With barely three weeks to the Presidential and National Assembly elections scheduled for February 14, and just over a month to the Governorship and State Houses of Assembly elections on February 28, it is imperative to remind personnel to be cautious in the days leading to the election, on election days, and the period immediately after the elections. While it is our civic responsibility to engage in electioneering events and cast our votes towards determining our leaders, we are primarily responsible for our personal security and should ensure we consider it above everything else.
The political environment across the country is currently awash with campaigns and we anticipate the tempo of these events to peak in the coming days. In the last two weeks, we have seen dispersed attacks against offices of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), burning of secretariats and campaign assets of some political parties, clashes between supporters of rival parties and even the stoning of a presidential convoy. These events highlight the escalating political tension across the country and underscore the fact that overzealous party supporters will often act with impunity and without regard to counsel from their party leadership.
Bearing all these in mind, the following tips may help to reduce our exposures:
Before the elections:
Â·Â Â Â Â Â Ensure you are registered with INEC, collect your Permanent Voters Card (PVC) and locate the ward where you are expected to vote.
Â·Â Â Â Â Â Familiarize yourself with the voting schedule and keep a close tab on political events with possible security implications around your area.
Â·Â Â Â Â Â Avoid heated political debates or discussions as these could easily turn violent.
On election days:
Â·Â Â Â Â Â Ensure you carry along your PVC before departing your home.
Â·Â Â Â Â Â Wear light clothing, comfortable shoes and plan to arrive at your voting ward early. Remember that there will be vehicular movement restrictions and you may have to walk for long distances.
Â·Â Â Â Â Â Do not take children along to the polling booth.
Â·Â Â Â Â Â Take along with you light refreshments and other basic things that will make you comfortable during the exercise.
Â·Â Â Â Â Â Avoid wearing clothing or carrying items with company or political insignia which may give you unwanted attention. Also, avoid wearing heavy jewelries and items with ornamental value.
Â·Â Â Â Â Â Consider going to your ward in groups or with people you are familiar with.
Â·Â Â Â Â Â Avoid engaging in political discussions at the centers and consider departing as soon as you are done casting your vote.
Â·Â Â Â Â Â Monitor local media and other sources for regular updates of the security situation.
Â·Â Â Â Â Â In the event that hoodlums invade the polling unit or attempt to snatch ballot boxes, leave the vicinity immediately.
After the elections:
Â·Â Â Â Â Â Keep your PVC safe
Â·Â Â Â Â Â Monitor election results on local media and other sources.
Â·Â Â Â Â Â Whatever the outcome of the elections, be moderate in your discussions as political debates could easily turn violent.
Â·Â Â Â Â Â Do not be lured into possible post-election protests if your favored candidate does not win.
Â·Â Â Â Â Â Finally, allow a few days clear after the elections before embarking on any long distance road trip (especially inter State) in the event that violence breaks out.
Remain security conscious and stay safe always.
This release is from the office of the General Manager, Security Services,Â NMA