Nigeria 2015 Elections Scenarios and Recommendations: Adamawa 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.
 
 

Adamawa At-a-Glance

 

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

 
Prognosis
Adamawa State is identified as a high level risk state (Red Category) in CLEEN’s latest 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

  • According to the results collated from the 21 local government areas of the state, Murtala Nyako reclaimed his governorship seat.
  • The ruling Peoples’ Democratic Party’s candidate garnered 302, 986 votes to beat his Action Congress of Nigeria challenger, Markus Gundiri, who polled 260, 405 votes. The candidate of the Congress Progressive Change, Buba Marwa was only been able to win 107, 564 votes.
  • Mr. Nyako won 13 out of 21 local governments while the CAN candidate prevailed in 8.
  • By winning the majority of the votes and 25% of votes in two-thirds of the local government areas of the state, Mr. Nyako fulfilled the constitutional requirements to be pronounced winner.
  • Following the April 2011 presidential voting, according to Human Rights Watch, more than 800 people were reported dead in a three-day riot in 12 northern states of the country, including Adamawa.
  • The violence began with widespread protests by the supporters of the main opposition candidate, Muhammadu Buhari, a northern Muslim from the Congress for progressive Change, following the re-election of incumbent Goodluck Jonathan, a Christian from the Niger-Delta in the South, who was the candidate for the ruling Peoples’ Democratic Party.
  • The protests degenerated into violent riots or sectarian killings in the northern states of Adamawa, Bauchi, Borno, Gombe, Jigawa, Kaduna, Kano, Katsina, Niger, Sokoto, Yobe and Zamfara.
  • In Adamawa State, some citizens were up in arms against the state government in Madagali and Mubi local government areas as well as Yola metropolis.
  • Women and girls particularly vulnerable to sexual violence during violence, including some cases of security agents deployed to keep the peace raping women.
  • Some traditional rulers left their areas for fear of attack when violence happened
  • Security needs of people with disabilities not addressed at all and their voices and experiences not known or integrated into state response and analysis of election violence

 

Key Political Developments Since 2011

Adamawa State is one of the states in the North- East of Nigeria. Since its creation in 1991, Adamawa State was administered by eight governors, four of them military administrators. The first civilian governor of the state, Alhaji Abubakar Saleh Michika, was elected on the platform of the National Republican Convention (NRC). Michika governed the state from 2nd January 1992 – 17th November, 1993 in opposition to the predominant Social Democratic Party that won the 12th June 1993 presidential election that was annulled. After years of military interregnum, Boni Haruna of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) ruled from 29th May 1999 – 29th April 2007, a period that launched Adamawa into the mainstream of national politics for being in the ruling party. Murtala Nyako continued to extend the PDP rule from 29th May 2007 – 26th February, 2008; and 29th April 2008 – 15th July, 2014. Nyako’s rule was briefly punctuated by a tribunal judgment that annulled the election which paved way for James Barka (26th February, 2008 – 29th April, 2008) as Acting Governor. Murtala Nyako’s second term was also briefly punctuated when Alhaji Umaru Fintiri became the Acting Governor from 27th January, 2012 to 8th February, 2012. The recent defection of Governor Nyako to the All Progressives Congress in November 2013 and developments thereafter led to his impeachment on 15th July 2014 and subsequent emergence of Alhaji Umaru Fintiri, erstwhile speaker of the Adamawa State House of Assembly as Acting Governor for the second time. A Federal High Court ruled on 8th October 2014 in Abuja that Nyako’s former deputy Bala James Ngilari who never decamped to the APC did not resign his appointment. Ngilari was immediately sworn in as governor to complete the remaining period.

From these developments, a number of important lessons could be discerned in the politics of Adamawa State which is characterized by (i) keen contest between political parties e.g. the annulment of Nyako’s election and the conduct of fresh elections thereafter, (ii) intra party squabbles that is characterized by poor relations between the legislature and executive leading to Governor Nyako’s impeachment on July 15th 2014, and (iii) power swing towards and away from the central government evidenced by the state being controlled even if briefly by NRC and APC (opposition parties) and PDP (ruling party) contrary to the situation in neighbouring states like Bauchi and Taraba that have consistently been politically identified with the central government.

The swearing-in of Bala Ngilari as the governor of Adamawa, no doubt unexpectedly came with new challenges namely, the cancellation of the governorship bye-election in the State. The APC believes that this development was manipulated by the ruling PDP for fear of defeat and so the swearing-in of Bala Ngilari as governor only amounts to postponing the possibility of APC taking back the State in February 2015.

Another challenge is the perceived disquiet within the PDP between the supporters of Ngilari the new governor and the former acting governor Ahmadu Fintiri who has already filed an appeal. Both parties are from the same local government area, Madagali. However Ngilari is a Christian while Fintiri is a Muslim. This could introduce a religious dimension to intra party politics of PDP in the State.

A state of emergency was in place from May 2013 until 20th November 2014. This was not renewed and so Adamawa is no longer officially under a state of emergency.

 

Factors Causing Election Violence

  • Political agitation of the north calling for return to power to complete late Pres. Yar’Adua’s tenure in office and so for Buhari to win presidency over GEJ
  • Christian-Muslim religious differences
  • Intra and Inter-Political Party differences between PDP and APC

 

Response

  • Deployment of security agents to restore peace
  • Mass arrest of people around area of violence and suspected perpetrators
  • Relief materials by NEMA
  • Civil society provided relief materials and have been doing peacebuilding work, including on inter-religious harmony and co-existence
  • Federal Government assisted victims of the post 2011 election with the sum of N420Million Naira.
  • To some extent, response mitigated elongation and escalation of violence in affected communities and contained conflict from spreading to neighboring states
  • However, root causes of conflict still not addressed and relief provided insufficient to meet needs

 

Developments Between 2011– 2014

  • Merger of opposition party to form APC triggered mass exodus from PDP to APC
  • The defection of Governor Nayko (A Muslim) to APC in November 2013 and other developments thereafter, led to his impeachment in July 2014.
  • Alhaji Umaru Fintiri (A Christian), erstwhile speaker of the Adamawa State House of Assembly emerged as the acting governor for the second time following Nyako’s impeachment.
  • In October, 2014 a Federal High Court stopped the Adamawa State Bye-Election and ruled that Nyako’s former deputy Bala James Ngilari, who never decamped to the APC, never resigned his appointment.
  • Ngilari was immediately sworn in as Governor to complete the remaining period.
  • Following the just concluded gubernatorial primaries which held in Abuja, the former Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Nuhu Ribadu emerged as the winner of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP)
  • The emergence of Ribadu as the winner continues to feed discontent in the party. A group of aspirants led by the incumbent governor of the state, Bala Ngilari met and decided to suspend Ribadu from the party at state level.
  • In the APC gubernatorial primaries Alhaji Ibrahim Mijinyawa Yayaji who was believed to be Atiku’s ‘anointed’ candidate was defeated by Senator Mohammed Umaru Jibrilla Bindow (representing Adamawa North)

 

Current Political Dynamics

  • Key issues:
                Where should Governor come from?
                Huge contest between major political parties.
                Internal tensions within political parties
                History of inter-communal (religious, ethnic,) tension and violence
  • PDP vs APC Clashes
  • Inter and intra-party tension and contentions deepening, cases of defection and counter defections.
  • Greater support for opposition APC following the defection of Nyako as he appears to be very influential
  • Inter- Religious crises between the Christians and the Muslims
  • Possibility of violence due to internal wrangling in APC for instance Buhari (over Atiku) presidential candidacy.
  • Failure of government and security agencies to curb communal violence and attacks.
  • In the aftermath of the cancellation of the proposed bye-election in Adamawa, nearly half of the state (mostly in the northern and central parts) is perceived to be insecure either due to insurgency and activities of restive youths that are thugs
  • PDP seen as Christian party due to campaigning by GEJ in churches.
  • From experience of the nature of insurgency in the northeast, there may be infiltration of Internally Displaced Person’s (IDP) camps in the state by insurgents who may already be disguising in these camps as IDPs.
  • There is perceived feeling that the bye-election was cancelled by the national PDP for fear of defeat
  • The Security and rights of IDPs need to be protected, because if they are at risk as a result of their camps being targeted by insurgents, if polling stations are being placed there for IDPs to vote, there will be high levels of fear among IDPs with reluctance to identify themselves, as such there will be very few men in IDP camps- mostly Women and children.
  • Questions raised about what impact would not holding elections have on the mandate state representatives?
  • Following the just concluded gubernatorial primaries which held in Abuja, the former Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Nuhu Ribadu emerged as the winner of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP)
  • The emergence of Ribadu as the winner continues to feed discontent in the party. A group of aspirants led by the incumbent governor of the state, Bala Ngilari met and decided to suspend Ribadu from the party at state level.

 

Major Political Players in Adamawa State

-

Name Position Elected/
Appointed
Party Additional
Information
Bala Ngilari State Governor 2014 PDP (1)
  Deputy Governor 2011 PDP (2)
Bindawa Muhammed Jibrilla Senator 2011 PDP -
Ahmed Hassan Barata Senator 2011 PDP -
Bello Mohammed Tukur Senator 2011 PDP -

Additional Information:
(1) The INEC cancelled the Adamawa State gubernatorial election scheduled for Saturday, October 11, 2014. The decision followed a court ruling which ordered the stoppage of the poll and the removal of the acting governor of the state, Umar Fintiri. The court also ordered the immediate swearing in of Bala Ngilari, a former Deputy Governor, as the new Governor. Mr. Ngilari has since been sworn in.
(2) The court verdict that sacked acting governor, Ahmadu Umaru Fintiri, has changed the political permutations of the PDP and necessitated the selection of a new deputy governor to Bala Ngilari, the substantive governor of the state.
Various groupings and blocks within the party have been involved in last minute scheming to ensure that their candidate is selected to hold the coveted office.
In order to save the party from fragmentation in view of the multifarious interest vying for the number two office, Governor Bala Ngilari has asked the party to produce two nominations out of which he will choose one.

 

Elections in 2015

 
Conflict Drivers:

  • Desperation to win at all cost so actions to rig elections in area where cannot win
  • Conflation of religion, ethnic and geographical (zones) identities; political contentions combined with identity based historical grievances
  • Abuse of power by key government officials and some affluent politicians in the conduct of election.
  • Imposition of candidates by parties
  • Fanaticism about politics among youth – e.g. clear affinity for Atiku, which could lead to arguments as possible clashes between the supporters of Buhari and Atiku

 
Potential Types of Violence:
The following areas are considered volatile in Adamawa State

  • The entire Madagali local government area where insurgency is most intense, it shares borders with Gwoza local government area of Borno State;
  • Michika local government area which is close to Madagali;
  • Mubi North and South local government areas due to threats by insurgents;
  • Maiha due to fear of insurgency;
  • Jimeta (Yola North) due to presence of IDPs and restive youths who are thugs; and
  • Girei due to same reasons as Jimeta.

 
Pre-election
Controversy over zoning i.e. where candidates come from & intra-party contestation

  • Logistical challenges in distribution of electoral materials to polling units on time. Often, sensitive and non-sensitive material not delivered on time or at all in some polling units, triggering protest.
  • Disruption of registration efforts
  • Hijacking of materials
  • Disruption/clashes at campaign rallies
  • Political thuggery
  • Sexual violence
  • Bombing
  • Sectarian violence
  • Intimidation
  • Assassinations or abductions of women and/or men candidates and family members

 
During election

  • Ballot box snatching and voter intimidation
  • Police used in intimidating opposition
  • Bomb blast
  • Sexual violence

 
Post-election, triggered by inflation of figures and related rigging of election activities or declaration of results in areas in where election did not hold.

  • How Buhari or APC candidate fares in presidential elections (if the candidate) key: replay of 2011?
  • Political violence degenerating to sectarian violence is of a high probability if it happens.
  • Religious variables may take lead in determining pattern of attack across three geo-political zones.

 
To consider:
Security forces should increase their monitoring and surveillance of all interested parties in the State;

  • The activities of the State House of Assembly should be closely monitored too because of the trend of impeachment processes;
  • Communities hosting IDPs and IDP camps should be fully secured to ensure that they are not infiltrated by insurgents, thugs or hoodlums; and
  • Security forces should take due care to ensure that they do not provoke local population through overzealous acts of some of its officers.

 
 

Scenario 1 for 2015

 
Before

  • If Ribadu emerges winner, the PDP are likely to have an upper hand in the State House of Assembly
  • If a Muslim (Ribadu) emerges as the winner, there is likely to be clashes between Christians and Muslims in Yola and other areas with major Christian Populations (Michika, Hong)
  • If Ribabdu emerges winner, there will be intra-party clashes as some aspirants are discontent with party’s choice of candidacy

 
During

  • Reluctance in the voting process by the voters due to choice of candidate
  • Snatching of ballot boxes
  • Hoarding of electoral materials
  • Voter intimidation
  • Vote rigging
  • Accreditation issues
  • Fear of going out to vote due to security challenges

 
After

  • There is likely to be serious post- election crises especially due to intra and inter-party differences
  • Increased tension and heightened security presence in the state
  • APC candidates will go to court.
  • If Ribabdu (PDP) emerges winner, there will be intra-party clashes as some aspirants are discontent with party’s choice of candidacy

 

Scenario 2 for 2015

 
Before

  • If Senator Mohammed Umaru Jibrilla Bindow emerges winner, there will be internal tensions since he is not Atiku’s candidate and Atiku is a key influencer in the politics of the state.
  • If Senator Umaru wins, APC will have an upper hand in the state House of Assembly

 
During

  • Reluctance in the voting process by the voters due to the choice of candidate
  • Snatching of ballot boxes
  • Hoarding of electoral materials
  • Voter intimidation
  • Vote rigging
  • Accreditation issues
  • Fear of going out to vote due to security challenges

 
After

  • APC politicians are likely to have more political appointments in the state
  • There is likely to be serious post-election crises especially due to intra and inter-party differences, intra and inter-ethnic differences and religious crises
  • Increased tension and heightened security presence in the state
  • If Senator Mohammed Umaru Jibrilla Bindow emerges winner, there will be internal tensions since he is not Atiku’s candidate and Atiku is a key influencer in the politics of the state.
  • PDP candidates will go to court

 
 
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.