Critical Look At The 28th of March Presidential Election By CIEPDCWC (Part two)

15 March 2016 by Election Reports 274 Views
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As the days for the state election draws closer, we should begin to intensively look at the different scenarios that might play out with a view of pre-empting

the violence situation that might occur. Although the election has been described as being comparatively peaceful, with the number of protests and allegations one will not be quick to say it was free and fair.

Opinions are divided on how violent the situation would be. CIEPD as usual is drawing from CWC incidence reports and the analyses of feedback observers at their meeting, wishes to look at the different scenarios:
Apart from the victory of APC at the just concluded presidential poll, the conceding of defeat by His Excellency President Goodluck Jonathan and the spirit of statesmanship (as describe by many) will brought in new dimension to the state election on the 11th of April.
1. The new wave of defection across the nation without exception to South-South and South-East States. Bayelsa State is about the only state that has not had a fair share of this wave. Some have described it as a season of mass defection. In Rivers State to be precise, media has reported the defection of 10,000 PDP to APC.
2. During the last concluded presidential poll, in places like Buguma, witnesses citied instances where “soldiers” escorted perpetrators of violence. One major instance citied was the presence of soldiers seen escorting armed youth in front of caretaker committee of Asari-Toru Local Government Area. It was also alleged that the Para-military forces aided the house arrest of APC members on the eve and on the day of election.

With the wave of defection, the power structures of the political parties are also changing. This might changed the dynamic of participation, voting and electoral violence in the state- with emphasis on Rivers State. The electoral violence may not play out as anticipated. Apart from the shift in the resource of violence (political thugs etc) there is also the shift of allegiance by the soldiers and Para-military who have been largely accused of aiding most of the violence recorded. Although we have not heard much from “soldiers” but the police and the NCDSC have been making frantic effort of re-assuring the public of their neutrality and their readiness to perform their legitimate roles and responsibilities. The tendency for the table to be turned on allegations of alleged incidences by one party against the other is real.

The PDP gubernatorial aspirant drew a whole lot of empathy from the center in term of support, now that the center is no longer “holding” the tendency of losing the empathy is there. People might no longer support the candidates on party lines but with other parameters. No wonder upland/riverine politics which have slowed down a bit is now heightened.

With this situation, the soldiers and Para military do not have much option than to abide by their roles and responsibilities. This will invariably diminish the resource violence in Rivers State.

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CIEPD

The Conflict Watch Center (CWC) is an intervention of the Community Initiative for Enhanced Peace and Development designed to identify, track and report on conflict early warning signs in the Niger Delta.

Website: www.ciepdcwc.org

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