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The attention of the international community is focused on the oil rich Niger Delta region of Nigeria as the country prepares for the election of persons to stair the affairs of the country over the next four years.
The Presidential and National assembly elections across the states Niger delta is scheduled for 28 March while the Gubernatorial and states house of assembly polls will hold on the 11 April 2015.
The region situated in the southern part of Nigeria and bordered to the south by the Atlantic Ocean and to the East by Cameroon, occupies a surface area of about 112,110 square kilometres. It represents about 13% of Nigeria’s total surface area.
The oil producing state of the Niger Delta region comprises nine of Nigeria’s constituent states, namely, Rivers state, Delta State, Bayelsa State, Aqua Ibom State, Cross Rivers State, Edo State, Ondo State, Abia State and Imo State. These states collectively produce crude oil which make up over 90 per cent of Nigeria’s revenue base.
Over the year’s political activities in this region has become very vibrant due largely to involvement of community and environmental rights activists in the democratic process. The federal government amnesty programme which demilitarized the region and assigned role to ex-militant also contributed to the political vibrancy of the Niger Delta.
After the execution of Ken Saro Wiwa and the Ogoni 8, in 1995 by the General Sani Abacha regime, the consciousness of the Niger Deltans was awakened and with the advent of this democracy in 1999 the desire for self-determination and resource control has been at the front burners of all socio-economic discuss in the region.
Since 1999 the politics of the Niger Delta is dominated by the Peoples Democratic Party PDP with occasional incursions by the opposition All Progressive Congress APC and Labour Party LP. While the Peoples Democratic Party has always won the Presidential elections in these states however the gubernatorial election cannot be said to have been a field day for the party.
Edo and Imo States are presently governed by the All Progressive Congress while Ondo state which was hitherto a Labour Party state until recently when the governor of the state cross carpeted to the ruling Peoples Democratic Party; and rivers state who’s governor also defected to the APC.
The 28 March 2015 presidential election in the Niger Delta region promises to be intriguing as the frontline political parties are warming up for a showdown. These parties are PDP, APC and LP among the 25 registered political parties in Nigeria. The watershed states in this forthcoming poll, in the Niger Delta Region, are Rivers state, Delta State, Imo State and Edo State.
While the PDP may have a field day in most of the Niger Delta states it will however be competitive in Rivers, Imo and Edo states where the sitting governors are in the opposition APC. These sitting governors will work and mobilise support for the APC. While results of past presidential elections have not been strictly determined by the party of the sitting governors in the state it is however believed that these governors may be able to influence the pattern presidential polls in favour of the opposition party.