As Told By A Corper: The Rowdiest Election That Never Happened
After long weeks of preparations and training, the long-awaited Presidential election was finally upon us and honestly, we just wanted to get it over with because it had been an extremely tedious process.
We were instructed to convene at our various local governments to meet our Presiding Officers (P.O) and other team members so we could collect election materials and later be briefed on sleeping arrangements.
I arrived at the local government at 3pm to meet an astonishing crowd which consisted of fellow corp members and electoral workers. Everyone seemed to be running around like headless chickens because we were left alone to figure things out for ourselves as the NYSC office at the local government was locked and there was no one to talk to or ask questions.
As the night approached, corpers who had the intent of getting some sort of accommodation began to lose hope as it became glaringly obvious that we were on our own. Some corp members decided to head out to the locations where they were posted which comprised mostly of school compounds and they did so because they hoped that at least there would be desks to rest their heads for the night.
At about 10pm most corpers had started looking for any space where they could safely pass the night and after a while, safety wasn’t a priority anymore as they just wanted anywhere they could sleep and this led to some sleeping on insect-infested fields, on the metal benches of commercial buses (Danfo) and some slept on the bare floor.
After observing the happenings for a while, I proceeded to call a friend who was on a similar assignment in another local government and it turns out that it wasn’t just happening on my end but apparently it was a nationwide phenomenon.
Dumfounded as to how we had been abandoned to our fate for the night, I braced myself and went searching for a spot to lay my head as well and I was lucky enough to find an empty office space to rest and even charge my phone. It is safe to say that I was one of the few corp members in the country that had anything close to decent sleep because I saw what other corp members went through and whenever I wanted to complain about the mosquitoes I encountered, I would remember that some of my colleagues slept on bare concrete and I would just stay silent.
After a semi-decent sleep, I woke up the next morning disoriented and wondering how in God’s name I was going to be effective at the polls today then I saw the headlines on Twitter that read “INEC postpones elections” and I remember getting angry and yelling in my head “those bastards!” wondering how I was expected to live through another election eve under the same conditions.
In all honesty, this was definitely not what I signed up for and if I had my way I would simply exempt myself because if anything had happened to me or any of my colleagues in the process of “serving our country”, life would still go on, the election would still hold and the powers that be would continue their reign so the big question is, is this really worth it?.