Elections are a critical component of any democratic system, allowing citizens to exercise their right to vote and shape the direction of their country.
As the general elections draw near in Nigeria, it’s natural to be worried about the safety of yourself and your loved ones.
Unfortunately, election periods in Nigeria are often accompanied by violence, curfews, and political assassinations. With the upcoming presidential, parliamentary, and state governorship elections set to take place on February 25th and March 11th, 2023, tensions are running high, and there is a growing apprehension regarding the possibility of violence during this year’s election.
To ensure a safe and secure election, we’ve compiled some essential election safety tips that you should keep in mind.
1. Ensure you’re home before dark
During the election period, it’s crucial to complete all your tasks before nightfall. You should plan to return home before 6 pm and avoid attending any events, meetings, or religious programs that may keep you out late. In some areas, curfews may be enforced, so it’s vital not to stay out late.
2. Stay away from volatile areas
If you’re not from an area prone to violence during elections, it’s best to avoid such places. Instead, relocate to somewhere familiar and safe.
3. Refrain from political arguments in public
If you’re a member of a particular political party and find yourself in an argument with supporters of another party in public, it’s best not to engage. Political arguments in public places can easily turn violent, and you could become a target.
4. Avoid large crowds or gatherings
It’s essential to steer clear of undefined large crowds or gatherings of people during this time. If you see a large crowd approaching, move to another lane. Avoid groups that enjoy discussing political issues and engaging in public arguments.
5. Keep up with the news
Staying informed about new developments during this period is an excellent way to remain security conscious. Regularly listen to the news via your phone, radio, or TV to stay up to date with any changes, such as curfew announcements.
6. Carry sufficient cash
Prior to the election, it’s advisable to withdraw enough cash and keep it with you in case the ATMs nearby aren’t working. This will save you the hassle of traveling far to withdraw money and make necessary purchases.
7. Stock up on food supplies
Ensure that you have at least a week’s worth of food and water stored in case markets and stores remain closed or inaccessible. It’s best to choose non-perishable food items, vegetables, and healthy fruits. You can prepare and store food in the refrigerator to avoid frequent market visits.
8. Store sufficient fuel
Make sure that your car and generator have enough fuel to last for several days. In case of any emergencies, it’s essential to have a backup plan. As there may be power outages, it’s crucial to have enough fuel for your generator.
9. Get to know your local security groups
Familiarize yourself with the local security groups in your area and keep their contact information handy. Get to know a few people in the vigilante and police stations near you in case you require their assistance.
10. Return home after voting
After casting your vote, it’s advisable to head straight home. Avoid staying behind to discuss political matters, reveal your vote, or engage in any additional activities.
11. Avoid wearing campaign clothing
To avoid being a target of opposition parties, it’s advisable to refrain from wearing campaign clothing, such as caps, wristbands, shirts, and stickers.
12. Keep medical contacts accessible
During the election period, it’s wise to have the contact information of medical professionals on hand for quick access to medical advice if necessary.
13. Ensure that your properties are safe
If you have valuable items in your shop, it’s recommended to keep them at home with you. Additionally, to ensure the safety of your vehicles, it’s best to park them within the confines of your compound, away from public roads.
14. Maintain communication with family and friends
Stay connected with your loved ones by keeping your phone lines open and checking in on them frequently to offer assistance if needed.
15. Celebrate victories peacefully
In the event that your preferred candidate wins the election, celebrate your victory in a peaceful and respectful manner. Refrain from damaging property or engaging in any disruptive behavior.
It is crucial to prioritize your safety during election periods. The excitement and tension that come with the election can create a volatile environment, and it’s important to stay alert and informed. By following the election safety tips discussed in this article, you can mitigate risks and protect yourself, your loved ones, and your property.