Thursday, 3 December 2015

2015 BAYELSA STATE: Election Security Threat Assessment

Key Risk Factors:
  • Southern Ijaw LGA which has a high concentration of ex-militant leaders poses specific security considerations.
  • The riverine communities of Ekeremor and Brass LGAs also present a unique security challenges that would require keen monitoring throughout the election period.
  • Sagbama LGA, the home town of the incumbent Governor Dickson is another area to watch as both candidates would be keen to claim victory there.
  • Yenagoa LGA which houses the seat of power is an important area to watch security-wise.
Key Mitigating Factors:
  • The 20 political parties involved in the election had signed a Peace Accord which observers say is holding in spite of occasional fracas between supporters of the PDP and the APC.
  • Different initiatives have been held to sensitize candidates and supporters on the importance of peaceful elections.
  • Bayelsa is a small state with only a total of 663,748 registered voters. The efforts of the police led by IGP Solomon Arase along with the support of other security outfits in the state and the region would likely be enough to forestall breakdown of law and order during the election.
  • Should there be violence, it could be localised and rapidly quelled to avoid it spreading to other areas
Introduction
The governorship election in Bayelsa State is scheduled for Saturday 5th December, 2015. The atmosphere in the build up to this, has been tense and filled with fear of high level of insecurity. Understandably, the outcome of the 2015 general elections in which the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) which had been in power both at the federal level and in Bayelsa State for the past 16 years was voted out of the presidency, increased the stakes in the staggered governorship election in Bayelsa State as both the PDP and the All Progressives Congress (APC) are working hard to win the election in Bayelsa.

For the PDP, it is a battle to retain one more state in Nigeria to serve as a basis from which the party could attempt to relaunch itself to power in the next general elections. Bayelsa is also the home state of Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, PDP’s presidential candidate who lost and conceded to President Muhamadu Buhari in the last general elections. Dr. Jonathan has been visible in his campaign for the PDP. Furthermore, although the governorship election held in Kogi State on November 21, 2015 was inconclusive with supplementary election scheduled for December 5, the APC was leading in the polls. The sudden death of the APC candidate,  late Abubakar Audu has exposed the elections to multiple legal tussles. Both parties would therefore seek to win convincingly to devoid any post-election challenge in Bayelsa State.

For the APC, this is the first time they would be contesting as an opposition political party in Bayelsa while being in power at the presidential level. The APC’s candidate is a former Governor of the State who is now seeking to unseat an incumbent of the PDP thus repeating the feat the APC accomplished at the presidential level last March. The APC is mobilising its resources across Nigeria – with the Vice President headlining one of their campaign rallies. Analysts believe that APC is seeking to win Bayelsa to consolidate it gains into the South South where it presently controls only Edo State.

Hot-spots for Violence
  • Southern Ijaw LGA which has a high concentration of ex-militant leaders poses specific security considerations.
  • The riverine communities of Ekeremor and Brass LGAs also present a unique security challenges that would require keen monitoring throughout the election period. Sylva who hails from Brass LGA is thought to be a favourite in that area, but he is keenly match by the strength of Dickson, the incumbent.
  • Sagbama LGA, the home town of the incumbent Governor Dickson is another area to watch as both candidates would be keen to claim victory there. 
  • Yenagoa LGA which houses the seat of power is an important area to watch security-wise. With its population and ease of access, all candidates would seek to win in the town where they intend to govern from.
Conclusion and Recommendations
As Bayelsans participate in the second staggered elections to be organised under the Muhammadu Buhari led administration and under the current leadership of INEC, there are important lessons for Bayelsans and Nigerians to take away from the process.
  • The government agencies, especially the judiciary should be sensitive to the impact of their work on elections. Judgements on on-going criminal prosecution coming on the eve of the elections as well as the adjournment of hearing on eligibility suit of a candidate well ahead of the election date risk being interpreted as politically motivated and calculated to determine the outcome of the election.
To download the full report, visit www.cleen.org

1 comments:

Ann Ann said...

After reading this article - ask.naij.com, I seriously wondered whether something they differ from each other. But the more I read, the more I realized that these lands have much in common and unimportant differences do not make them different, anyway.

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