In Nigeria, going down memory lane, elections have always been chaotic, and there has been a number of recorded violence, loss of lives, manipulations, intimidation and other forms of irregularities.
It is well known that security agencies always make endless promises to keep polling units safe and peaceful but it hasn’t proven to be enough or reliable yet.
In view of the recently held presidential election, there were several reports on violence recorded that had some people disenfranchised at their polling unit in different part of the country.
This article focuses on safety measures to adhere to in the forth coming gubernatorial election.
Know Your Polling Unit
Those who voted during the presidential election are exempted from this as they already know where their polling unit is, which remains the same unless if stated otherwise by INEC in the next few days.
For the people who didn’t vote during the presidential election, be sure to know where the polling unit is before the set day for proper preparation and safety because automobile movements are restricted on election days and through the time slated for the process.
Arrive on time at your polling unit so as to give you an edge over late comers. All things being equal, you’ll cast your vote on time to avoid overcrowding or long queue.
At units were INEC staffs arrive late, numbers can be allocated to voters on a first come first serve basis to put things orderly.
Do not campaign or show off any political party/candidate
It is expected of you to have made your decision on who to vote prior to the day of election and if by any chance you decided to change your mind about your preferred candidate, be sure to keep it to yourself on election day most especially at the polling unit.
Also, don’t wear or carry anything that identifies your preferred candidate or party. This is highly prohibited and punishable.
Be moderate and orderly
The process might take longer than expected to commence and things might not go as planned and this might in one way or the other frustrate or make you lose your mind.
Regardless, stay calm, and look for areas you can be of help without going against electoral rules. Wear comfortable clothes that can endure any form of weather or situation as nothing is predictable.
Be health conscious
You can get yourself a bottle of water to keep you hydrated for as long as possible. Also get food, fruits or snack packs for strength and energy.
In addition, wear sun shades, a face cap, nose mask and other precausive costumes to be on a safe side of health deficiencies. Also, watch out for others and you can come along with a first and box if you have any, for the sake of emergences
Be security alert
Riot or ballot box snatching can happen at any point in time during the process, be sure to be alert and look for a safe way out of any form of danger in view.
Raise alarm, be defensive if need be, but do not be the cause of any form of violence or abuse.
Keep records and stay updated
If you’re a media personel or enthusiats, you can put your mobile devices to good use by capturing activities as it unfolds at your polling unit.
Also, stay updated online to be sure of what’s happening at nearby polling units. Be sure not to invade people’s privacy or inconvenient anyone while you’re going about this, because not everyone enjoys to be the face of the media.
Avoid unnecessary arguments
For as much as democracy stands, everyone is entitled to their choice of candidate and whoever they choose to vote for. Do not argue, fight, challenge or confront anyone for their preferred choice. Your choice of candidate doesn’t make you a better citizen than others, everyone has equal rights.
All these precautions listed above are just guides to maintain a peaceful, safe and enjoyable environment for election.
In cases where the particular community is known for chaos and rioting during an election period, try to be on the watch out for security agencies from a distance, observe how things are unfolds, move discreetly and be sure it’s safe enough for you or any other well-meaning citizens before going all out to cast your vote, else just stay put or go back home.