Nigeria’s general election has been marred by violence in several states, including the commercial capital of Lagos. The election took place on February 23, 2019, and was initially scheduled for February 16, but was postponed by a week at the last minute by the country’s electoral body citing logistical challenges. The presidential and parliamentary elections were hotly contested between the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
Reports indicate that violence erupted in several states across the country, including Lagos, Rivers, Kano, and Kwara. In Lagos, there were reports of sporadic violence in several parts of the city, including the Oshodi-Isolo, Lagos Island, and Alimosho areas. There were also reports of ballot box snatching, voter intimidation, and election irregularities. Videos of violence and unrest were widely circulated on social media, with some showing images of people running for their lives.
Reports also suggest that several people were killed in election-related violence in Rivers State, where the governor is alleged to have been involved in electoral malpractices. In Kwara State, there were reports of clashes between rival political parties, with at least six people losing their lives in the violence. There were also reports of ballot box snatching and arson attacks in the state.
Although electoral violence is not new in Nigeria, the scale and intensity of the violence that characterized the 2019 elections have raised concerns about the country’s democracy. Observers have condemned the violence, calling on the authorities to bring the perpetrators to book. Some have also highlighted the need for electoral reforms aimed at addressing the root causes of electoral violence and ensuring free, fair, and credible elections in the country.
In conclusion, the 2019 Nigerian general election was marred by violence and irregularities in various parts of the country, raising concerns about the credibility of the electoral process. While electoral violence is not new in Nigeria, the scale and intensity of the violence witnessed in the 2019 elections suggest that there is an urgent need for electoral reforms aimed at addressing the root causes of electoral violence and ensuring free, fair, and credible elections in the country. It is imperative that the authorities bring the perpetrators of electoral violence to book to serve as a deterrent to others and restore public confidence in the electoral process.