Allow students to vote, close schools, NANS tells FG
The National Association of Nigerian Students has called on the Federal Government to direct the closure of tertiary institutions in the country to allow students conveniently collect their permanent voter cards and subsequently participate in the February 25 elections.
NANS stated this in a statement by its Vice President, External Affairs, Akintoye Afeez, sent to The PUNCH on Sunday.
NANS said sequel to the extension of the deadline for the collection of the PVCs and considering the fact that the general election would commence in a few weeks, the FG “should immediately close all tertiary institutions temporarily to afford students the opportunity to collect their PVCs from their local government areas and vote in the forthcoming elections.”
“In time past, the lack of flexibility of the Independent National Electoral Commission and the management of tertiary institutions have made it difficult and almost impossible for students to participate in the electoral process.
“The case is now different for the 2023 elections. This is because during the continuous voter registration exercise, students were in their various homes due to the prolonged Academic Staff Union of Universities’ strike and about four million (according to statistics) of us registered newly for our PVCs.
“Now that we have registered for our PVCs and they have been processed, our tertiary institutions are not considering academic breaks for students during the general election, despite knowing that most students registered outside their campuses,” Afeez said.
The apex student body thereby called on the FG to mandate the National Universities Commission, the National Board for Technical Education, and the National Commission for Colleges of Education through the Federal Ministry of Education to “shut all tertiary institutions temporarily until after the general election to allow the Nigerian students (who constitute 40.8 per cent of the newly registered voters across the 774 local government areas of Nigeria) have access to their PVCs and vote for the candidates of their choice in fulfillment of their civic responsibility as patriotic citizens of Nigeria.”
The PUNCH reports that the House of Representatives had last week also sought the suspension of academic activities to allow students conveniently participate in the electoral process as the elections draw closer.
At the plenary on Thursday, the House particularly urged the NUC, the NBTE, the NCCE, and the Federal Ministry of Education to “direct all tertiary institutions to suspend academic activities during the period of elections.”
The House also urged INEC to make special arrangements for the students to collect their PVCs.