Nigeria 2015 Elections Scenarios and Recommendations: Yobe State

Published January 15, 2015
By Peace and Security Working Group
Nigeria Election Scenarios and Recommendations
View comments
 
 
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.
 
 

Yobe At-a-Glance

 

Current Governor
Ibrahim Geidam
 
Current Ruling Party
All Progressives Congress (APC); formerly ANPP
 
Key February 2015 Elections
Presidential
Gubernatorial
National Assembly
State House of Assembly

 
Prognosis
Yobe State is listed as one of the most volatile and high risk states (red category) in the CLEEN’s report.
  CLEEN Map of Hot Spots for Election Violence
   
Peace Map (www.p4p-nigerdelta.org) Violence Heat Map Jan 2009-Dec 2014

 

Political Developments in Yobe

  • Yobe has always been a state in opposition with the party at the centre since start of democratic rule.
  • Yobe was created out of Borno state in 1991 and continues to have very close links to it
  • Agricultural state, one of the largest cattle markets in West Africa, mineral deposits, rich in fishing
  • 3 Senatorial zones and 17 LGAs (all Senators elected under ANPP but are now APC)
    - A Yobe North: Senator Bukar Abba Ibrahim; predominantly Kanuri and Muslim, very small Christian population; conflict between farmers, fisher people and pastoralists; JAS crisis predominantly here
    - B Yobe Central: Senator Alkali Jajere; Fulani, Kare-kare, Ngzum, Bwolewa, mostly Muslim but with a significant Christian population; conflict takes an ethnic and communal nature; JAS crisis
    - C Yobe South: Senator Ahmed Lawal; Bade, Manga, Kanuri, Fulani mostly Muslim; JAS crisis; conflict between farmers, fisher people and pastoralists
  • 14 Emirate Councils (Damaturu, Gujba, Ngelzama, Fika, Bade, Fune, Gudi, Nangere, Garzagamu, Nguru, Yusufari, Machina. Potiskum and Mashio). The most powerful emirates are Fika, Damaturu and Bade. The Chair of Emirate Council is the Emir of Fika
  • The current Governor, Ibrahim Geidam, is of the APC and is from Zone A (Yobe North)
  • The current Deputy Governor, Engineer Abubakar D Aliyu, is from Zone B (Yobe Central)
  • Secretary to the State Government, Engineer Babagoni Machina, is from Zone C (Yobe South)
  • Yobe has adopted sharia law since 2002 and the majority of the people in the State are Muslims, with a significant Christian population in Zone B
  • Yobe has seen a rise in violent conflict since 2002
    - 2002 – 2005: Emergence of a sect known as ‘Taleban’ and violence in Zagi Biriri, and Kanamma LGAs (Zone A)
    - 2005: Protestors attacked churches and killed worshippers in Potiskum (and Maiduguri) following the publication of a controversial cartoon depicting the Prophet by a Danish journalist
    - 2005: Metamorphosis of Taleban into JAS under a new leader, Mohammed Yusuf with major crisis from 2009 onwards, triggered in Bauchi and spread to Yobe
    - 2010-2011: JAS resurfaced with targeted killings and reprisals of security agencies
    - State of Emergency has been in place since May 2013
    - Violent conflict between Jama’atu Ahlu Sunna Lih Dawa’ati Wal Jihad (JAS), commonly known as Boko Haram, and government forces, leading to human rights violations committed by all sides, abductions, sexual violence, killing, closure of schools since Feb 2014 and increasing militarisation in the region
    - Communal conflict and conflict between pastoralist, farmers and fishers
  • Civil society is active, particularly on human rights, gender, health, education and increasingly on peacebuilding issues

 

Elections in 2011

  • Senator Mamman Ali (popularly called Mal) from Zone B won the Governorship elections in 2007
  • Governor Mamman Ali died in January 2009 and was succeeded by his Deputy Governor, Ibrahim Geidam from Zone A with Engineer Abubakar D Aliyu (Gov Mamman Ali’s younger brother) from Zone B, a civil servant from the Ministry of Housing, becoming the Deputy Governor
  • Ibrahim Geidam won the 2011 Governorship elections
  • Post-election violence, particularly in Potiskum which is multi-ethnic, as many supported Buhari who lost the Presidential elections
  • Violence and attacks especially in Potiskum: Shops burned and political leaders, government agencies and buildings and property of PDP supporters targeted but few deaths and violence was contained within 5 hours due to intervention of security agencies
  • Government responded to targeted killings and JAS attacks with the creation of Joint Task Force (JTF)

 

Developments 2011-2014

  • First suicide bombing against the police station in Potiskum in July 2009
  • TK Cattle Market and Police Area Command in Potiskum also attacked on 2nd May 2011
  • 2 major JAS attacks in late 2011 in Damaturu – most churches, security formations including prisons and the police headquarters, were destroyed; curfew was imposed following this
  • JTF disbanded following State of Emergency declaration in May 2013
  • JAS attacks on schools on GSS Damaturu, College Agriculture Gujba and Federal College in Buni Yadi in 2013
  • LGA elections conducted in December 2013, all won by APC candidates
  • With intensification of JAS attacks, conflict over land and water and communal violence has subsided but underlying issues are still there and continue to be unaddressed

 

Major Political Players in Yobe State

 

Name Position Elected/
Appointed
Party Additional
Information
Ibrahim Geidam State Governor 2011 APC (1)
Abubakar D. Ali Deputy Governor 2011 APC -
Ahmed Ibrahim Lawan Senator 2007 APC -
Bukar Abba Ibrahim Senator 2007 APC -
Alkali Abdulkadir Jafere Senator 2001 APC -

Additional Information:
(1) Possibly running for Governor 2015.

 

  • Politics in the 3 State of Emergency states changes quickly
  • Intra and inter party conflict within the APC and between the APC and PDP
  • Uncertainty over the eligibility of the Governor to contest for the Governorship elections in 2015 as he has already served 1½ terms and been sworn in twice – not sure whether he will stand. If GEJ contests, he will also do so but will not if GEJ does not stand
  • National level APC preparing Governor not to contest again since he has served 1½ terms in case he is not allowed to constitutionally
  • Local APC is making contingency plans in case the Governor is not eligible to stand and trying to choose a consensus candidate in line with Governor Geidam
  • Intense and serious contestation between different groups in politics and between ‘Abuja politicians’ and ‘home politicians’
  • Federal government seen as very interested in wresting power from the APC and so are appointing people into federal positions to get power, money and status in the state. Although it will be very difficult for the PDP to wrest power from the APC, the rise of the ‘Abuja politicians’ will signify a serious contest in 2015 as there are signs they are determined to take over power
  • Cars distributed to key politicians by a PDP politician/ prospective candidate
  • High tendency for ‘Abuja politicians’ to talk of lack of security and say elections will be held here but not there while APC politicians say elections can go ahead in the entire state.
  • Perception PDP will say elections cannot be held in Yobe if it is seen results will not be favourable to PDP ‘Abuja politicians’
  • If there are perceptions the ‘Abuja politicians’ cannot win, there are fears they will instigate violence so elections will not take place. This will particularly affect LGAs such as Potiskum. The insinuation is that the possible plan to take advantage of violence not to hold elections is to the advantage of the PDP.
  • There are likely to be serious problems if elections are held in some parts of the state but not others
  • Ahaji Adamu Maina Waziri, former Minister for Police, has announced he will contest for Governorship elections under the PDP – he is from Potiskum which is volatile
  • Culture of violence imbibed by young people due to insurgency and military response has led to fears they will be susceptible to use by politicians
  • Fears that violence in Borno will spill over in a significant way into Yobe, especially as there is no Civilian Joint Task Force-like organisation there
  • Frequent JAS attacks on the Damaturu - Maiduguri road continue despite military checkpoints
  • Women and girls abducted in Yobe e.g. from Gujba in April 2014 but not in the same numbers as in Borno
  • The key question debated is if elections can be held in the 3 State of Emergency states including Yobe
  • Both PDP and APC agree at present elections can be held but accusations of manipulation – PDP saying APC using thugs and so elections will not be free and fair and the APC saying Abuja politicians are bringing in Abuja people to manipulate and influence the elections
  • Massive deployments of troops and equipment in October 2014
  • Possibility of delayed election in Gujba, depending on security situation
  • If total number of votes in LGAs where elections were not held would not make a difference to the result, elections may be legitimate according to INEC.
  • Perception PDP, if likely to lose, will use soldiers and facilitate rigging
  • Rumours among women that if you go out to vote, you will be shot
  • Fear JAS will disturb elections, especially in Gujba - taking ballots, conducting attacks or bombs
  • Religious/ sectarian conflict in Potiskum between Izala, Shia and Dharika is fermenting
  • Situation in NE is playing into national political dynamics around elections, with the PDP saying only opposition states are unstable and the APC saying the situation shows that the government is incapable of tackling insecurity.

 

Key Issues

  • Will elections take place? Will there be some parts of the state where elections are not held?
  • Possibility of rigging and political thuggery
  • High level of apprehension around elections - fear for life and property
  • Influence of the 'Abuja politicians'
  • Whether the Governor will be eligible to stand

 
Potential drivers:
Desperation to win at all cost so actions to rig elections in area where cannot win
 
Potential Types of violence:
Potiskim and Gujba likely to be major flashpoints. Dimensions of violence: inter-party, intra-party, JAS-related
 

Elections in 2015

 
Pre-Election

  • Clashes within PDP supporters
  • Hijacking of materials possible
  • Disruption/ clashes at campaign rallies and political thuggery
  • Bombs or attacks in this period by JAS may be possible
  • Intimidation

 
During Election

  • Military presence at polling stations leading to apprehension may lead to low voter turnout
  • Rigging of elections
  • Police and soldiers, under federal control and State of Emergency, used in intimidating APC
  • Bombs or attacks in this period by JAS may be possible

 
Post-Election

  • Violence in Potiskum if Buhari loses may happen
  • Bombs or attacks in this period by JAS may be possible

 
To consider

  • Impact of supposed ceasefire may lead to delayed response from soldiers
  • JAS attack – bombs including suicide bombings of women in Kano and Lagos

 

2015 Elections Possible Scenario 1

 
Before Elections:

  • Governor not eligible to stand so he imposes another candidate; local APC do not have a choice - no tension/ conflict around this
  • PDP candidate chosen is Dr Yerima Ngama, former Minister of State for Finance, who has federal PDP backing not Waziri
  • Neither primary leads to violence
  • Increasing contestation but no violence between parties
  • Civil society work with communities around voter education and the need for issue based and violent free elections and continue strengthening the existing early warning system

 
During Elections:

  • Heavy military presence at polling stations leads to fear, tension and suspicion - not always welcome by communities
  • Low voter turnout due to fear
  • Presidential election is held and GEJ - causes tension, especially in Potiskum
  • Waziri factor douses conflict as those in Potiskum see one of their people is contesting for the PDP and so will not react with violence
  • Rigging during the elections causes mutual accusations by APC and PDP
  • Civil society including women's groups, youth groups, media, religious leaders call for peace and mobilise to stop groups taking part in violence

 
After Elections:

  • Party that loses Governorship contests results in court
  • Media reports allegations of rigging
  • Influential leaders publicly call for peace

 

2015 Elections Possible Scenario 2

 
Before Elections:

  • Governor eligible to stand and easily wins APC primary as consensus candidate with no serious challengers
  • PDP candidate chosen is Waziri
  • Neither primary leads to violence
  • Civil society work with communities around voter education and the need for issue based and violent free elections and continue strengthening the existing early warning system
  • Increasing contestation but no violence between parties

 
During Elections:

  • Heavy military presence at polling stations leads to fear, tension and suspicion - not always welcome by communities
  • Low voter turnout due to fear
  • Presidential election is held and GEJ - causes tension, especially in Potiskum
  • Waziri factor douses conflict as those in Potiskum see one of their people is contesting for the PDP and so will not react with violence
  • Rigging during the elections causes mutual accusations by APC and PDP
  • Civil society including women's groups, youth groups, media, religious leaders call for peace and mobilise to stop groups taking part in violence

 
After Elections:

  • Party that loses Governorship contests results in court
  • Media reports allegations of rigging
  • Influential leaders publicly call for peace

 
 
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.