Nigeria 2015 Elections Scenarios and Recommendations: Edo 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.
 
 

Edo At-a-Glance

 

Current Governor
Adams Aliyu Oshiomhole
 
Current Ruling Party
Action Congress of Nigeria Party (ACN), now APC.
 
Key February 2015 Elections
Presidential
Senate
State House of Assembly
(no gubernatorial election until 2016)

 
Prognosis
Edo State is one of the most volatile states according to CLEEN’s report. According to the September 2014 report, there remains discord in the House of Assembly after a perceived plot on the part of PDP lawmakers to impeach the Governor, Deputy Governor, and Speaker of the House of Assembly.
  CLEEN Map of Hot Spots for Election Violence
   
Peace Map (www.p4p-nigerdelta.org) Violence Heat Map Jan 2009-Dec 2014

 

Elections in 2011/2012

  • Edo State has been historically politically volatile, with politicians often swinging back and forth between parties. The general elections in 2011 demonstrated the fierce political competitiveness of the state as well as the erratic nature of party allegiances.
  • Edo’s State governor, Adams Aliyu Oshiomhole, assumed office in November 2008 after winning an appeal in the 2007 elections, which had initially declared his rival, Oserheimen Osunbor, governor. In July 2012, Oshiomhole was reelected for a second term in a landslide victory. He is one of six governors affiliated with the Action Congress of Nigeria Party (ACN), which merged with other opposition parties to become the APC in 2013. In the 2011 House of Assembly election, the ACN won 20 out of the 24 available seats, while the PDP won the other 4.
  • During the 2011 Senatorial Election, the Edo PDP conducted a primary. The present Senator, Odion Ugbesia, representing Edo Central Senatorial District, is widely believed to have lost to Mr. Cliford Odia. However, Ubgesia was declared the winner by the PDP.
  • Violence associated with the elections included generalized political thuggery and tension in Orhionmwon LGA, arson in Etsako Central and thuggery and killings in Etsako East, and the assassination of a candidate for the House of Representatives in Edo South.

 

Ethnic Tension in 2011
 
There was no reported religious or ethnic component to violent incidents.
 
Response: Police responded to violence and were perceived as effective although biased towards the ACN. The lack of grievance mechanisms (legal as well as informal) was cited as a driver of lingering tensions.
 

Key Political Developments Since 2011

  • Elections of the members of Edo state House of Assembly and continued discord within the House over perceived PDP plot to overthrow key political actors, including the Governor and Speaker of the House.
  • Serious and deepening opposition between the two major political parties, the PDP and ACN/APC, often characterized by accusations of political and financial manipulation of voter loyalty.
  • There has been high levels of volatility as politicians often switch affiliation from one party to another.

 

Major Political Players in Edo State

Name Position Elected/
Appointed
Party Additional
Information
Adams Oshiomhole State Governor 2012 APC
Pius Odubu Deputy Governor 2012 APC -
Ehigie Edobor Uzamere Senator 2011 PDP -
Odion Magnus Ugbesia Senator 2011 PDP -
Domingo Alaba Obende Senator 2011 APC -

Additional Information:

Other political players include:

  • Hon. Philip Shuaibu, Edo State House of Assembly
  • Rev. Ize-Iyamu, former National Vice Chairman, Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN)
  • Chief Gabriel Igbinediom, former Esama
  • Chief Anthony Anenih, former Minister of Works and Housing
  • Chief Dan Orbih, PDP Chairman
  • Eng. Clifford Ordia, Chairman of the Federal Board, Upper Benue River Basin Development Authority

 

Elections in 2015

Conflict Drivers

  • Perceived high-handedness of the Governor, including the use of financial and other incentives to cull influence and favoritism among voters and other backers.
  • Financial inducement of politicians leading to the frequent decampment from one party to another, lending an overall instability to the general political environment.
  • Perceived hand-picking of candidates during the LGA elections and primaries based on favouritism and allegiance to various financial backers.
  • Manipulation of party membership registration.
  • Hijacking of electoral materials and tampering with ballot boxes.

 
Areas at Risk of Possible Election Violence:
Oredo, Orhiowon, Ikpoba-okha, Egor, Ovia Northeast, Esan Northeast, Etsako West, Etsako Central, Akoko-edo, Owan West
 
Possible Types of Violence:
Arson, hijacking of ballot boxes and papers, violent rallies, possible assassinations and kidnappings.
 

2015 Election Possible Scenario

 
Before Elections:

  • Governor Adams Oshiomole changed from Labour Party to ACN/APC following his first term. A rift within the ACN has driven some key legislators to mobilize for the impeachment of the governor, which was curtailed due to insufficient votes although tensions still remain. During this time, violence broke out in the House of Assembly and could very well be reignited in the run up to the elections. In 2015, the PDP hopes to win enough seats in the House of Assembly to unseat or obstruct the Governor.

 
During Elections:

  • In the 2014-2015 election cycle, both candidates have taken steps to repeat their 2011 contest. Clifford Ordia appears to have significant popular support, as he did in 2011. However, if after the primaries in November, Ugbesia is declared the winner, there could be violent protests as suspicions that the voting was rigged and/or unfairly awarded will be almost assuredly be reignited.
    Update: In the primaries, Minority Whip of the House of Representatives, Samson Osagie, was nominated as the Edo South Senatorial District candidate of the APC. Francis Inegbenekin emerged the candidate for Edo Central Senatorial District while Major Francis Alimikhena for Edo North Senatorial District. They will be paired in the 2015 elections against their PDP candidates, Matthew Uroghide for Edo South Senatorial District, Clifford Ordia (who defeated Ugbesia) for Edo Central Senatorial District and Paschal Ogbomeh for Edo North Senatorial District.

 
After Elections:

  • Candidates will seek redress through the Electoral Tribunal or Courts as the case may be.
  • Polarization between the parties may deepen, particularly if there is the perception that the election was unfairly handed to Ugbesia again.
  • Party defections are common in Edo State and will likely be intensified following the elections.

 
 
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.