The much anticipated 2023 general election is finally upon Nigerians, with less than 24 hours to go.
While security agencies have assured voters of adequate protection during the voting exercise, it is necessary for individuals to take personal measures in safeguarding themselves during this critical period.
Here are safety tips to note as the voters head to polling units on Saturday:
- Confirm polling units before election day
To avoid getting lost on election day, voters should physically visit their polling station before the polls open.
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.
- Avoid wearing political merchandise to polling booths
As Nigeria operates a secret ballot system, it is important that voters protect themselves by not publicly announcing the persons or parties they want to vote for at polling units.
To avoid unnecessary confrontation with political thugs and miscreants, going to polling units with plain clothes is the safest choice. Branded accessories should also be kept out of sight.
- Report unusual activities:
Another important safety measure voters can take during the voting exercises is to report any unusual activities to the appropriate authorities.
For this purpose, the Nigerian Army has provided emergency lines for voters to report any suspicious activity during the voting exercise.
Voters should not attempt to confront violent persons. They should seek refuge first, then contact security agents as soon as they can.
- Avoid bringing children to the polling units:
Because of the high stakes involved, it is critical to keep children safe during the elections.
Children should not be brought to polling units in case violence breaks out. Instead, families should make adequate babysitting arrangements ahead of election day.
- Avoid political arguments at polling booths:
Voters should go to polling units with one goal in mind: to cast their ballots and ensure that they are properly counted.
As campaign activities have been halted, it is inappropriate to engage in political discussions that could escalate into arguments or violence at polling units.