It doesn’t take much to notice the obvious. Election season is fully upon us. Even if you’ve been a hermit, or away from the digital world of information, you would still have seen the onslaught of posters on our roads in recent times. Different candidates trying to look picture perfect and sell you a vision of what Nigeria would be if you put the power in their hands.
From social media to TV, to posters to blow up balloons *sigh* our candidates for the 2019 election are fully in our faces. But that is not where it ends. The truth is, election season and the actual voting day can be a period of unrest or heightened sensitivity, especially in a country like Nigeria with its history of violence. It’s best to stay conscious. Like they say, to be forewarned is to be forearmed.
Here are a few ways you can stay safe and vigilant this election season and on the actual day of voting.
Have an election kit
First, just in case you didn’t know, or you miraculously forgot (I say miraculously because the buzz around this election, would make it hard to), Election Day is February 16th. There is no moving the day, except to allow citizens to go to their nearest polling station to vote. It will most likely be a very long and trying day. I advise you to have a bottle of water or an energy drink, some snacks and some painkillers (please don’t swallow your painkillers using your energy drink). Also dress appropriately, wear comfortable shoes and a face cap and sunglasses or have an umbrella at hand to act as a shade from the sun. And one last thing, carry a massive bag of patience. 🙂
Stay up to date on current affairs and the happenings leading up to the election. Social media can be your go-to source for this or you can listen to local radio and TV stations regularly. We advise that you make a habit of doing this before leaving your house in the mornings, just to be in the know on what’s happening along your daily commute to work. Keep your family and friends/community in the loop as well. Share security updates with them and any general info you have. Their safety is as important as yours.
Be aware and vigilant
Be aware of your surroundings, don’t be aloof. Stay informed of the areas that are commonly used to hold political rallies and avoid them if you can, especially when a rally is going on, just to be safe. We may not feel like the police is our friend here in Nigeria, but this is a good time to know where your local police stations are. Another important thing to take note of, if the state you live in has one, is your state emergency number. We may be sceptical about whether these things work or not but to be on the safe side, it’s advisable to have these phone numbers on hand.
Despite these warnings, I believe we’re all praying for a peaceful election season, regardless of the outcomes. So, this is not a call to panic, but a reminder to be prepared.
Do you guys have any other safety recommendations for this period? Please share in the comment section.