As you plan to exercise your civic responsibility as a Nigerian at tomorrow’s election to elect governors and members of House of Assemblies for various states in the country, one thing you must take note of is the fact the election should not lead to your death or warrant you to be a partaker of violence in any form or magnitude.
It is apparent that voters’ apathy, as a result of the violence experienced during the Presidential and National Assembly election, would affect the number of voters’ turn out for the March 9 election. However, must patriot Nigerians would not allow violence perpetrated by desperate politicians to debar them from participating in the election that would afford them the opportunity to choose their state’s leaders who will serve them for the next four years.
Station Magazine understands that about 50 persons lost their lives to election violence during the course of the February 23rd Presidential and National Assembly election. This number does not account for the death of hundreds of people who have been killed during the build of the Nigerian general election.
Even though the federal government and some state governments have reiterated their commitment to ensuring security for Nigerians as they exercise their obligation tomorrow, there is the need to take precaution to ensure that you do not end up a victim of election violence.
Since we have no choice but to file out to vote tomorrow, as genuine members of the Nigerian society, here are some security tips to ensure that you exercise your duties, and most importantly get back home in one piece.
- Don’t Argue About Your Choice of Candidate: One thing to avoid when you queue to cast your vote is arguments for or against any candidate or political parties. Because of the volatile nature of the polity at that moment is advisable to abuse of praise any political party. You do not want to be the first person thugs of a losing party or candidate would descent on when they realize that the result might not be going to their favour.
- Don’t Try To Be a Hero: Since you are not the security personnel on duty it is important you do try to do the job of security operatives. Do not try to apprehend an electoral offender or anybody trying to disrupt the conduct of the election. Do not confront thugs or ballot box snatchers. All you can do at that moment is to call in security personnel to do their job.
- Take A Quick Survey of Polling Area: It is important you survey the polling area immediately you get there to see if there anything that calls for concern. For instance, you see some strange folks who you think have sinister tendencies, keep your eye on them. Also, make you find an exit point from the area if there is any need to escape during violence attack.
- Be Vigilant: Vigilance is key. You need to realise that you are your own security personnel. There is too little security operatives can do, especially when you consider the fact that they are not adequate enough to man all polling unit.
- Have emergency numbers of security operatives: Ensure that you have emergency numbers of the Independent National Electoral Commission, the police and other security agency to intimate them with any disruption or violence during the electoral process.
- Get to Polling Unit Early: It is important you get to your polling unit early so you can cast your vote and leave, not for your home, but to a distance where you can watch the process unfold. While, you must not leave your polling unit until the ballot has been counted and result declared, you must leave the immediate environment for a save distance. This will ensure that you are not a victim when violence attack occurs.
- Use Election Monitoring App To Report Violence: Most political parties, Non-governmental Organisation, election observer groups and in fact the electoral body, INEC have created mobile applications that would help electorate report events as they unfold in their polling unit. It will be wise to have one or more of these apps to ease reporting cases of violence while they happen. However, it is important to be careful as you go about it.