A petition is simply a collection of signatures from people supporting your issue in order to drive a change in what you see is wrong. This petition is then presented to decision-makers that have the power to create the change you want.
They can be written to the government to alert them on the issues going wrong in the community like human rights abuse or workers’ demands.
Why would you write a petition?
Petitions are written for different purposes. Many write petitions to heighten community awareness of their issue. This awakes the community of the issue you pursue, thereby bringing many people behind you.
If you are petitioning through a group, it brings recognition to your group. This brings about new members and possible contacts for your group. A petition can be used to demonstrate widespread community support for the changes you seek. It helps bring about the changes you are seeking collectively.
There are two types of petitions:
In conducting a governmental petition drive successfully, the key thing is to follow the rules set out by the governmental authority. In this type of petition, you will have to know what the rules are before you begin.
Key questions like the following would need to be answered before starting a government petition:
₹ How many signatures will you need?
₹ How should people's names be signed (printed, by signature, or both?)
₹ Should addresses be included?
₹What other information must be included by the signer, or by the submitter?
₹ Are their limitations you must adhere to (like, signatures per community?)
₹ When must the petitions be returned, and to whom?
₹ What happens after?
As much as the petition drive is important to you and your cause, the last thing you want to happen is for your petition to be disqualified because you have not followed the rules.
Also, if your petition drive deviates the acceptable governmental norm, there is much need to make your petition perfect.
Non Governmental petition
The rules here are mostly not set for petitioners like those of the government. However, following the setting of government petitions is an added plus.
The circumstances surrounding your petition may be very important as the number of signatures on it. You will need to publicize the petition and present it to the decision-makers in a way that gets their attention and cooperation. You will gain by taking advantage of other events occurring at the same time. It is also necessary to follow up your petition with some actions.
Make sure the target of your petition can take action on the change you want.
Steps in making a petition in Nigeria
Present your cause, goal: Let people know how they can help to further the cause
Gather information about your cause - possibly delving online. Create a great idea for the cause of knowing fully well that the petition you are pushing for is embedded around the argument you bring forward.
A bad argument is certainly a failed petition.
Find out the minimum amount of signatures that are required
Research on the number of signatures you need for the particular type of cause you are in. Rules can determine how your petition would be viewed or how far it will go. Identify your target audience, and think about where it might be found. A local conference is a good place for getting signatures easily.
For outdoor locations target places that are dense and not in a hurry. Remember you must look convincing when presenting your cause.
Find out who to address your petition to
Before starting a petition it is ideal to know who and your petition would go. If it's a government petition locate the office where you will take it to when done.
Where to submit your petition should be known before it is brought to light.
Summarize your petition with references
Write a brief summary of your cause which should describe the issue at hand, why the issue matters and a proposed action to address it.
Quote reasonable information from other sources to your petition. Make a list of such references and attach to the petition so that your claims can be verified from these sources.
Edit your petition and circulate
Double check your work for mistakes and give a sample for some other person to read. If it's OK, the go on to circulate your petition.