The Political Economy of Climate Change in Nigeria’s South-South Zone1
Christopher N. Odock

If there is any part of Nigeria that needs special attention and consideration with respect to the on going discourse on global climate change and its far reaching implications for life on planet Earth, that region is Nigeria’s South-South, where the convergence of three major processes associated with climate change seem to concentrate and reinforce one another; namely: exposure to ocean and tidal waves, coastal erosion and intensive and heavy rainfall on one hand, and traditional agricultural practices that accentuate the natural forces referred to earlier and more than five decades of oil and gas exploration and exploitation, accompanied by regular gas flaring; with little attention to the adverse effects that these have on the environment and consequently on change, thereby producing one of the most devastating outcomes for the inhabitants of the region on one hand and dire need to mitigate, manage and reverse these trends. The questions that this paper seeks to answer are these: what is the peculiar political economy of the South-South zone that has made climate change and its proper management an imperative necessity for the people, communities, and governments of this zone? How can this potential catastrophe be transformed into a win-win situation for the people of the region and Nigeria as a whole? The paper avers that effective management of climate change is not only a sine-qua-non for the survival of the South-South zone and continued prosperity of Nigeria, but requires a whole novel political economy and policies that will transform the region into a new climate friendly zone in the country. To this end, the paper recommends the creation of a new series of democratic institutions beginning with the rejuvenation of the now comatose geopolitical zonal structure of the country.

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