Safety tips for voting during elections
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:
1. 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 – visit INEC Portal to confirm polling unit location.
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.
2. 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.
3. 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.
See the Nigerian Army emergency lines below:
- Abia State – 08031113129
- Adamawa State – 08022750987
- Akwa-Ibom State – 07034470916
- Anambra State – 07035891185
- Bauchi State – 08128063675
- Bayelsa State – 08033241005
- Benue State – 08080754339
- Borno State – 09099616160, 08086987079
- Cross River State – 08037084192
- Delta State – 07035070797
- Ebonyi State – 08158274048
- Edo State – 09066325953
- Ekiti State – 08037851448
- Enugu State – 09032102212, 08023097458
- Gombe State – 07063908779, 08082557782
- Imo State – 07034907427
- Jigawa State – 07017791414, 08100144363
- Kaduna State – 07031544227, 08028580978, 08035242633
- Kano State – 08038432656
- Kastina State – 08108854061, 09012998054
- Kebbi State – 09130213661
- Kogi State – 08033217964
- Kwara State – 09060001270
- Lagos State – 08034025825, 08023190487, 09024409000, 08033709434
- Nassarawa State – 09051009404
- Niger State – 07031346425
- Ogun State – 09116589494
- Ondo State – 08036130535
- Osun State – 09019683922
- Oyo State – 07047703000
- Plateau State – 08037116395, 07031260622
- Rivers State – 08064274222
- Sokoto State – 07069084570, 07052693532, 08136913284
- Taraba State – 08136728969, 08060902363
- Yobe State – 08061397656
- Zamfara State – 08140075541
- FCT – 09114913164, 08186690471, 08079153860, 08034276240, 08164304255, 09159793968
4. 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.
5. 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.
How to confirm polling unit location via INEC portal
The Independent National Electoral Commission has encouraged Nigerians to confirm their various polling units ahead of the general election.
During a meeting with the national leaders of political parties in Abuja on Monday, INEC chairman, Professor Mahmood Yakubu, said the feedback “from our officials and accredited observers following the recent nationwide mock accreditation using the BVAS” showed that some voters could not easily identify their polling units.
He, therefore, advised voters to ascertain the exact location of their polling units using a dedicated portal on the INEC website.
Here are steps to confirm the location of your polling unit via the INEC portal.
- Log onto the INEC Website. The link leads to the home page which features a menu icon at the top right corner of the page.
- Click on the icon, a drop down-list which features three options will be provided. These options include Check Voters Status, Polling Unit Locator, and Help.
- Click on Polling Unit Locator, you will be led to a form which requires your polling unit details. These include, State, Local Government, Registration Area (ward number), and the name of your Polling Unit.
- Keep your Permanent Voter Card handy to input the required information. You can also check your full details by using the Check Voters Status portal, this only requires the Voters Identification Number and surname.
- When the details have been supplied, click on the green icon which reads, “Get Directions”. This leads to Google map which provides the direction to your polling unit’s location.
INEC however advises voters to physically visit their polling unit before the election day, as the directions provided via the map are only “approximate”.