The decision of the National Universities Commission to universities in the country to close for the 2023 general elections has received commendations from various stakeholders in education.
Among the bodies that sent in their commendations are the National Association of Nigerian Students, NANS, and parents, under the aegis of the National Parent Teacher Association of Nigeria, NAPTAN.
Haruna Danjuma, National President, NAPTAN, while reacting to the NUC decision said this development would allow the students to be able to cast their votes during the general elections.
Danjuma noted that during the collection of the permanent voter’s card, The body suggested that the students be given time to go back home and collect their PVCs.
“Some of the students, who are now of voting age, registered during last year’s continuous voter registration exercise. Most of them did this at home, not where they school. The period was when the lecturers were on strike and they were at home.
“How I wish many of them had the opportunity of collecting their PVCs. My daughter just came back from school last night and collected her card from her mother with whom she kept it. Those who have their cards would at least be able to vote where they registered,” he stated.
Commenting on the NUC decision also, Adejuwon Emmanuel Olatunji, the Southwest Coordinator of NANS, said the decision was the right step in line with the desire of the association that students be allowed to vote.
Olatunji said figures from the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, youths, show that students form over 24 percent of the total number of voters in the country. That means they have the capability to determine what happens.
“Also, as a body, NANS has been going from campus to campus to sensitise students on the need for them to vote during the coming elections.
“The situation we have found ourselves in Nigeria now is precarious and we cannot just fold our arms and say we are not concerned. Only that the government did not allow students to go home during the collection of PVCs while the exercise lasted,” he said.
Meanwhile, in anticipation of the break, the management of the University of Lagos, UNILAG, has amended the academic calendar of the university
It will be recalled that the NUC directed that all universities in the country should go on break from February 22 to March 14, this year for students to partake in the coming general elections.
A circular to that effect was signed by the Deputy Executive Secretary, Chris Mayaki, and sent to all vice-chancellors and directors/Chief executives of inter-university centres.
The circular was titled “Ministerial directive on the closure of all universities and inter-university centres during the upcoming general elections.”
The circular stated that the directive was to allow students in those institutions to be able to partake in the February 25 presidential and National Assembly polls, as well as the March 11 governorship and House of Assembly elections.