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.
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).
Landlocked between Ondo, Kogi and Delta States, Edo is home to about 3.2 million people (2006 census), predominantly of Edo, Bini, Owan, Esan, and Afemai background. Edo’s economy centers on agriculture, including food crops such as yams, cassava, rice or maize and cash crops such as rubber, palm oil, cotton, cocoa and timber. The State’s capital, Benin City, is the center of Nigeria’s rubber industry. Mineral resources include granite, limestone, marble, lignite, crude oil, gold, and kaolin clay. Edo’s state governor, Adams Aliyu Oshiomhole, assumed office in November 2008 after winning an appeal in the 2007 elections, which had initially declared his rival Oserheimen Osunbor governor. In July 2012, Oshiomhole was reelected for a second term in a landslide victory.
Published May 6, 2015 | By Hannah Blyth*
The Export Processing Zone (EPZ) is located in the vicinity of Ugborodo Community, Warri South West, Delta State. Also known as the Gas Industrial City Project, the EPZ is a $20 billion initiative by federal and state governments which would house a major industrial gas hub, and petrochemical, methanol, and fertilizer plant facilities. Compounded by intra-communal tensions, a legacy of inter-communal violence, competing political interests, and underlying socio-economic conflict drivers, the project has been fraught with delays and controversy.
Delta is the second most populous state in the Niger Delta, with an estimated 4.1 million people. The state produces about 35% of Nigeria’s crude oil and a considerable amount of its natural gas. It is also rich in root and tuber crops, such as potatoes, yams, cassava, and coco yams. Delta has a legacy of ethnic and political tensions which flared in the late 1990s and again in 2003.
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 (PDP), 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. Benedict Ayade (PDP) won the 2015 gubernatorial election in April.
With 2 million people, Bayelsa is one of the smallest states in the country, by population. Most are of Ijaw descent. Bayelsa produces between 30-40% of Nigeria’s oil and gas. In addition to the petroleum sector, the state has an extensive commercial fishing industry and produces oil palm, raffia palm, rubber, and coconut. In February 2012, Henry Dickson (PDP) was elected as governor after a period of uncertainty in the wake of Governor Timipre Sylva’s termination in January 2012.
Akwa Ibom has a population of about 3.9 million people according to the 2006 census. Predominantly inhabited by the Ibibio people, the state is also home to Annang, Oron, Obolo and Eket communities. Endowed with large deposits of crude oil, condensate and gas, Akwa Ibom is among the largest petroleum producers in Nigeria. Agriculture also constitutes an important income-generating activity in the state, particularly the farming of palm produce, rubber, cocoa, rice, cassava, yam, plantain, banana, maize, and timber.
Abia State has an estimated population of 2.4 million, predominantly of Igbo origin. Comparatively, it has not experienced the levels of violence and insecurity that other states in the Niger Delta have over the time period analyzed. Abia produces about 27% of Nigeria’s crude oil and a significant amount of its natural gas. It is also rich in yam, maize, rice, potatoes, and cashews. Theodore Orji (People’s Democratic Party) was re-elected as governor of Abia state in 2011.