Ike Okonta


Two weeks before Nigeria's election, Ike Okonta takes aim at progressive politics in Nigeria - or the lack thereof. He traces the crisis back to the rule of General Ibrahim Babangida in the 1980s, when universities were devastated by economic policy.

On 10 November 1995, the Nigerian military regime, under General Sani Abacha, hanged Ken Saro-Wiwa, the writer and minority rights activist, and eight other members of the Movement for the Survival of Ogoni People (MOSOP) after a judicially flawed trail.

The hangings were a critical event for the Nigerian junta and for Royal Dutch/Shell, the major international oil company operating in Nigeria’s Niger delta, which played a key role in shaping the Ogoni tragedy. When Citizens Revolt re-...read more

If Nigeria successfully holds local and federal elections on 14 and 21 April, it will be the first time that an elected civilian government will hand power over to another. Will the elections hold? Will clear winners emerge? Will alleged losers accept their defeat with good grace, actuated by the larger national interest? Ike Okonta places Nigeria’s forthcoming elections in historical and political context.

Given the country’s turbulent political history, the choice confronting Nigeri...read more

The late Chima Ubani, foremost pro-democracy activist and former Executive Director of the Civil Liberties Organisation (CLO) will spring back to 'life' on Saturday, 17 March, at the University of London.

A massive democratic deficit is at the heart of the Niger Delta crisis, concludes Ike Okota in the third and final article in a series on the troubled Nigerian region. The previous two articles can be found at and read more

This week, four Scottish oil workers returned to Britain after being seized from an Exxon Mobil compound in the Niger Delta by gunmen seeking a £21m ransom. Earlier this year, local militants stormed a Royal Dutch Shell facility, prompting the oil giant to pull out hundreds of workers and close down wells. Ike Okonta looks at the structure and origins of one of the militias based in the area. He argues that the MEND militia is not an organisation in the formal sense of the word, but an idea, ...read more

As the crisis in the Niger Delta brews, Ike Okonta looks behind the fragile truce between the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta and Nigeria's central government.Pambazuka News publishes here the first instalment of a substantive paper prepared following a recent visit to the blood and oil-soaked region.

The fragile truce brokered between Nigeria’s central government and the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) in April 2006, jerked to a bloody halt on...read more

It’s nearly ten years after Nigerian activist and writer Ken Saro-Wiwa and eight other members of the Movement for the Survival of Ogoni People (MOSOP) were hanged on the morning of 10 November, 1995. Present day Nigeria faces fresh protests in Saro-Wiwa’s stomping ground of the Niger Delta over authoritarian rule and the plunder of the environment by big oil companies. Ike Okonta writes that despite a strategy of state intimidation to suppress the demands of the Ogoni people, the words of Ke...read more