Published November 6, 2013 | By Nate Haken*
To the southeast of Nigeria, the coastal state of Cross River is home to approximately 2.9 million people (2006 census), predominantly of Efik, Ejagham and Bekwarra background. One of the fastest growing states in Nigeria, Cross River is endowed with vast mineral resources, plentiful arable land, and a growing number of tourist attractions. Liyel Imoke, of the People’s Democratic Party, was elected governor of Cross River in August 2008 after his first electoral victory of April 2007 was annulled by an Election Appeal Tribunal. He was re-elected in February 2012. For years, Cross River was the stage to a heated territorial dispute between Nigeria and Cameroon over the oil-rich Bakassi peninsula. After a controversial UN-backed ICJ verdict in 2002 and a comprehensive resolution between the two nations in 2006, Abuja began to transfer authority of the peninsula to Yaoundé, and Cameroon eventually took full sovereignty of Bakassi in August 2013.