Niger Delta Congress

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The Niger Delta Congress was one of the small political parties in Nigeria's First Republic. The party generated most of its support from minorities in the Eastern Region of Nigeria. The party was formed by Harold Biriye and some southern minority leaders, principally from Degema, Ogoni, Brass and Western Ijaw divisions. The party entered into an alliance with the Northern People's Congress, at the time, the alliance was seen by some as one of strange bedfellows. However, NPC, which had federal ministers in Lagos, may have been courting southern groups to present a national outlook and to have alliances with groups close to trading posts and Biriye was looking for a powerful ally to guarantee seats for his new party in the Eastern region and on the boards of the Special Area commission.

In its manifesto, the party promised the initiation of a Federal Territory status for the Degema, Ogoni, Brass, and Western Ijaw divisions, promoting the culture of the people of the Niger Delta, quality education and financial assistance to the fishermen from the delta, protection of timber resources, the improvement of communications and the scheduling of certain towns as recognized ports. Chief Melford Okilo who eventually was elected as a governor of Rivers state won his first parliamentary election on this platform.


  • K. W. J. Post; The Nigerian Federal Election of 1959: Politics and Administration in a Developing Political System, Oxford University Press, 1963