As Edo State prepares for the gubernatorial election scheduled for September 10, 2016, the political atmosphere of the state is already charged ahead of the election that promises to be one of the most keenly contested in the history of the state. The tense political temperature is further heightened by the inflammatory utterances of the major candidates as well as reported cases of attacks and counter-attacks on their campaign convoys. In this analysis, the risk factors that may threaten public peace and security during and immediately after the election are examined as well how they can be checked or de-escalated. The preparations by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and security agencies are highlighted as well as recommendations on how to ensure a free, free and conclusive election in Edo State.
A BRIEF HISTORY OF EDO STATE
Edo State was created on August 27, 1991 when the military government led by General Ibrahim Babangida divided the former Bendel State into two separate states namely Edo and Delta states. Edo State occupies a land area of about 17,802 square kilometers and has a population of about four million with a density of 168 persons per square kilometre. The ancient Benin City is the capital of the state. Edo State shares borders with three other states – Ondo State to the west; Delta State to the south and east; and Kogi to the north.
This strategic location of the state has over the years attracted a large migrant population from other regions of Nigeria. The state has three senatorial districts (Edo South, Edo Central and Edo North); nine Federal House of Representative seats; and 24 House of Assembly seats. Of the three senatorial districts, Edo South has the largest populations (57.54 per cent) spread across seven local government areas (LGAs); followed by Edo North which has 25 per cent of the populations spread across six LGAs; and finally Edo Central Senatorial District which constitutes 17.14 per cent of the populations of the state and occupy five LGAs. read more