– Radar reporter collaboration
With the Nigerian elections delayed, Radar reporters find out what the atmosphere is like in communities across the Niger Delta.
The official reason given for the delay is the worsening security situation in the North-East of the country where Islamic Extremist faction, Boko Haram, operates and the subsequent lack of a guarantee by the military to secure the poll. Radar reports on the ground have offered mixed reactions to the announcement, with some regions accepting the postponement peacefully and others evidencing their protestation of the decision.
“Tension is almost palpable”
Flora Asieri reporting from Nembe City stated, the “tension is almost palpable. It is obvious that youths as usual will be brainwashed into selling their votes or causing pockets of violence in some places. At recent marches, youths have strolled through streets, chanting war songs, storming through the street, banging on cars both parked and those on traffic, chanting slogans such as “Wike and PDP all the way, APC shift or die”.
Best Uso from Omoku town in Rivers states reports that for the past two to three months now, there has been “war” between the APC and PDP in her community. The fight has resulted in several killings and the loss of properties. APC will buy arms and give to the youth for violence, the same is true for the PDP too.
Rivers State is in a very big mess
– Best Uso
Glaad Amadi reports that according to the viewers, there was sporadic shooting and destruction of property by PDP at the venue of APC campaign ground in Okrika Rivers State. Glaad continued, I spoke to a taxi driver who said, “APC are buying those with original voter cards with ten thousand Naira. According to a taxi driver who belongs to the APC, his taxi will be loaded with weapons (guns) and failure to vote for APC will warrant mass burial. All of this is happening in Port Hartcourt, Rivers State.”
Communities remain optimistic for peace
Everything is going fine, for now there is no violence, no trouble in my community. we are taking our voters cards one by one preparing for the elections
– Tamunokobie Promise
Though there is evidence of violent outbreaks across Delta State, many residents and reporters choose to remain optimist that peace will prevail.
Flora Asieri interviewed Mr James Inatimi, a very active PDP member, shortly after the Labour Party campaign in Nembe City. On the prospect of peace in the forthcoming general election in Nembe, Inatimi said that he believes that “there will be no violence before or during the elections”. He fears for the aftermath, yet he is positive that it will all end in peace.
Nimiteinbofa Bokolo reports that “unlike other elections in the past, this one poses no threat, no rumours of crisis from neighbouring communities and the ground in Nembe City is free for any party activities and Bayelsa State at large is more peaceful and will be more peaceful than all other years of election.” This is supported by Awotongha Gbaligha who states that; “really it does not make or review any conflict threat in my community or state for now”. Similarly, Collins Neuwumi has reported that there are no signs of conflict in his region of Warri North.
Strategies for avoiding conflict
Nkaiso Akpan offers a unique take on attempts to prevent conflict. “The Rumuagholu community is a community under the ObioAkpor Local Government Area of Rivers State. In my community (Rumuagholu), the people divided themselves into the 2 factions (APC &PDP). They are not, however, supporting one candidate only but the two political gladiators. They do this to avoid losing out during and after the elections. There is peace in the community.