As we approach the general elections, Corp Members are high valuable assets to the success of the election, as almost every serving Corp Member would participate as electoral officers.
However, it’s pertinent for Corp Members to adhere strictly to some basic personal election security tips, as our nation is no longer safe for any individual not even the security officers, as in the case where the ‘Ombatse’ cult group killed 10 DSS and over 80 police officers in Nasarawa, and all we heard was the DSS Director General saying the DSS has handed the cult group to the Almighty God for vengeance.
This simply tells you that in Nigeria, that after God, you are responsible for you own security.
Therefore, the follows tips are necessary for you to take note of.
1. Most Electoral Violence Happens After The Election.
In the history of Nigerian elections, most violent acts would always come up after results have been declared in favour of a particular candidate. Therefore be prepared for what would happen after the results would have been announced.
2. Don’t Go Home After The Election.
This may sound odd, but it’s necessary you do not go home, especially if you are serving in one of the states which are prone to violence. Most Corp members who were killed during the 2011 electoral violence were in the vicinity of their houses when the unfortunate incident happened.
The safest place to stay after the elections is the local government which always serves as the collating centre, therefore there would be high concentration of armed security men at these collation centres.
Also, prepare a small package of your basic toiletries, clothes and adequate cash that would last you for 3 days or more to stay in or around the Local Government office. If you are serving in a less developed state, it’s important you take this very seriously. Also remember other traditional secure point the NYSC would have given you as safe houses/places.
3. Study Your Local Government/State Of Deployment.
Have a fore knowledge of the history of pre and post electoral violence in the Local Government and State you are deployed to.
The northern region is notoriously known for post-electoral violence, but the same might be witnessed in the South-South region this time around. States to watch out for are all the 19 Northern States, and others especially Kano, Lagos, Rivers, Ogun and Imo.
4. Watchout For The Gubernatorial Election.
Although attention seems to be on the Presidential Election, it’s however pertinent for you to take precautionary actions to protect yourself during the gubernatorial elections also, because local politicians are always more concerned about the governorship election than the national one.
5. Protect The Election Process But Not Foolishly.
Although at least a security personnel would be at every polling unit, so as to ensure the smooth running of the electioneering process, this would not stop troublesome party members from fomenting trouble based on issues they feel aggrieved about.
However, as a possible presiding officer of your Polling Unit, it’s important you perform your duties justly. If violence would occur in your Polling Unit, stand aside, watch and be ready to move away if the security agencies cannot control the situation.
6. Address Party Agents And Eligible Voters At Your Polling Unit.
On your arrival at your polling unit, it’s important you talk to the party agents, and tell them you need their support for the process to run smoothly.
Also address eligible voters in a respectful manner on how the process would go, what you require of them, and tell them your desire to ensure that Nigerians have a free and fair election. While addressing the voters, make use of the words ‘daddy and mummy’ as this would strike their conscience to emotionally cooperate with you.
Finally, do remember that security tips are no way exhaustive, therefore, be on the guard always as you serve our fatherland. God will keep you safe.