Released on 04/02/19
This is the eighth edition of Niger Delta Watch 2019.
This week’s report includes a thematic analysis of cult-related incidents that have occurred since the start of the project in November 2018.
In Rivers, over the last week, the All Progressive Congress (APC) and People’s Democratic Party (PDP) have continued their campaigning activities including setting up campaign committees. We received a report of financial bribery towards community members at a PDP campaign rally in Ahoada-East Local Government Area (LGA). There were no reports of violence this week. However, in Port Harcourt, the PDP National Chairman reportedly issued a threat of war if APC rigs the election.
In Bayelsa, the campaigns have generally been peaceful with a lot of lobbying by the leading political parties. While there was a reported reduction of violence in the State, there continues to be many incidents of electoral fraud, involving the APC, PDP and African Democratic Congress (ADC). There appears to be a concerted effort by the different political parties in Bayelsa State to capture Southern Ijaw LGA.
In Delta State, there have been many incidents of bribery involving the PDP in the last week. Women and youths in particular seem to be the primary targets of these politicians in the State. Incidents this week saw market women, widows and young people offered money and gifts in exchange for their votes. The link between vote buying and violence, a trend that was reported in last week’s report, became apparent when a fight broke out allegedly over money shared during a campaign in Sapele. Agents of various political parties have taken to door-to-door campaigning and promised financial rewards to the electorate.
In Akwa Ibom, a fight broke out at Mkpat Enin, reportedly as a result of vote buying. Money giving during campaigns often leads to fighting among younger voters. Gift giving to traditional leaders also influences partisan behaviour, as identified this week in Udung Uko. This is a direct contradiction of the non-partisan role traditional leaders are expected to play during elections.
On social media, there is a lot of talk of election rigging. The electoral bill is still a key topic of discussion, particularly in relation to election rigging. Sponsored ads continue to target certain groups of society in an attempt to influence public opinion. Images of EU election observers were used in a post by an APC member to generate a certain narrative around the elections.
Read the report in full.