Nigeria’s 2019 Elections: Six States to Watch

President Buhari has pledged that the vote will be free and fair, and all the major parties, on 11 and 12 December, signed a new accord sponsored by the eminent citizens’ group, National Peace Committee, committing to peaceful campaigns and respect for the results. But there is no guarantee that the parties and their supporters will respect this accord across the country, especially in areas where the vote suffers significant logistical deficiencies or is won with narrow margins. Civil society, research and other organisations have identified risks of violence in most of the country’s 36 states. For instance, on 29 November, the Civil Society Joint Action Committee, a coalition of civil society groups, warned of likely disturbances in twenty states.10 That said, while problems are possible almost nationwide, concerns appear particularly high in six states, namely Rivers, Akwa Ibom, Kaduna, Kano, Plateau and Adamawa. This report looks closely at those concerns, laying out the risk factors specific to each of the six states. It offers recommendations to both the Nigerian government and its foreign partners for mitigating the risks, both in especially conflict-prone states and nationwide. It is based on dozens of interviews with Nigerian officials, national and local-level politicians, election monitors, diplomats, scholars and civil society leaders.