Leadership struggle and conflict in the Niger Delta, Nigeria: focus on warri south local government area of delta state, 2011-2018
Keywords:leadership struggles, conflict and conflict resolution, resource control, poverty, underdevelopment
The continued incidence of leadership struggle, brazen conflict, abject poverty, gross economic backwardness and total underdevelopment, as it is the case in the oil-rich Niger Delta region of Nigeria, remains a great source of worry and concern among scholars .The gravity of the above problematic situation has made many Nigerians to keep pondering whether the discovery and exploration of oil is a blessing or a curse to our country, Nigeria. It is against this backdrop that the study is poised to interrogate leadership struggle and conflict in the Niger Delta, Nigeria with particular focus on Warri South Local Government Area of Delta State, 2011-2018. In terms of methodology the study adopted the time-series research design within the explanatory framework of Resource Curse theory. For data collection, this research relied heavily on documentary method, while data collected were logically and textually analyzed using the textual (content) analysis method. The study reveals that conflict in the area stems more from the claim of original ownership of Warri land and ethnic divide among the people of the area. The Itsekiri people and the Ijaws have plunged themselves in intense leadership struggle cum power tussle over the territory as well as inordinate quest for resource control in the area. Also, the general untold hardship, hunger, poverty and lack of adequate socio-economic infrastructures, as the attendant consequences of oil exploration in the area, were implicated for the incessant conflicts. The study therefore recommends, among others, that leadership/power zoning strategy should be more practicable. On the other hand, the government at different levels and the oil companies operating in the area must be proactive and show greater concern/commitment to the environmental condition of the people in order to ensure real human and infrastructural development of the region.