KONFRONTASI-A fear of violence has gripped many in Nigeria days before the presidential and legislative elections on February 16 with at least five deaths reported so far in pre-poll clashes.
On Sunday, five members of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) were shot and killed near the oil city of Warri in southeast Nigeria, with authorities calling it a revenge attack by people suspected to be from the opposition.
Clashes between APC supporters and rival contenders from the People's Democratic Party (PDP) have been reported from various places in Africa's largest democracy.
Nigeria has a history of election violence, with analysts warning that the forthcoming vote might be one of the bloodiest in the country's history.
In 2011, election violence claimed nearly 1,000 lives in the country's north following the defeat of Muhammad Buhari by former President Goodluck Jonathan.
The presidential contest will see incumbent Buhari seek to win a second four-year term against former vice president Atiku Abubakar in what is expected to be a close race.
'No different from previous polls'
"Nigerian elections have often been characterised by violence and with political tensions now further aggravated by current conflicts and deepening insecurity, there are fears that this election would be no different from the ones in the past," Nnamdi Obasi, International Crisis Group's senior Nigeria researcher, told Al Jazeera.
"The intensely acrimonious exchanges between the two major political parties have already resulted in many clashes, risking further violence during and after the polls," Obasi said.
The election campaign has been dominated by politicians accusing their rivals of inciting violence.
"The highly desperate and increasingly intolerant dispositions of both the parties signal fierce disputes over results, with protests possibly leading to further violence," said Obasi.
A key ally of Buhari and governor of the northern state of Kaduna, Nasir El Rufai, recently warned the Nigerians abroad to not intervene in the elections.
"We are waiting for the person who will come and intervene. They will go back in body bags because nobody will come to Nigeria and tell us how to run our country," said El-Rufai.
El Rufai's comments drew criticism from international organisations and the opposition, heightening tensions further.
Two top officials of the PDP in Kaduna have also been arrested by security officials after they made provocative comments in their campaign rallies.
Security analyst Don Okereke told Al Jazeera that election violence will not go away soon.
"In 2015, nearly 58 Nigerians lost their lives in pre-election violence. This is a result of the do-or-die brand of politics played in Nigeria," Okereke said.