BY THE FUND FOR PEACE
Following the party primaries in late 2014, political jockeying has continued between and among parties. The postponement of the elections originally slated for February 14, due to insecurity in the Northeast, appears to have raised the level of uncertainty. In some states, gangs and cult groups have taken sides. In others, political rallies have escalated to violence. Even issues not directly election-related such as communal tensions and criminality have been affected. Logistical challenges around the distribution of Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs) have further complicated matters. Unlike previous cycles, this election looks to be a real contest between the ruling party and the opposition, which has raised the stakes considerably, particularly in states like Rivers and Edo.
At the presidential level, the contest is between a candidate from the Niger Delta and one from the North. However it would be a mistake to assume that the Niger Delta region is monolithic in its support of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), particularly at the state level. While the severity of election violence may ultimately vary depending on who wins the federal election, in the Niger Delta it is perhaps more important for stakeholders to focus their conflict mitigation efforts around the state and local elections. These will occur two weeks later, with their results in many ways more directly salient for local constituents. This memo captures the latest trends in the nine states, including the dynamics particular to each.