Election : NANS Warns Against Students Disenfranchisement, Urges FG To Shut Down Schools

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Following the extension of the deadline for the collection of Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs) till Sunday, February 5, 2023, and the commencement of the general elections in a few weeks, the Office of the National Office of the Nigeria Students (NANS), Vice President (External Affairs) has called on the Federal Government to immediately close all tertiary institutions temporarily.

NANS in a statement signed by Comrade Akinteye Baba Tunde Afeez, Vice President
(External Affairs), explained that this will allow students to collect their Permanent Voters Cards (PVCs) from their Local Government Areas and vote in the forthcoming elections.

It could be recalled that in time past, the lack of flexibility of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the management of tertiary institutions have made it difficult and almost impossible for students to participate in the electoral process.

The Statement added, “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 (ASUU) strike and about 4 million (according to statistics) of us registered newly for our PVCs.

“Now that we have registered for our PVCs and they have been processed and our tertiary institutions are not considering academic breaks for students during the general elections, despite knowing that most students registered outside their campuses, to go and collect our PVCs and have the opportunity to vote.

“This is why we are calling on the Federal Government of Nigeria to mandate the National Universities Commission (NUC), the National Board for Technical Education (NBTE), and the National Commission for Colleges of Education (NCCE) through the Federal Ministry of Education to shut down all tertiary institutions temporarily until after the general elections to allow the Nigerian students (who constitute 40.8 percent 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.

NANS emphasised as the umbrella body of students it cannot sit and watch school management disenfranchise them with their unfavourable academic calendars that do not take into consideration timelines and dates for an election,” “When we know that we have a stake in the turns of things as they will unfold in preceding weeks.”

“This is why we are calling on the Federal Government of Nigeria to mandate the National Universities Commission (NUC), the National Board for Technical Education (NBTE), the National Commission for Colleges of Education (NCCE) through the Federal Ministry of Education to shut down all tertiary institutions temporarily until after the general elections to allow the Nigerian students (who constitute 40.8 percent 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.

“We, hereby, urge the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to make special arrangements for the students to collect their PVCs in the consolidation of the effort of the Federal Government to shut down schools temporarily for students to exercise one of their fundamental human rights – to vote.”

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