The House of Representatives has raised the alarm over the imminent disenfranchisement of Nigerian youths, especially those in higher institutions of learning, as the schools are scheduling examinations close to the forthcoming general election.
At the plenary on Thursday, the House particularly urged the National Universities Commission, the National Board for Technical Education, the National Commission for Colleges of Education, and the Federal Ministry of Education to “direct all tertiary institutions to suspend academic activities during the period of elections.”
The House also urged the Independent National Electoral Commission to make special arrangements for the students to collect their Permanent Voter Cards.
Furthermore, the lawmakers mandated the House Committees on Tertiary Education and Electoral Matters to liaise with the agencies to facilitate the process and report to back to the chamber within one week for further legislative action.
These resolutions followed the unanimous adoption of a motion of urgent public importance moved by a member of the House, Kabir Tukura, titled ‘Urgent Need to Give the Students of Tertiary Institutions of Learning in Nigeria an Opportunity to Vote in the General Election.’
Tukura said according to available statistics, there are over 2.1 million students currently studying in Nigerian universities, while over 2.4 million are students in the polytechnics, monotechnics and colleges of education across the country.
The lawmaker also noted that academic calendars of various tertiary institutions are structured “in a way that most students are disenfranchised, as school calendars do not take into consideration the timelines and date for elections.” He stated that the lack of flexibility makes it difficult for students to participate in the electoral process.