Polls: Let schools go on break for us to collect our PVCs — NANS tells FG
By Jennifer S Kuwanta
The National Association of Nigerian Students, NANS, has urged the federal government to let higher institutions in the country go on break now for the students who registered last year to collect their permanent voter’s cards, PVCs.
According to the association, if the step is not taken, over four million students would be disenfranchised and denied the opportunity to cast their votes during the polls.
The NANS Vice President, External, Comrade Akintoye Babatunde Afeez, stated this on Sunday.
Afeez noted that since the government had agreed to extend the collection of permanent voter’s cards, PVC, by a week, students should not be denied the opportunity to collect their cards.
“Subsequent to the extension of the deadline for the collection of Permanent Voter’s Cards (PVCs) till Sunday, February 5, 2023, and considering the fact that the general elections will commence in few weeks’ time, the Office of the NANS Vice President (External Affairs) calls on the Federal Government of Nigeria to immediately close all tertiary institutions temporarily to afford students the opportunity to collect their PVCs from their Local Government Areas and vote in the forthcoming elections.
“In time past, the lack of flexibility of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the management of tertiary institutions have made it difficult and almost impossible for students to participate in the electoral process.
“The case is now different for the 2023 Elections. This is because, during the continuous voter registration exercise, students were in their various homes due to the prolonged Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) strike and about four million (according to statistics) of us registered newly for our PVCs.
“Now that we have registered for our PVCs and they have been processed and our tertiary institutions are not considering academic breaks for students during the general elections, despite having knowledge that most students registered outside their campuses, to go and collect our PVCs and have the opportunity to vote.
“This is why we are calling on the Federal Government of Nigeria to mandate the National Universities Commission (NUC), the National Board for Technical Education (NBTE), and the National Commission for Colleges of Education (NCCE) through the Federal Ministry of Education to shut down all tertiary institutions temporarily until after the general elections in order to allow the Nigerian students (who constitute 40.8 per cent of the newly registered voters across the 774 local government areas of Nigeria) have access to their PVCs and vote for the candidates of their choice in fulfilment of their civic responsibility as patriotic citizens of Nigeria.
“As the leadership of NANS, we can not sit and watch our school management disenfranchise us with their unfavourable academic calendars that do not take into consideration timelines and dates for election when we know that we have a stake in the turns of things as they will unfold in preceding weeks.
“We hereby urge the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to make special arrangements for the students to collect their PVCs in the consolidation of the effort of the Federal Government to shut down schools temporarily for students to exercise one of their fundamental human rights – to vote.”