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Election Day Protocol

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By Janet Adetu

As Nigerians vote in the rescheduled Saturday 23 election, you must make effort to cast your votes for your preferred candidates instead of watching the process at home from a distance, if you have your PVC?

For some this is probably going to be first time they will exercise their civil right and come out to vote, for others this is something they are very familiar with. The Election Day is one of the most important days in the history of any country; it is the deciding factor for what is to be expected months and years ahead. The people of the nation make that decision. Interestingly, there is protocol around every election process whether voting takes place electronically or physically. I thought I should emphasize on the protocol expected on an Election Day that requires your physical presence, since this is the terrain in which we will operate on Saturday.

The process should always be democratic, seamless without disorderliness or violence. However it is not unusual that something small can spark into something big or something disastrous. Caution must always be taken once in a public zone where temperaments  are wavering all over.

How prepared are you when you go out to vote?

Were you prepared for the forthcoming election?

Protocol on Election Day

Early to Rise

This is not a day to laze about and stroll out as and when you desire. Needless to say the earlier you go out the quicker you will be attended to. There is the expectation of long standing queues, so patience is required to wait for your turn. In the event of very long waits and extreme weather conditions it is best to consume lots of water and stay hydrated.

Appropriate Dressing

Election days so far in Nigeria are done on weekends, this calls for dressing that is comfortable, airy and suitable for the day. The choice is individualized, however, caution must be taken to avoid clothing that projects more heat and discomfort.

Children and Pets

Well the Election Day is considered a public holiday even though it is a weekend, most schools are closed and the children sent home in preparation for the election to avoid getting caught In any eventuality.

I must say that there is a strict regulation around the eligible voting age, which is 18 years and above. All children younger than this are not encouraged to be present, it is safer the children remain at home for all intent and purpose. In the same light pet dogs are equally not appropriate to take to election polling stations, so act with caution.

Voting Exercise

Preferably before stepping out get a full understanding of what is expected of you. This can be seen online or found in news print. It is essential and Important to follow the process without complaints. Votes are not cast immediately it is expected that every eligible voter is in possession of a Permanent Voters Card (PVC) which must be presented as a means of identification and eligibility to vote. This must be verified by the officials to ensure you are the owner of the card. Be prepared to have your details cross checked before you will be allowed to vote this forms part of the accreditation process.  This is procedure to follow without making a fuss.

Timing

Strict adherence to timing is key, the entire accreditation and voting process is timed for the purpose of our election in Nigeria, all must be completed by 2pm. Once there is adequate orderliness this can be achieved, from there is there is the timing for the official counting before the announcement of the results.

Casting Votes

Your vote is important avoid being disqualified by following the set rules and guidelines. When you are requested to cast your vote you will be given the required ink to be placed on your thumb. Simply thumbprint against the candidate of your choice, then fold the paper and drop into the ballot box. This process sounds easy and maybe a little cliché but is unpredictable as some people still tend to get the smallest of things wrong. Again do more listening  than talking on the day.

Conversation

A lot will be going on during the Election, conversations will erupt especially for opposition party. This is the time to avoid getting engaged with conversations that are meaningless. These unnecessary arguments, quarrels or antagonism are seen where there is unsettled queues and commotion simply do the needful then leave.

Election Results

Finally the results of an election are bound to create high anxiety and anticipation; which calls for the ability to stay calm and patient. This is not going to be easy because the result makes all the difference, however in the spirit of free and of fair elections let the winner be announced and the results hopefully be accepted if satisfactory conduct can be established.

Election Worker Tips

  1. Stay calm

Ii. Act diligently

Iii. Carry out process and procedure

Iv. Explain properly to all eligible voters

  1. Avoid confrontation

Vi. Strive to solve issues

VII. Make peace

Viii. Be polite

Xi. Conduct yourself professionally

Xii. Avoid being over authoritative

Xi. Be confident and assertive

It’s a privilege to serve, do it well, strive for a better tomorrow. Happy Elections!!!!!!

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