Nigeria 2015 Elections Scenarios and Recommendations: Abia State

Published January 15, 2015
By Peace and Security Working Group
Nigeria Election Scenarios and Recommendations
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Disclaimer: The following analysis is based on discussions with State-level actors and so reflects their perceptions, not the view of the Peace and Security Working Group. These scenarios were produced prior to the 2014 primary elections and are thus subject to change. Where relevant, updates have been made to reflect evolving dynamics.
 
 

Abia At-a-Glance

 

Current Governor
Theodore Orji
 
Current Ruling Party
Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)
 
Key February 2015 Elections
Presidential
Gubernatorial
Senate
State House of Assembly

 
Prognosis
Abia State is identified as a medium level risk (amber category) in CLEEN’s report
  CLEEN Map of Hot Spots for Election Violence
   
Peace Map (www.p4p-nigerdelta.org) Violence Heat Map Jan 2009-Dec 2014

 

Elections in 2011

  • In 2011, Theodore Orji (PDP) won the gubernatorial election with 82.33% of the vote, followed by Reagan Ufomba (APGA) with 6.35% and Chris Akomas (PPA) with 5.62%. ACN and LP each received less than 3% of the vote.
  • Ethnic Tension in 2011: There was some ethnic polarization between the indigenes of Abia Central and Abia North/South.
  • LGAS reportedly affected by violence: Bende, Isiala Ngwa N/S; Aba South
  • Type of Violence: harassment of opponents, access denied to opposition, intimidation, heavy deployment of security.
  • Women and Girls: Opposition women were harassed and women’s freedom of movement restricted
  • Response: CSO’s, police, and churches

 

Key Political Developments Since 2011

  • Abia State is currently controlled by the PDP. Opposition parties in the state like PPA, APC, APGA and Labor party have very little influence. Executive has influence over the judiciary, State House of Assembly, and religious institutions. The wife and son of the Governor are key political players, with influence on the state machinery.
  • The Governor’s term is running out, so he positioning to run for senate in Abia Central and to select his successor.
  • A serving minster of the Federal Republic of Nigeria resigned and joined the Governorship race as a PDP candidate.
  • The PDP and the Governor zoned the Governorship slot to Abia south Senatorial Zone thereby disfranchising the Ngwa extraction from the Abia central Senatorial zone. There have continued to be ongoing tensions among the Ukwa Ngwa clan who believe that by handing over power to the Abia South Senatorial zone, the Ngwa people in the local councils of Abia Central would then be shut out of the PDP race completely.
  • The ruling party was perceived to have hijacked the PVC/CVR exercise conducted by INEC, precluding many from collecting their voter’s cards.
  • A major political event was the sacking of non-indigene in the state civil service by the present Government. Many were later reinstated when the issue became controversial.
  • There has been no Local Government election since 2007; Local Governments have been run by a caretaker committee with members appointed by the Governor, leading to generalized frustration by residents lacking political representation at the LG level.

 

Major Political Players in Abia State

Name Position Elected/
Appointed
Party Additional
Information
Theodore Orji State Governor 2011 PDP (1)
Emeka Ananaba Deputy Governor 2011 PDP -
Enyinnaya Harcourt Abaribe Senator 2011 PDP -
Nkechi Justina Nwaogu Senator 2011 PDP -
Uche Chukwumerije Senator 2011 PDP -

Additional Information:
(1) Running for Abia Central senatorial seat in 2015, not running for governor in 2015

Other political players include:

  • Former Governor of the state Chief Orji Uzor Kalu
  • Senator Emma Nwaka (PDP State Chairman)
  • Senator Ike Nwachukwu (Former Senator)
  • Mr. Ugochukwu Sampson Ogah (MD Masters Energy)
  • Chief Chukwuemeka Nwogu (Former Minister of Labour)
  • Major General Ihejirika
  • Mr. Okezie Ikpeazu (Former Deputy General Manager, Abia State Environmental Protection Agency (ASEPA))
  • Barr. F.N Nwosu
  • Chief Acho Nwakanma
  • Mr. Alex Otti

 

Elections in 2015

Conflict Drivers:

  • Zoning Arrangement
  • Candidate Endorsement and anointment
  • Lack of internal Democracy and transparency
  • Imposition of candidates and excessive use of Executive Powers.

Areas at Risk of Possible Election Violence: Isiala Ngwa North LGA, Isiala Ngwa South LGA, Osisioma LGA, Abia South Senatorial Zone
Possible Types of Violence: Violent rallies, Hijacking of Electoral Materials, Kidnapping, Assassination, Use of the state security Machinery, Sexual Harassment and intimidation of women and Girls.

 

Scenario of possible election violence in Abia State:

  • If the Governor does not emerge as the candidate for the Abia central Senatorial Zone under PDP, he may go to another party to seek for party ticket and lose the political structure and control of the state.
    Update (Dec 2014): Orji did attain the nomination as the candidate.
  • If Abia South Candidate does not emerge at the coming PDP Governorship Primaries, there could be an outbreak of violence from the Senatorial Zone.
    Update( Dec 2014) Dr. Ikpeazu was declared the winner of the PDP Governership Primary
  • If the former Chief of Army Staff, Gen. Ihejirika emerges as the Governor of the state by 2015 General Election, he will fortify the Security in the state and reduce the menace of kidnapping in the state.
  • If Uchechukwu Sampson Ogah is denied the Governorship Ticket by the PDP, he is likely to decamp to another party and since he seems to have significant popular support, he might win the election and thereby scuttle the PDP Zoning Arrangement because he is from Abia North Senatorial Zone.
    Update: As noted above, Dr. Ikpeazu won the primary, with Uchechukwu Sampson Ogah coming in second. As of the time of this writing, there have been no reports of him leaving the PDP.
  • If Orji Uzor Kalu is not admitted back to the Party before the party primaries for Abia North Senatorial Zone, he may run on the PPA ticket instead, amid increased threats of violence in the state.
    Update: Orji Uzor Kalu was readmitted to the PDP in November 2014 although he came in last (with a reported one vote) in the party primaries for governor.

 

During Elections

  • Election thuggery and violence.
  • Use of the state apparatus and machinery against the opposition political parties by the incumbent.
  • Those PVC Cards that were not collected by voters during the exercise could be used by the Government to rig the election.

 

After Elections

  • If the zoning arrangement is such that the Ukwa-Ngwa clan does not win the Governorship, grievance might lead to increased incidents of kidnapping and other forms of violence by hoodlums.

 
Download the full report in PDF format
 
 
These reports are a collaborative effort of The Fund for Peace and other members of the Nigeria Peace and Security Working Group (PSWG) in Nigeria. These reports reflect the result of a participatory process with national and local-level stakeholders on potential risk factors and scenarios for the February 2015 Nigeria general elections.
For more information, please contact:
Nate Haken at The Fund for Peace, nhaken@fundforpeace.org.