House of Reps asks Tertiary management bodies to allow students vote

The House of Representatives has asked to management bodies for tertiary institutions in the Nigeria to hold off all academic activities at the moment.

The appeal came with view to the forthcoming general elections.

The appeal was issued to National Universities Commission (NUC), National Board for Technical Education (NABTE), National Commission for Colleges of Education (NCCE), and the Ministry of education.

The House of Reps, in this appeal, stated that the proposed temporary suspension will enable qualified students to vote in their polling stations. Also, this move will not deprive students of their right to vote, as has often been the case.

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) was also asked to make special arrangements for students to collect their PVC’s.

The resolution was reached on Thursday, January 26. It follows the adoption of a motion of urgent public importance sponsored by Kabir Ibrahim, a legislator representing Zuru/Fakai/Danko-Wasagu/Sakaba federal constituency of Kebbi.

Honourable Ibrahim pointed out that there are over 2.1 million students in universities, and over 2.4 million students in polytechnics, monotechnics, and colleges of education.

He also aired the observation that academic schedules of various tertiary institutions disenfranchise students. He noted that the calendars do not consider elctions periods and dates.

Additionally, Ibrahim mentioned an INEC report which shows that 40.8 percent of the total number of newly registered voters are students. The newly registered student voters are an alarming 3.8 million.

Ibrahim said:

“These students who constitute 40.8 percent of the newly registered voters, have their polling units sited in states outside their campuses, thereby necessitating travelling outside their respective institutions to vote in the 2023 elections.

“Tertiary institutions are not considering academic breaks for students during the general elections, despite knowing that most students registered outside their campuses during the continuous voter registration exercise, which took place during the prolonged Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), strike.

“INEC has devolved PVCs distributions at the registration areas and wards across the 774 local government offices throughout the federation.

“Distribution of PVCs at the wards has ended, and the exercise moved back to the local government/area council offices, thereby further limiting the chances of the students to collect their PVCs which is a precondition for voting at the polls.

“While the students are busy with academic activities, INEC is engaged in distributing PVCs at the wards across the 774 LGAs of the federation which deprives students of the opportunity to collect their PVCs.

“Tertiary institutions do not consider periods of elections in designing academic calendars, as most of them conduct semester examinations when the preparations for the general elections are almost completed or when the polls are going on, thereby disenfranchising the students from exercising their civic duties.”

Following the unanimous adoption of the motion, the house instructed committees on tertiary education and electoral matters to work with the relevant agencies concerned and provide feedback within a week.