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.

Kaduna At-a-Glance

Current Governor
Mukhtar Ramalan YeroCurrent Ruling Party
Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)

Key February 2015 Elections
State House of Assembly

Kaduna State has been considered one of the most volatile states, placed in the highest threat level (red category) of CLEEN’s report.

CLEEN Map of Hot Spots for Election Violence
Peace Map ( Violence Heat Map Jan 2009-Dec 2014

Kaduna Overview

  • Meeting point for Northern Governors’ Forum with convergence of northern interest around political and economic matters and to negotiate interest at national level
  • Kaduna State has three (3) senatorial districts;
    Northern Zone is Muslim area of influence
    Central Senatorial Zone is a fairly mixed zone
    Southern senatorial zone comprised of ethnic minority groups, mostly Christian and traditional religions with a few Hausa and Fulani Muslim communities. All other ethnic groups in the country can also be found in all parts of the state.
  • PDP is ruling party; APC is main opposition party with 12 members in State House of Assembly
  • Demographic characteristics make it a ‘mini Nigeria’ with most communities in Nigeria represented – which increases volatility and conflicts.
  • Religion is a key conflict driver: Sharia crisis in 2000, Miss World contest in 2002; incidence of bombing religious and public places and inter-communal violence increased in 2012
  • Identified by CLEEN foundation as one of the 15 states most likely to experience electoral violence if adequate measures not taken to prevent it

Elections in 2011

  • Governor Yakowa, PDP, became first ever Governor who was Christian and from ethnic minority groups in southern senatorial zone
  • Worst affected state in terms of number of deaths and destruction of property in 2011; real figure not known but judicial commission of inquiry put death toll between 401 and 957 people killed
  • Violence in 18 of 23 LGAs in the state

Women and girls:

  • They were particularly vulnerable to sexual violence during violence including some cases of security agents deployed to keep the peace raping women and engaging in SEA
  • Some traditional rulers left their areas for fear of attack when violence happened

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
  • Power struggle between CPC and PDP given religious interpretation (common for most issues to be viewed via religious lens since 2000 sharia crisis) & religion used for mobilisation

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


  • Deployment of security agents to restore peace
  • Mass arrest of people around area of violence and suspected perpetrators
  • Relief materials by NEMA
  • Federal government set up Lemu panel to investigate causes of violence, ascertain damage and make recommendations for prevention; released N7bn to pay compensation for victims in all affected states but those in Kaduna say yet to receive funds
  • State government set up Judicial Commission and released N20m to relocate IDPs
  • Civil society provided relief materials and have been doing peacebuilding work, including on inter-religious harmony and co-existence
  • Individuals provided cash and in kind assistance (Dangote provided N100m to assist)
    To some extent, response mitigated elongation and escalation of violence in affected communities and contained conflict from spreading to neighbouring states
  • However, root causes of conflict still not addressed and relief provided insufficient to meet needs

Key Political Developments Since 2011

  • Gov Yakowa died on 15th December 2012 (southern, Christian, ethnic minority)
  • Gov Yero from Zaria in Northern zone succeeded him to complete the term – some changes:
    – Change of State Council with new Commissioners selected by Gov Yero to replace those inherited from Gov Yakowa
    – Laurential Mallam (Christian, southern zone) replaced by Hadiza Mailafia (Muslim) as Minister of Environment
    – State leadership of PDP changed from Muslim to Christian due to change in Governorship with Haruna Gaya from Kachia LGA from the former party chair of Zaria
    – Gov appointed 7 new Perm Secretaries on Wednesday 15th October – most from Southern Zone (majority Christian) so possible appointed to gain more support from south
  • Merger of opposition party to form APC triggered mass exodus from PDP to APC
  • Increasing violence especially in southern Kaduna (border with Plateau) and Birnin Gwari, with lots of deaths
  • Cases of cattle rustling and rural banditry with community vigilante groups established in response
  • Alleged human rights abuses by military, for example the alleged shooting of Shiite members in
  • Zaria in July 2014 killing at least 30 people – affecting trust between security forces and communities and religious harmony
Name Position Elected/
Party Additional
Mukhtar Ramalan Yero State Governor 2012 PDP (1)
Nuhu Bajoga Deputy Governor 2012 PDP
Ahmed M. Makarfi Senator 2007 PDP
Sani Saleh Senator 2011 APC
Usman Senator 2011 PDP

Additional Information:
(1) Running For 2015 Governor

Elections in 2015

Key issues:

  • The emergence of yero as PDP and El-Rufai as APC candidates in the December primaries
  • Huge contest between major political parties.
  • Internal tensions within political parties
  • History of inter-communal (religious, ethnic, farming/ pastoralist) tension and violence
  • PDP vs APC with other parties not having much support
  • Inter and intra-party tension and contentions deepening, cases of defection and counter defections increasing two former Chairs of PDP (Rigachukun and Sirajo) recently led PDP members to APC
  • Disagreement within PDP as to adoption of GEJ as candidate for 2015 (A section of PDP leadership met in Kaduna and adopted GEJ as 2015 candidate; rejected by another section of the party)
    Unchallenged return to power for incumbent Gov Yero, who won the PDP nomination, is unlikely
  • Greater support for opposition APC in northern and central zones vs PDP stronghold of southern
  • Kaduna (contributed 80% of PDP vote in 2011)
  • Failure of government and security agencies to curb communal violence and attacks including reprisal attacks interpreted as weakness of incumbent administration, including by southern elites
  • Possibility of violence due to internal wrangling in APC
  • Vice President (Namadi Sambo) is from Kaduna and has keen interest in seeing PDP retain
  • Electoral violence can happen in all 18 LGAs where violence recorded in 2011 if preventative measures not taken, influenced by religious tensions and national PDP/ APC contestation over return of power to north/ retained by GEJ and south
  • Muslim IDPs displaced in 2011 suspected to be taking revenge in southern zone LGAs; may continue until 2015 elections
  • Clashes between pastoral and farming communities in some parts of southern Kaduna.
  • PDP seen as Christian party due to campaigning by GEJ in churches
  • Loss of senatorial seat by Esther Nenadi due to loss of confidence by the people in Danjuma Lar both from the southern zone and on the PDP ticket

Drivers of Conflict

  • 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 Buhari

Areas at Risk of Possible Election Violence:

Southern Kaduna and Kaduna city likely to be major flashpoints

Possible Types of Violence
Dimensions of violence: inter-party, intra-party, religious, ethnic – and combination


  • 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
  • Politically motivated 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


  • 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

  • Attack by Jama’atu Ahlu Sunna Lih Dawa’ati Wal Jihad (JAS), commonly known as Boko Haram
  • Impact vigilante groups established due to conflict over land and water may they have a history of youth militancy in Kaduna
  • Roles played by young people of large population of unemployed youth (led to curfew after August bomb when Buhari was in town)
  • Impact of Southern Kaduna violence in Plateau

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, [email protected].