The Risk of Election Violence in Nigeria is Not Where You Think

2019 Elections, Africa, APC, Oil, PDP, PMB, Politics, Power, SEcurity

Containing violence at the state level will be key to a peaceful election

Wednesday, December 5, 2018 / BY: Oge Onubogu ; Idayat Hassan

Nigeria’s political parties are in full campaign mode ahead of national and state-level elections early next year, and unfortunately signs are emerging that election-related violence is a real possibility. It’s not too late, however, for Nigerians and the international community to take steps to reduce the risks of coercion and possibly even bloodshed. To do so effectively, it’s crucial that as much attention be paid to flashpoints at the state level as to tensions surrounding the higher profile campaign for president.

People gather and watch election coverage at a small market in Kano, northern Nigeria, March 31, 2015. (Samuel Aranda/The New York Times)
People gather and watch election coverage at a small market in Kano, northern Nigeria, March 31, 2015. (Samuel Aranda/The New York Times)

In Nigeria, All Politics is Local

September’s off-cycle election for governor in the southwestern state of Osun illustrates the intensity of state elections and the accompanying risks. The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) declared the initial results inconclusive because of technical problems and other disruptions, and the vote had to be redone. In the second round, U.S., European Union and U.K. observers reported that they found “incidents of interference and intimidation of voters, and heard reports of harassment of party monitors, journalists and domestic observers.” Social media posts showed photos of allegedly injured civilians. Higher profile state races in 2019 are likely to be even more volatile.

State-level elections are important for democratic development in Nigeria, which serves as a bellwether for stability in Africa as the continent’s most populous country and biggest oil-producing nation. State races often function as a proving ground for candidates aspiring to national office. Moreover, the country’s powerful state governors, who allocate federally disbursed revenue and shape policy on development and security, oversee the state election commissions that manage local government elections—the essence of grassroots democracy.

The 2019 state-level voting will usher in leadership to some of the most populous and economically important states in Nigeria, including Lagos, Kano and Rivers, as well as in states that experience recurring intercommunal violence including Plateau, Kaduna and Benue.

The electoral calendar will be crowded in the first quarter of 2019. Just two weeks after the general elections, balloting will take place on March 2 to select governors and state assemblies in 29 of Nigeria’s 36 states (seven others are scheduled off-cycle for various reasons). In the 29 contests, incumbent governors are defending 19 seats. Of those, 12 are members of President Muhammadu Buhari’s ruling All Progressives Congress (APC). The other seven belong to the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) of opposition candidate and former Vice President Atiku Abubakar. Incumbent governors running for a second four-year term hold significant advantages because of their domination of state party structures, leverage over powerful patronage networks and the ways they can manage to employ state funds to bolster their campaigns.

In Lagos state, the APC incumbent lost in the October primary, and in the remaining nine of the 29 state contests (Borno, Gombe, Imo, Kwara, Nasarawa, Ogun, Oyo, Yobe and Zamfara), the incumbents cannot run again because of term limits, making for competitive open races.

A Complex Risk Environment

In the 2015 state elections, voting generally proceeded smoothly across the country, according to the Center for Democracy and Development (CDD), a U.S. Institute of Peace (USIP) partner organization in Nigeria. Even so, “significant incidences of shootings, protests, arson and fatalities were recorded in most geopolitical zones,” the CDD reported.

Three years later, conditions have changed. The nature of these changes—and the forces behind them—must be considered in weighing whether state-level election violence is likely, and if so, how to prevent it or mitigate the consequences.

The number of violent conflicts across the country and their toll have increased. Clashes between farmers and herders over land and water have escalated and are particularly deadly in the northern states of Benue, Taraba, Plateau, Adamawa, Zamfara and Kaduna. Some of those states, including Benue and Plateau, fall within the politically influential region of North Central Nigeria.

In the country’s Northeast, the military claims to have decimated Boko Haram, but the group continues to stage well-publicized attacks. Meanwhile, paramilitary forces organized in response to the terrorist threat now pose a danger themselves in places such as Borno state. So, the contest to replace Borno’s term-limited Governor Kashim Shettima will be especially important.

Another change since 2015 is proliferating fissures within the APC and the PDP. In Kano, northern Nigeria’s most populous state and long considered a harbinger of a party’s political prospects across that region, divisions are deep within the APC between supporters of incumbent Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje and backers of Senator Rabiu Kwankwaso, formerly the state’s governor, and now member of the opposition PDP. Already, the party primaries in October in Zamfara were marred by violence. Preparations for that state’s elections in March continue to be controversial, as INEC has declined to accept the APC’s gubernatorial candidate, saying the party submitted his name too late.

As intraparty conflicts sharpen, rivalry between the APC and the PDP remains intense. That competition lies at the root of persistent violence, including around elections, in the Niger Delta’s leading oil producer, Rivers state—hostility heightened by the APC’s growing challenge to the PDP’s previous dominance in the lead-up to the 2015 vote. The Fund for Peace, another USIP partner in Nigeria, reports that “the personal rivalry between former Governor Rotimi Amaechi (APC) and current Governor Ezenwo Nyesom Wike (PDP)” exacerbates divisions along party lines. Rivers state is considered a political crown jewel for any party able to capture control of the jurisdiction.

How Election Violence can be Mitigated

So, what can be done? Nigeria must be held to a higher standard than in the past in order to fulfill its proper role as the best example of democratic development in Africa. While there has been much improvement in recent years, the country’s political leaders need to do better.

First, planning for prevention of election violence needs to occur earlier and be sustained longer to contain post-election incidents.

Secondly, the United States and international community, including the African Union and Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), should intensify their pre-election diplomacy. All stakeholders with potential influence on Nigeria’s leaders must clearly convey their expectation that Nigeria’s political parties will act responsibly throughout campaigns, balloting and the post-election period. They must demand that parties discipline their members, officials and their candidates should they violate standards of acceptable conduct.

Finally, Nigerian authorities should identify credible state-level and community leaders in advance who could provide leadership and advice—or even mediation—in the event of rising tensions. USIP’s Nigeria Working Group on Peacebuilding and Governance, a group of eminent civic leaders, could be a source of support, and there may be other community leaders with the skills and influence to prevent and defuse violence. Some states already have institutions designed to reduce violence, such as the Plateau State Peacebuilding Agency and the Kaduna State Peacebuilding Commission. These bodies are still getting their footing, but they can work closely with local community leaders and civil society representatives.

While Nigeria has made major strides since democracy was restored almost 20 years ago, the struggle to control the widespread violence that plagues its communities is far from over. Reducing election-related violence, especially in the all-important state gubernatorial elections, is a crucial place to start.

Oge Onubogu is a senior program officer for Africa programs at USIP. Idayat Hassan is the director of the Centre for Democracy and Development–West Africa, an Abuja-based policy advocacy and research organization.

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Saraki to Nigerian government: Scrap ‘Trader moni’ now, APC reacts

2019 Elections, APC, PDP, PMB, Politics, Power

Senate President and Director General of the Atiku Abubakar PDP Presidential Campaign Council Dr. Bukola Saraki has directed the Federal Government of Nigeria and the All Peoples’ Party to stop the criminal act of distributing money to market women as free Trader Moni. 


Senate President Bukola Saraki tells the Nigerian government to scrap Trader Moni, says it is a “sophisticated vote buying.”

Atiku Campaign Train stopped in Uyo.

2019 Elections, Politics

Former Vice President and Presidential Aspirant Atiku Abubarkar has paid courtesy visits to the Government House Uyo to see Governor Udom Emmanuel of Akwa-Ibom State. He also spent time at the Ukana Private residence of the Senate Minority Leader, Senator Godswill Akpabio.

I will Restructure Nigeria in Six Months -Atiku

2019 Elections, News, PMB, Politics

atiku-at-Chatham.jpgBuhari Lacks Business Knowledge, Cannot Regard Youths, Atiku Says At Chatham House Lecture

A former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar, has said that President Muhammadu Buhari lacks the basic knowledge of how businesses works that why he can call Nigerian Youths Lazy.

He also said he would restructure Nigeria in six months if elected president in the 2019 elections.

Mr Abubakar stated this Wednesday during a question and answer session at the Chatham House in UK after delivering a lecture titled: “The Importance of Strengthening State Economic Management Systems”.

He also said he would offer a matching grant of $250 million each to the 36 states of the federation to challenge them to enhance their Internally Generated Revenue.

He said he was not surprised by President Muhammadu Buhari’s statement that Nigerian youth were lazy because he (Buhari) had never managed a business.

“It is doable. In fact, what I’ve told many Nigerians at home is that if you give me six months, I know I will be able to achieve a fast level of restructuring, otherwise the concurrent list issue.

“It’s very easy to deal with it because there is no state that you will call and say ‘I want to give you this responsibility together with the resources’, and will say ‘no’.”

He said he wants people of every state to be able to hold their leaders accountable because of how the federal Government “is being accused of everything, even when it’s not in its area of responsibility.”

“I want to be able to resolve that so that citizens can hold their local leaders responsible for lapses and maladministration.”

Asked if he would consider running as an independent candidate should he fail to secure the ticket of Peoples Democratic Party, which he recently defected back to, he said, “We’ll wait until that time”.

He added that he would make Nigeria attractive for those living in diaspora to return.

On President Muhammadu Buhari’s description of some Nigerian youth as lazy bunch, Mr Abubakar said the president would not describe Nigerian youth as lazy if he (Buhari) was an employer of labour.

“On the issue of youth, I am an employer of labour and most of that labour is youth-dominated and I make a lot of profits from my businesses.

“I don’t agree with the assumption that the youths are lazy or they are indolent. Certainly, I don’t. But I’m not surprised with the fellow (Buhari) who made that remark because he’s not an employer of labour, he has no business, he has no educational institution so he doesn’t relate with youth in schools so I don’t blame him.”

He criticised the multiple exchange rate in the country, saying it does not encourage foreign investors to put their money in Nigeria.

He said “his federal government” will continue to offer support, despite the $250 million grant for states that rank below the average development index, until such a time as they are able to become self-sufficient and sustaining.

“Beyond institutional and administrative reforms to improve operational efficiency of the revenue agencies, the federating units will be challenged to double their efforts in rebuilding the fiscal-social contract, by enhancing service delivery in key areas such as health, education, water supply and infrastructural development.

“Only this would change the predominant perception that government revenues are diverted to the private bank accounts of politicians and their cronies.”

Mr Abubakar who defected from the ruling All Progressives Congress to the opposition PDP, on whose platform he served as vice president, is seeking the party’s nomination to serve as its presidential flag bearer in upcoming 2019 presidential election.

He criticised senators of his former party, APC, of betrayal following the “shocking and saddening” decision of the Senate not to grant devolution of power to the states during the constitutional amendment last year.

He said the decision by the APC-controlled Senate was “a lost opportunity to honour one of the party’s election promises to bring about change by shifting power closer to the people in the remotest regions of our country”.

Our Entire Democracy Is In Danger – Atiku 

2019 Elections, APC, News, Nigeria, PMB, Politics, Power

Atiku Abubakar has condemned the theft of Mace at the Senate describing it as an assault on Nigeria’s democracy.

In a statement issued on Wednesday in Abuja and published on Facebook

Atiku Abubakar

, Atiku said he is disappointed.

“I am utterly embarrassed, shocked and outraged by this ugly development because it is not only a threat to a major democratic institution but also represents a grave danger to the survival of our democracy,” he said.

Atiku noted that using illegal and unconstitutional methods to threaten the authority of a key democratic institution is evil and unacceptable.

He wondered how the thugs could force their way into the Senate chamber and steal the Mace.

“If criminals could commit such security breach with impunity, it means that our entire democracy is in danger. Those behind this illegality to avoid creating a monster that could consume them.

“It is unacceptable and reprehensible to subject the National Assembly to this intimidation and humiliation. This attack by thugs should not go unpunished no matter who is involved”, the former vice president added.

Nigerian Youths are Achievers and Hardworking – Atiku

APC, local news, News, PMB, Politics

Atiku Reacts To President Buhari’s “Nigerian Youths Are Not Ready To Work” Comment

atikueFormer president Atiku Abubakar reacted via his Twitter handle to President Muhammadu Buhari reported comment that many Nigerian youths are uneducated, not ready to work and dependent on revenue from oil to survive.

He said the youths, who make up 60 per cent of the population, were waiting to get social amenities free without doing anything. The President spoke during a panel discussion at the Commonwealth Business Forum in Westminster, London.

 “I will never refer to Nigeria’s youth as people who sit and do nothing. They are hardworking. I should know, I have thousands of youths working for me all over the country who have been the backbone to our success. he tweeted.

I’ve always said oil is not Nigeria’s greatest asset. Our greatest asset is our youth who created Nollywood out of nothing and an entertainment industry that is second to none in Africa.

Our youth are charting new frontiers; creating a huge tech industry on their own! Their entrepreneurial spirit, work ethic, and creative abilities are things of pride and should be applauded, encouraged and nurtured.

 

Photos From The Wedding Ceremony Of Atiku Abubakar’s Step-son, Chuka Douglas In Dubai

Celebrity Gists, local news, personality, Politics, Power

Below are pictures from the wedding ceremony of the step-son of former vice president of Nigeria, Atiku Abubakar. Chuka Douglas is the son of former NTA News correspondent in the 80’s, Jennifer Iwenjiora who got married to Atiku and became Jamilah Atiku Abubakar.

Former colleagues of Jamilah Atiku Abubakar were present as her son Anthony Chuka Douglas got married to Whitney Erin Woods in Dubai and the event was held from the 12th to the 14th of April. Senator Ben Bruce and his wife were also present at the occasion.

They had a wedding lunch on the Lawn at the Jumeirah Beach Hotel on April 13th.


Standing (from r-l): Ruth Benamaisia (newscaster from the early 1980s till the early 2000s), Ben Bruce’s wife, Ben Bruce, Sienne Al-Well Brown (newscaster from the early 1980s till the mid-1990s). The women beside Sienne are unidentified. Seated is the ever beautiful Ronke Ayuba (newscaster in the 1980s).

Ruth Benamaisia got married to Eric Opia in the mid-1990s. Sienne Al-Well Brown got married to Razak Lawal in the early 1990s and Ronke Ayuba got married to Colonel Tanko Ayuba (the minister of communications) in the 1980s.


Senator Ben Murray-Bruce and Alhaji Atiku Abubakar.


The couple, Anthony Chuka Douglas and Whitney Erin Woods.

source: gst

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