Police and Army reinforcements are being moved into two western Nigerian states to counter a wave of violence that has followed disputed gubernatorial elections and claimed more than 80 lives.
President Shehu Shagari's federal government so far has relied on the police to quell the disturbances. But government sources in this northern capital say Shagari will not hesitate to declare a state of emergency and use the Army if the situation worsens.
In marked contrast to the peaceful conduct of the presidential elections two weeks ago that gave Shagari a second four-year term, many of the gubernatorial elections have been accompanied by bitter controversy and sporadic violence.
The worst violence erupted a week ago in the states of Oyo and Ondo, in the Yoruba-populated west, after incumbent governors were defeated by challengers belonging to Shagari's party, which has triumphed in 13 of the 19 state elections. The defeated governors charged that there had been massive rigging and intimidation, and their supporters took the battle to the streets, with a wave of arson and killing.
The north, unexpectedly, has been relatively quiet, with a calculated show of force by the mobile police in the big cities of Kano and Kaduna and troops guarding key buildings.
Besides Oyo and Ondo, another tense area has been Anambra, one of the two Ibo-dominated eastern states, where an an incumbent also was unseated by a Shagari loyalist.
So far, however, Anambra has remained calm, with the governor stressing that he will contest the result through legal means.
Bola Ige, the incumbent governor of Oyo, has taken a much tougher line. Before the election results were announced he warned that if a "false result" were given his opponents would read about it "from another world." He since has refused to leave the governor's mansion.
The federal government has threatened to rescind the radio and television licenses of the Oyo and Ondo state governments and close their stations if they continue to incite their supporters.
Chief Obafemi Awolowo, the Yoruba leader to whose party the defeated Oyo and Ondo governors belong, has appealed to his followers to refrain from violence but has called the gubernatorial results "worse than daylight robbery."
"The Yoruba follow Awolowo at the national level," said Dan Agbese, editor of the New Nigeria newspaper here, "but invariably quarrel, often violently, in local politics."
The rival contenders in both Oyo and Ondo were all once members of Awolowo's party. But in each state, political analysts note, several leading figures have broken away and joined Shagari's party, which has seized upon these local differences to extend its power into an important opposition-held area.