As the year winds down, the sad tales left behind by the different political killings as a result of the various elections held in 2015 will go down into history as that which shows there was little or no regard for human lives in some states of the federation.
Some states might have witnessed few or no killings, but some states had the highest political assassination which has made such states areas of high security concern for Nigerians in general.
This means that a lot of precautions should be taken to avoid incidents of political killings in subsequent election years.
On February 13, media outfits like Premium Times and NEWSDIARY reported that 58 people were killed in 22 states in pre-election violence, with certain states topping the list.
It should be noted that the number of people assassinated before, during and after the 2015 elections were under-reported by the media as a result of killings in some interior areas in some states.
The state is notorious for violence before, during and after election period. Before the governorship election which was held on Saturday, April 11, a journalist by the name Charles Eruka was fortunate he was not stabbed to death. He was stabbed on the neck after escaping rains of bullets during one of the major political parties’ campaign in Okrika local government area of the state.
The situation of Rivers got so worse that one of the newspapers learnt that 19 people were killed monthly in Rivers election violence.
Another angle to the reason why the state is one of the few states with the highest political assassination is the challenge of which cultists/cultism pose to the security of lives and properties in the state.
There was a time early this year where 2 Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) members namely, Ibima Olunta and Goodfellow Bobmanuel were shot dead at the same time and at the same spot by gunmen in Akuku-Toru local government area.
The state which is known as the food basket of the nation had its own share of political killings in 2015. It was even reported that the present governor of Benue, Samuel Ortom was fortunate he was not killed by assassins.
One of the newspapers’ reports before the election actually started on Saturday, March 28 had it that 5 people were killed.
Some of the people killed in the state during the electioneering process were also of the PDP extraction. They are: Atoza Ihindan, Agbatse Tarkighir and Dageh Ayaaehemba.
It is one of the hot spots of political killings in Nigeria. It is the home state of former president, Dr Goodluck Jonathan. According to reports, the ex-president himself was fortunate he was not killed in November of this year.
During the inconclusive governorship election of Saturday, December 5, Naij.com reporters who went to cover the election authoritatively confirmed that some people were killed and thrown into the river as a result of political discord between some of the front-line political parties.
The reporters confirmed also that several people were assassinated which they were privy to know as a result of information that got to them while they were in the state.
It was not just the news of Dr Goodluck Jonathan’s attempted assassination that appeared in the media. The sitting governor, Seriake Dickson likewise claimed he was fortunate not to have been killed by assailants.
4. Akwa Ibom
The South South state is notorious for political violence. According to a report by Peace and Security Working Group in January 15 of this year, Eket, Esit Eket, Oron, Ini, Uyo, Ikot Abasi, Nsit Ubium, Ibiono, Itu and Uruan were among the local government areas with high risk of election violence.
Apart from political killings witnessed in these LGAs, hijacking of ballot boxes, abduction and kidnapping were among the violence recorded there.
The North Central state has a challenge of ethnic and tribal violence. These challenges also mix with political issues to escalate violence in election periods. Some top politicians were killed in Jos East local government area and other parts of the state.
Some election watchers in the state alleged that both the immediate past and present governors of the state had knowledge of the political killings that occurred in the state in 2015.
Political discord about the choice of political candidate was majorly the cause of political assassination in the state. Although, there were conflicting reports that a few people were killed in the year, some people believe that the actual figure of people assassinated was less than 5.
The Centre of Excellence is among the states with the highest political assassination in Nigeria. Apart from Shalewa Daramola’s political death in Festac Town which was reported on July 17, some people also were killed in Ojota and other areas of the state during the elections in the year. While reports had it that there were 11 incidences, the actual number of people killed was not confirmed.
When the states with political killings were enumerated, some people focused only on killings on election days. However in Taraba, Daily Trust newspaper of February 4 had it that, “4 Killed In Taraba Political Clashes.” If this figure is added to the ones recorded as a result of the March 28 and April 11 elections, the figure would be more than 10.
The assassination of the PDP Youth leader, Saidu Abdullahi was made known to the public in November. Some people outside the state may think that Kaduna recorded few or no political killings apart from that of Saidu Abdullahi in 2015. However, this is far from the truth. Reports had it that at least 9 people were killed as a result of political-related circumstances before the presidential election of Saturday, March 28.
If it is possible to sum up all the people killed this year alone, Kaduna state might come immediately behind Rivers state in terms of political assassination.
The North West state used to be one of the most serene states in Nigeria before the elections of 2015. In the whole of the North West this year, after Kaduna comes Kebbi in terms of political killings.
Vanguard newspaper of April 12 learnt that at least 4 people were killed in election related matters during the governorship election of Saturday, April 11. This is not inclusive of those people killed during the presidential election of Saturday, March 28.