The House of Representatives has called on the Federal Government to shut down colleges and universities to enable students to fully participate in the upcoming general elections.
The House of Representatives requested that the National Universities Commission, National Board for Technical Education, National Commission for Colleges of Education, and Federal Ministry of Education issue directives for all tertiary institutions to halt academic operations during the election period.
Additionally, the lower chamber decided that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) should create special procedures for students to obtain their Permanent Voters Cards (PVC).
These resolutions were made following the adoption of a motion moved by Ibrahim Tukura (APC, Kebbi) on Thursday during plenary,
The elections for the presidency and National Assembly are scheduled for February 25th, while the governorship and Houses of Assembly elections will occur on March 11th.
According to Tukura, the proposal was made with the understanding that a significant portion of the newly registered voters are students. Specifically, he noted that out of the 3.8 million new voters, 40.8% are students.
“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”, Tukura said.
Tukura believes that the way PVCs are distributed also has an impact on students. He, therefore, suggests implementing a specific method of collecting PVCs for students.
“The students are busy with academic activities and the Independent National Electoral Commission is engaged in distributing PVCs at the wards across the 774 Local Government Areas of the federation which deprives students of the opportunity to collect their PVCs,” he stated.
Following Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila’s inquiry, the House voted in favor of the motion to have the Tertiary Education and Electoral Matters Committees collaborate with the relevant agencies to expedite the process and present a report to the House within a week.