OurNigeria News Magazine
Online Read Magazine in Nigeria

2023: Over 3 million students face disenfranchisement

2023: Stakeholders urge media to ensure unbiased coverage of election

2023: Over 3 million students face disenfranchisement

With less than 30 days until Nigeria’s presidential election – the world’s first major election in 2023 – the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, is dealing with a slew of complaints.

These include issues with picking up voters’ cards, alleged extortion by INEC officials, and reported refusals to distribute cards to non-indigenous people in some states.

As the January 29 deadline for collecting Permanent Voters Cards, PVCs, approaches, there are fears that up to 3.2 million Nigerian students who were at home during the continuous voter registration exercise will be unable to vote in the 2023 general elections.

The development is the result of eight months of protracted industrial action by members of the Academic Staff Union of Universities.

Recall that ASUU declared a strike on February 14, 2022, over the Federal government’s lackadaisical attitude towards the demands and plight of lecturers.

While announcing the labor action, Prof Emmanuel Osodeke, ASUU President, said, “the government’s response to the union’s demands had not been satisfactorily addressed”.

Read Also: PVCs Collection To Continue Till Jan. 29 – INEC

However, ASUU called off the strike after it had lasted eight months in October 2022, following an intervention by the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila.

It was reported that Gbajabiamila had intervened in the dispute to broker peace between the Federal government and ASUU after all negotiations had failed.

During the period between the strike, the nationwide Continuous Voter Registration, CVR, exercise was ongoing across the country.

It commenced in June 2021 and hit its peak when many students were at home.

On July 31, 2022, the INEC announced the end of the voters’ registration exercise to enable the electoral body to clean up the register and remove multiple registrants using the Automated Biometric Identification System, ABIS.

Speaking at the commission’s 2022 third quarterly meeting with political parties in Abuja, INEC chairman, Mahmood Yakubu disclosed that the total number of newly registered voters in Nigeria stood at 9,518,188, adding that the 2023 general elections were for the youths.

As expected, the commission announced the timeline for the collection of PVCs for those who registered after the voter register cleanup. It said the collection of PVC would take place from December 12, 2022, and was expected to end on January 22, 2023.

However, following widespread complaints from many parts of the country, the INEC extended by seven days the deadline for the collection of PVCs.

The INEC Commissioner for Voter Education, Festus Okoye, who announced the new deadline for the PVC collection, said the exercise would now end on January 29 instead of January 22, as earlier scheduled.

But not satisfied with the one-week extension, some stakeholders, including political parties, have raised concerns about Nigerian students who registered at their various home locations while the ASUU strike lasted but are now unable to collect their PVCs.

One of such stakeholders, a renowned scholar and Director of the Abuja School of Social and Political Thoughts, Dr Sam Amadi, believed it is necessary to allow students to leave school and return home to collect their PVCs.

2023: Over 3 million students face disenfranchisement

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.