Under the auspices of the National Parent Teacher Association of Nigeria, NAPTAN, the National Association of Nigerian Students, NANS, and parents have applauded the National Universities Commission, NUC, for urging universities in the country to close for the 2023 general elections.
The NUC has ordered that all universities in the country close from February 22 to March 14, this year, to allow students to vote in the next general elections.
A circular to that effect was signed by Dr Chris Mayaki, Deputy Executive Secretary, and distributed to all vice-chancellors and directors/Chief executives of inter-university centres.
“Ministerial instruction on the closure of all institutions and inter-university centres during the approaching general elections,” according to the circular.
According to the circular, the decision was issued to allow students at such universities to vote in the February 25 presidential and National Assembly elections, as well as the March 11 governorship and House of Assembly elections.
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NAPTAN, through its National President, Alhaji Haruna Danjuma, stated that the students would be permitted to vote in the general elections.
“Recall that during the permanent voter’s card collection, we urged that students be given time to return home and collect their PVCs.
“Some of the students, who are now of voting age, enrolled during last year’s ongoing voter registration drive. The majority of them did this at home rather than at school.
The lecturers were on strike at the time, so they were at home.
“How I wish many of them had the opportunity to obtain their PVCs. My daughter had just returned from school and had grabbed her card from her mother, with whom she had kept it. “Those who have their cards will be able to vote where they have registered,” he said.
In the same vein, NANS Southwest Coordinator Comrade Adejuwon Emmanuel Olatunji told Vanguard that the move was in keeping with the organization’s aim for students to be able to vote.
“According to estimates from the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, youngsters, largely students, account for more than 24 per cent of the total number of voters.”
That is, they have the ability to control what happens.
“Also, as a body, NANS has been going from university to campus to sensitise students on the need for them to vote during the coming elections.
“The scenario we have found ourselves in Nigeria now is perilous and we cannot just fold our arms and pretend we are not bothered. Only that the authorities did not allow pupils to leave during the gathering of PVCs,” he explained.
Meanwhile, in preparation for the vacation, the administration of the University of Lagos, UNILAG, has revised the university’s academic calendar.