), switched affiliation to the APC in November 2013. Despite the zoning formula, which would have given the PDP gubernatorial candidacy to an aspirant from Rivers South-East, Nyesom Wike (Rivers East) won the PDP primaries, upsetting the rotation and raising ethnic sentiments across the state, including the Ogoni axis. In a surprise move, the powerful former militant group, Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) apparently made a statement endorsing the APC candidate in the presidential election after claiming dissatisfaction with the current president and the PDP. In the run-up to the 2015 elections, cult groups and ex-militants lined up behind the two major parties and exerted influence through intimidation and violence. Ultimately, Wike (PDP) won the election to succeed Amaechi (APC) as governor.
Although on a per capita basis, violence is relatively high in Bayelsa, the number of fatalities and incidents have dropped since 2010. In February 2012, Henry Seriake Dickson (PDP) was elected as governor after a period of uncertainty in the wake of Governor Timipre Sylva’s termination in January 2012. Over the last four years, incidents of insecurity in Bayelsa have included cult violence, piracy, abductions, and attacks on energy infrastructure. Conflict factors were mainly reported around the capital of Yenagoa, but also in Nembe and Southern Ijaw.
Published August 19, 2015 | By The Fund for Peace and Partnership Initiatives in the Niger Delta*
The Nigerian Presidential and National Assembly elections of March 2015 were widely praised by international observers as free and fair, with relatively peaceful outcomes across most states. However, among those states with elevated levels of political conflict was Rivers, where tension has cascaded with subsequent state and local elections in April and May. This briefing provides context to the local government dynamics surrounding the administration of incumbent All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate Governor Amaechi, and the succeeding Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate Governor Wike, elected in April.
Since 2012, Abia has been the most peaceful state in the Niger Delta overall, as measured by fatalities per capita. In the 2015 gubernatorial elections, Okezie Ikpeazu, of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) was elected to replace outgoing Governor Theordore Orji (also PDP) in the second round of voting, after the first round was declared inconclusive due to irregularities. In 2010, there was a spike in kidnapping activities and associated fatalities, including a high profile kidnapping of over a dozen schoolchildren from a bus, which led to a security offensive by military and police. Other factors in the security landscape include the role of vigilantes (Bakassi Boys) and the Movement for the Actualization of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB).
Although the 2009 Amnesty Program was instrumental in reducing violence and fatalities associated with militancy, since 2012 Delta has been the most violent Niger Delta state as measured by conflict fatalities per-capita. Conflict risk incidents in Delta State during this period included gang violence, criminality, vigilante/mob justice, communal violence, and political violence. There were a number of abductions, some targeting political figures, their family members, or oil workers. On October 25, 2014 local elections were held for the first time since the chairmen were dismissed in 2011. In April 2015, Ifeanyi Okowa of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) won the gubernatorial election to replace outgoing Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan (PDP).
Imo state has a population of approximately 3.9 million people, according to the 2006 census. The population is predominantly Igbo (98%). The capital city of Owerri is the largest in the state. Imo is made up of 27 Local Government Areas (LGAs). Natural resources include palm oil, mahogany, crude oil, and natural gas. Owelle Rochas Okorocha has been the governor of Imo since May 2011. In 2011, he left the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) to run for governor with the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA).
Among the largest of the oil-producing Nigerian states, Rivers had been at the heart of the Niger Delta militancy until 2009. Now the state remains beset with a different array of political, communal, and criminal issues, including cult and gang-related violence, protests, and kidnappings. Rivers was a pivotal state in the 2015 general elections and experienced elevated levels of election-related tension and violence throughout 2014.
Ondo state has a population of approximately 3.44 million according to the most recent census (2006). The majority are of Yoruba descent, with a sizable minority of those from Ijaw subgroups, particularly along the coast. Ondo derives most of its revenue from the production of cocoa, palm oil, rubber, lumber, and cassava. Approximately 65% of the labor force is employed in the agrarian sector. The state is also rich in oil and minerals. Violence in Ondo has historically been relatively low in comparison to the other Niger Delta states according to Nigeria Watch data. After the 2012 gubernatorial election, in which Olusegun Mimiko was re-elected, the losing party raised concerns about alleged election irregularities and intimidation. The next gubernatorial elections are slated for 2016.