Elections Report 04

Released on 24/12/18

This is the fourth report of Niger Delta Watch 2019.

At a regional level, the latest period has been markedly quieter politically in all of the states observed. There was a protest related to recent events at the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly. In Rivers, further rulings by the Court of Appeal have generated more uncertainty on whether the APC will be able to field candidates. This has not escalated tensions in the short run. Instead it has had a dampening effect on political activity on all sides including the mobilisation of youths and groups that we would expect to be involved in clashes over territory ahead of the polls. This has not meant a cessation of incidents across the board – for example there was a clash that led to the death of a youth in Ewu, Ughelli in Delta state and observers are still investigating an incident with a death in Choba, Rivers state.

On the most controversial topic of the week: clarity on whether the Rivers APC has candidates in the 2019 polls may not come until January 19, when INEC publishes its final list of candidates for elections to national offices. By then it must weigh which of the barrage of rulings and appeal notices it gives greatest weight and presently there seems to be sufficient uncertainty at the state level that no side has absolute confidence about how the situation will conclude. One certainty – the date for ‘swapping out’ to other political parties has expired. Parties were able to substitute candidates up until December 02 but must now live with the choices they have made. So it is possible that APC actors could swing their support behind Dumo Lulu Briggs who left APC for Accord after the APC primaries (along with some others). INEC has responded to PDP allegations about possible late swaps by denying that any further changes could take place.

This is the last report of 2018. The first report of 2019 will be released on January 14, looking at events over the new year period. Please continue to check https://www.stakeholderdemocracy.org/elections2019/ for news and updates.

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