The much-awaited 2023 general election has been conducted.
Many have also touted this year’s election as the most pivotal in Nigeria’s history–even more pivotal than the 2015 polls.
From experience, citizens have come to expect violent uprisings and security risks in general during this period. While the 2019 elections were largely peaceful, the stakes are higher this year as a new era beckons.
Regardless of one’s political affiliation, safety is paramount and no resident should take precautionary measures with levity.
Here are a few tips that would prove crucial in this decisive and uncertain period
1. Read the Room
One must be fully conscious and discerning of any environment, offline and online alike. It is advisable to avoid political arguments in public buses, newspaper stands, queues, and other public spaces.
While it may be tempting to disclose one’s political affiliation, it should be limited to safe spaces of close, trusted associates. In local parlance, shine your eyes.
2. Be Discerning of Security Alerts on Social Media
It is common to find a social media post warning people about a security risk. This could be a fire outbreak, a riot, or some other serious incident.
While these posts often turn out to be true, one must verify such posts before circulating the news. Misinformation is no stranger to elections. As such, one must ensure that they do not put themselves or others at risk.
3. Avoid Oversharing, Especially on Social Media
Identifiable information is more valuable than ever. Residents must not be quick to disclose their location in social media posts, especially when there is a political atmosphere.
In addition, seemingly unrelated pieces of personal information can be pooled together to yield valuable insight into a target. One must withhold as much personal or sensitive information as possible on social media.
4. Minimise Displays of Political Party Symbols
Even without saying a word, one can self-sabotage by moving around with a face cap or T-shirt with a political party logo. It is practically impossible to excise this from any Nigerian election campaign. However, these displays should be minimised as much as possible to ensure that one does not become a target.
5. Share Locations
Location sharing is more synonymous with women, who are at more risk of attacks in general. However, this election period demands that all persons share their locations with at least one person—especially when they attend rallies.
Even where you fail to share your location, it is crucial to let at least one person know your whereabouts.