My First Voting Experience in Nigeria

The 2019 General elections will be the first time I got a chance to finally exercise my right to vote.

I remember being in school during the previous election and promising myself to be present at all cost at this year’s election, and here we are.

Thinking back, I wonder why I was so intrigued by the idea of voting at the time. You’d have thought it was some lottery, but I guess it was because voting implied that I had finally become an adult. I have also always been the kind of girl that preferred experiencing things on her own as opposed to making her conclusions from other people’s experiences.

Anyways, this is not why we are here.

I woke up the morning of the election feeling very unsure.

Unsure if I wanted to waste my time walking the distance to cast a vote that would probably not count and most importantly, unsure who to even vote for.

My excitement about voting had only lasted up to the week before, on finding out the election was postponed. I wasn’t sure I wanted to bother anymore.

A little voice in my head kept telling me to just enjoy the day off and sleep in for as long as I wanted.

A second voice nudged me to vote; this was my first opportunity to make a difference whether it mattered or not, I still needed to do my part.

I listened to the second voice, got off my bed, got ready and headed out with members of my family that were interested in voting.

The first and only challenge I had was in figuring out where my polling unit was. I had been so sure I had this part of my day on lock only to have been wrong.

I stopped by at three other polling units before finally getting to mine.

If I had been alone, considering the stress I went through trying to find the place, I probably would’ve turned and gone back to bed.

It took roughly 40 minutes to finally figure out where my polling unit was.

Our decision to leave home early paid off, as only a couple of people were present at the polling unit when we arrived.

The first thing we did was re-confirm we were at the right place (Once bitten, twice shy right?). We confirmed our names and serial numbers from the register posted around the polling unit.

It took another 40minutes or thereabout for the INEC officials to set up, so this meant standing by and waiting for their signal to begin.

During this time, officials gave an explanation on how the voting was going to take place, what voters needed to do, what ballot paper needed to go into what ballot box, amongst others. This was useful information for a novice like me.

The signal was given to begin and I was lucky enough to be second in line.

The first thing that was done was getting our PVC’s verified by a card reader as well as finger prints taken.

The person ahead of me had issues with the card reader reading his finger prints so I was a little scared that I was going to have the same problem. I wasn’t prepared to have any more complications.

My turn came and it went smoothly. I moved to the next stage of re-confirming my name on the voters register and getting my nail marked with permanent ink, to show that I had been involved in the voting process.

Finally, we were given three stamped ballot papers to cast our votes in a cubicle and then place the ballot papers in their corresponding boxes.

Side note: For some reason, it hadn’t occurred to me that we needed to vote for senatorial and house of representative candidates. I had only been there to cast my vote for my presidential candidate. I remember going through a list of the candidates last minute on my phone whilst waiting for my turn on the line. I’m still unsure if I left the space blank or went ahead to choose a party.

But hey, atleast I voted right?

Before heading out for the election, I had left the house with a survival kit; my power bank, sunglasses, a novel, amongst others thinking the voting experience was going to be as long and stressful as everything else in the country, but it went smoothly.

I left the polling unit a fulfilled patriot. I had done my part by voting for whom I was convinced was credible enough, whoever ended up winning I hoped made a positive difference to the situation of the country..

P.S: I had hoped that because my voting experience went smoothly, other polling centers would have that too but I got home to the news of ballot box snatching, injured as well as killing of voters, logistics issuesto mention but a few. It’s really disheartening that all of these are still very prevalent in the country.

I hope everyone that voted is safe and had a similar or an even better experience than I did.

🙂

10 thoughts on “My First Voting Experience in Nigeria

  1. I share the same sentiment about exercising my right to vote (this is the second election I’m missing since reached the legal age) . I’m glad you finally got to vote! Yayy! Turn up!!

    I wonder if /when Nigeria would create the opportunity for those in Diaspora to vote.

    Sorry about the long walk and wait, your first time had to be memorable. The more the stress the more interesting the story yeah? Lol

    This was so insightful and fun to read, thank you for sharing.

    The survival kit was a super smart idea lol. You were very prepared *wink*

    The part where you were unaware that you had to vote for the senate and house of reps had me rolling lol.
    At least you voted sha! Haha

    Its so sad that in 2019 we still can’t say that Nigeria had a free and fair election.

    God help us and keep us safe!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for reading Kafayah❤️

      -Don’t worry, I’m sure by next election you’d be home and able to finally vote💪🏾

      – I was talking about this the other day- Opportunity for those in Diaspora to vote, One way or another they contribute to the economy of the country so I do not understand why their voting rights is being constrained. I believe the introduction of an electronic voting system in Nigeria will make this possible, it will also eliminate if not all but most of the vices associated with voting in the country.

      -Lol. For the life of me, I still don’t know why it didn’t cross my mind to choose a senatorial and house of reps candidate.
      I feel really bad though as I am aware that they are equally as important.

      For free and fair election- I’m very hopeful that Nigeria will get there.

      Thanks once again for the kind comment(and for constantly commenting on my posts; I see you😉).

      I’m glad you enjoyed reading this.

      Like

      1. You’re welcome babe
        #notification gang

        I think we have a long way to go with regards to election in Nigeria. Its such a shame that we are still using plastic containers as ballot boxes in 2019, with all the technological advancements, with all the money Nigeria claims to budget for the elections, with all the skilled people we have in the Nation. We really need to do better, we need to catch up with the rest if the world.

        I believe once we figure out that part maybe we can now begin work on Diaspora voting.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks for writing and sharing a sequential account of your voting experience.Lucky you though!.This is because very few people had it smooth sailing like u did.But generally,though.there pockets of disturbances here and their,this could.also.be described as being fair.Hope we can.improve upon this and developed Democratiic Nations.Thanks again,Dearest Daughter

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m glad the voting process went smoothly at your end as did mine. But I didn’t get to vote as I was officiating as an ad-hoc staff for inec -an experience that wasn’t so fulfilling-
    All we have to do now is watch and pray for the best outcome.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The patriotic satisfaction of voting cannot be compared to that of being ad-hoc staff definitely, but I’m sure the fact that you and other ad-hoc staff did your job well, made the electoral process go smoothly.

      So thank you for your work, and may the best man for our nation come out on top.

      🙂

      Like

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