As Nigeria gears up for the gubernatorial and state house of assembly elections, citizens are urged to take precautions to ensure their safety during the electoral process.
The recent spike in the number of violent attacks at campaign rallies and other places has heightened concerns among prospective voters.
In a viral video on Twitter, Musiliu Akinsanya, a.k.a. MC Oluomo was seen giving instructions to his henchmen to disenfranchise voters in Lagos in favour of the ruling party.
He said in Pidgin English, “We have begged them, it is not a fight if they did not vote for us. Iya Chukwudi, if you no wan vote for us, please sit down for home oo. We don’t want your vote.”
Following previous elections that have been marred by violence, it is important for citizens to be aware of the risks and to take steps to protect themselves and their communities.
Safety measures before the election
According to the Global Interagency Security Forum, here are safety tips to note as the voters head to polling units on Saturday.
One of the key things that citizens can do is to stay informed about the election process. This means following reliable news sources and staying up-to-date with the latest developments.
Confirm polling units before election day, to avoid getting lost on election day. Alternatively, the Independent Electoral Commission has provided a polling unit locator on its website, which provides approximate location details for each polling unit across the country.
It is important to note that vehicular movements are prohibited on election day. Thus, voters are advised to find a convenient place to lodge if their residence is far from their polling unit.
Citizens should be prepared for any eventuality during the election period. This means having emergency numbers on hand, stocking up on essential supplies, and making contingency plans in case of any disruption to daily life. It is important to stay safe and to look out for one another during this crucial period for Nigeria.
It is also important to familiarize oneself with the electoral laws and regulations and to know what to do in case of any violations.
Safety measures when at the polling unit
Do not announce your choice of candidate(s) to avoid unnecessary arguments that might lead to chaos. It is a secret ballot.
Avoid political discussions at the election venue, especially regarding the elections and candidates, to avoid clashes of interest.
On election day, the voters should avoid moving from one polling unit to another. Get to your polling unit as early as possible and cast your vote and either stay aside and wait for the result.
You can go back home and wait for the INEC results, or you can stay aside and avoid unnecessary arguments because an election is a very heated period.
Safety measure in case of violence
Another important step is to avoid getting involved in any form of violence or agitation during the election period. It is important to remember that violence only leads to more violence, and can harm innocent people. If you witness any form of violence or intimidation, report it immediately to the appropriate authorities.
Report immediately and directly to INEC, security agencies or the media if any abnormality is noticed.
For this purpose, an emergency line for voters has been created to report any suspicious activity, If you notice anything wrong, report it by calling 070-06-66-22-22 or texting 081-66-66-22-22.
Staying safe during an election in Nigeria requires a combination of vigilance, awareness, and preparedness. By following these guidelines, citizens can play their part in ensuring a peaceful and successful election process.
Citizens are also encouraged to participate in the election process by casting their votes. Voting is a right and a responsibility, and it is important for citizens to exercise this right in order to have a say in the future of their country. It is important to follow the guidelines for voting and to ensure that your vote is counted.