Niger Delta Watch 2019 weekly briefs

In November and December 2018, we trained nearly 100 citizen Election Observers, Social Media Analysts, and Data Analysts as project team members to take part in Niger Delta Watch 2019. They were based across the Niger Delta, and submitted incident reports and other analysis on events which related to a number of risk areas identified as relevant to the Niger Delta.

Each week we produced a report describing and analysing these events in our four focus states of Rivers, Bayelsa, Delta, and Akwa Ibom. 

We published these reports online, and then held briefings with government officials, journalists, diplomats, civil society organisations, and others working to make the Nigerian elections a success. We also organised a series of radio shows on local stations so members of the public could access the information we produced.

Overall report: Niger Delta Watch 2019
A civil society report on the conduct of the Nigerian elections In early 2019, Nigeria held its sixth cycle of elections since its restoration of democracy in 1999. This included two main sets of elections: Presidential and National Assembly polls, in February (after a week-long postponement, announced during the middle of the night before they were due to take place), and Governorship and State House of Assembly elections, in March. Although incumbent President Muhammadu Buhari was ultimately re-elected by a significant margin, in the Niger Delta, the elections were marked by fraud, violence, and major disruption to voting processes. More than 100 people died through the election season, a damning indictment of the limited progress made in embedding peaceful politics in Nigeria. These problems were documented in nearly 700 incident ...
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Elections Report 15
Released on 19/04/19 This is scheduled to be the final full weekly report from Niger Delta Watch 2019. It covers incidents where data is available for the end of the reporting period, the last week (25 – 31) of March. This report also includes a summary of the elections held in Rivers State on Saturday 13 April.With the final House of Assembly elections taking place in Rivers State over the weekend, the election cycle has now concluded, with the national Presidential election, as well as Governorship and State House of Assembly elections concluded in Rivers, Delta and Akwa Ibom. The Bayelsa Governorship election is off-cycle, and scheduled to take place later in the year.With tension beginning to dissipate, our observers have taken a look back at some of the issues ...
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Elections Report 14
Released on 05/04/19 This is the latest weekly report from Niger Delta Watch 2019, an elections observation project which has been monitoring the political environment in four Niger Delta States – Rivers, Bayelsa, Delta and Akwa Ibom – in the run up to and over the course of the Nigerian Presidential and Governorship election cycles. The election period is nearly over, although activities remain ongoing in collating and verifying results from contested polls, with the potential for re-runs of some elections in Rivers to come.Incidents in our four target states have continued to be reported, although events in Bayelsa, in particular, have been noticeably calmer than was once feared. Activity on social media has included posts accusing the victorious APC of voter intimidation and violence.Outside of the reporting period, there ...
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Elections Report 13
Released on 26/03/19 This is the 13th weekly report from Niger Delta Watch 2019, which has been reporting on the political environment during the months over the election period in four Niger Delta States – Rivers, Bayelsa, Delta and Akwa Ibom. The week in review covered events in the week following the Governorship Elections, 11-17 March 2019. In Rivers, there was a protest in Port Harcourt Local Government Area (LGA), following the suspension of the Governorship and Assembly elections, by members of the All Progressive Congress (APC) / African Action Congress (AAC) coalition. The major fall-out of the suspension has been propaganda, accusations and counter accusations from the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), the APC/AAC Coalition and the 6 division of the Nigerian army. The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) is ...
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Elections Report 12
Released on 21/03/19 The Governorship polls on the weekend of the 09-10 March took place in difficult circumstances. Rivers State in particular was characterised by serious problems at every stage of the poll, with varying degrees of intensity across different local governments. Given the seriousness of the problems there, this report provides an extended section on events in Rivers. The most notable improvement on the Presidential polls was in logistics, where with the exception of local governments already seeing clashes, the distribution of materials and start times for the poll were significantly improved. Read the report in full ...
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Elections Report 11
Released on 04/03/19 Niger Delta Watch and SDN observed the Presidential and National Assembly elections in Rivers, Bayelsa, Delta and Akwa Ibom, reporting on a range of issues affecting the polls. Overall, there was significant delay, disruption and interference in the polls and during collation. In particular, several LGAs saw the total cancellation of their vote counts, and so at minimum these events will have affected results through the effective suppression of votes and turnout. However, there were significant differences across the states. Rivers State had markedly more cancellations and incidents with the collation of results. Read the report in full ...
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Elections Report 10
Released on 21/02/19 The major event this weekend was the last-minute postponement of the Presidential and National Assembly elections scheduled to take place on Saturday 16 February. Our Observers tracked the stalling of key elections materials distribution at the Central Bank in Delta, Rivers and Akwa Ibom states. In each of the States, materials were still short on Friday evening, although it was not fully clear to party agents what was absent, and what the ramifications of this would be. By late Friday evening the delay in materials meant that plans were being made and adjusted for overnight delivery of materials to Local Governments, with the inevitable knock-on delays of materials reaching polling units. Election materials never left the Central Bank in Rivers and Akwa Ibom states, as among other ...
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Elections Report 09
Released on 11/02/18 This is the ninth edition of Niger Delta Watch 2019.During the week of 28 January, with less than two weeks until the Presidential and National Assembly elections, particularly in Rivers State, major campaign activities are being carried out by the ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP), while the major opposition party, All Progressive Congress (APC), is still held down by the uncertainty around their participation in the Rivers State elections. While there were fewer reported election-related incidents in the week under review compared with previous weeks, we did receive a report of violence in Emohua as well as a fire at the office of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Oyigbo Local Government Area (LGA), which turned out to be the result of an accident rather than ...
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Elections Report 08
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 ...
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Elections Report 07
Released on 28/01/19 This is the seventh edition of Niger Delta Watch 2019.In the last week, campaigns picked up in all of the states without a noticeable increase in violence or clashes. A theme this week in all of the project states has been vote buying, of which there has been a significant amount, with increasingly large sums of money shared with community members by political parties In Rivers, political parties have been travelling to communities, demanding their supporters and members to show their voters card. While the All Progressive Congress (APC) and other parties are embarking on low key campaigns, the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) has been crisscrossing the State campaigning for votes.In Bayelsa, there was a cult clash in Yenagoa LGA, leading to a number of fatalities. There ...
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Elections Report 06
Released on 21/01/19 This is the sixth edition of Niger Delta Watch 2019.This week we focus on incidents of electoral fraud and corruption that have occurred in the four project states since the beginning of project. We discover that the most common type of fraudulent incident relates to bribery, a number of these incidents have involved giving money, particularly to women (which reflects themes in previous election periods), and multiple political parties are involved in such behaviour (including the two main parties: the PDP and APC). The highest number of fraud related incidents have been reported in Southern Ijaw LGA, Bayelsa State.In Rivers this week, incidents of bribery and billboard destruction were reported. The PDP concluded their campaigning in some LGAs in the State, and the Accord Party carried out ...
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Elections Report 05
Released on 14/01/2019 This is the fifth edition of Niger Delta Watch 2019. Across the region the electoral campaigns appear to be less intense and with fewer resources than in the same period in 2011 and 2015. There is some variability to this, with more visible campaigning in Akwa Ibom State while Rivers has the most obvious drop in campaign activity compared to earlier periods. Akwa Ibom also had the most obvious incidents of political violence with one APC youth leader attacked and abducted for his activities while a PDP leader had his house burnt down. There were also reports of a clash between APC and PDP supporters where allegations of injury to Aman Nkanga indicate how swiftly incidents can escalate to impact on nationally relevant figures – Nkanga is ...
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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 ...
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Elections Report 03
Released on 17/12/18 This is the third edition of Niger Delta Watch 2019. This week we are pleased for the first time to include graphics illustrating some of the data the project has been able to gather. Incidents submitted by Election Observers in Rivers, Bayelsa and Delta are in the first instance coded under one of five major election risk areas. These were identified as part of the design of a bespoke database for this project. Our analysis in future reports will look in more detail at the types of incidents these risk areas include, with more details made available on the project website. The risk areas are: - Violence.- Fraud and corruption.- Political party and campaign misconduct.- Electoral preparations, procedures and standards.- Voter, civil society and other intimidation.Note that ...
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Elections Report 02
Released on 10/12/18 This is the second weekly report of Niger Delta Watch 2019. It highlights key incidents reported by the project’s citizen election observers in each state. As of next week, we will include visual trend analysis, and specific incidents will be used to highlight key dynamics.In Rivers there were several killings. The tensions in the state were highlighted by military raids on the state government’s ‘neighbourhood watch’ training camp and by a high court ordering the arrest of APC campaign director, Chidi Lloyd, on attempted murder charges relating to alleged assaults committed in 2013 at the State Assembly. There were also several successful and peaceful political meetings.In Bayelsa, citizen concerns are emerging concerning the potential for violence to be used to discourage people from voting.In Delta, incidents highlight ...
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Elections Report 01
Released on 03/12/18 This is the first weekly report of Niger Delta Watch 2019. Niger Delta Watch 2019 is a citizen-led elections observation project reporting on the 2019 Nigerian presidential and governorship elections. It focuses on the States of Rivers, Bayelsa, Delta and Akwa Ibom. The project is a joint initiative of Stakeholder Democracy Network (SDN) and the Nigeria Civil Society Situation Room (CSSR).The goal of Niger Delta Watch 2019 is to generate accurate information on the 2019 Nigerian election campaign as it unfolds in the Niger Delta. The information is for the benefit of the Nigerian government, its electoral agencies, security services and journalists, researchers, civil society organisations and others working to support democracy in Nigeria.This short introductory report contains qualitative analysis of political dynamics and key incidents in ...
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Published 11.12.2019

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