INEC, varsities should allow students vote – Stakeholders

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    The Independent National Electoral Commission was urged on Friday by participants in the Nigerian pro-democracy movement to work with the Nigerian Universities Commission to ensure that there would be no classes or exams the week before elections in order to prevent students from being denied the right to vote.

    The organisations tabled the demands during a press conference in Abuja at the Centre for Journalism Innovation and Development, ConnectHub.

    The stakeholders include; Enough is Enough Nigeria, #FixPolitics, Kimpact Development Initiative, Reclaim Naija, Community Life Project, Electoral College Nigeria, Women Advocates and Research Development Centre and Yiaga Africa.

    The text of the event titled, ‘Concerns of disenfranchisement with unprinted PVCs and University students’, was jointly read to journalists by the Director of Programmes in Yiaga Africa, Cynthia Mbamalu and Executive Director of EiE, Yemi Adamolekun.

    The CSOs said, “This is a breach of the Electoral Act 2022 which mandates INEC in Section 16 (1) to design, print and issue voter’s cards to voters whose names appear in the register of voters. INEC also, had further committed to and promised that everyone registered and, in their database, will have their PVC provided and available for collection.

    “The emphasis on a deadline for collection is an indirect disenfranchisement of validly registered voters whose PVCs are not available due to INEC’s administrative lapses. Denying these voters their right to vote due to a failure on the part of INEC is unacceptable. To be clear, this is not only a problem in Lagos.
    “Given the reported challenges, we ask that INEC do the following: inform Nigerians if it is still printing cards and when all the cards for registered voters will be available for collection, extend PVC collection to ensure that everyone whose cards were not found are reprinted, and there is a clear process for them to pick up the cards.
    “Work with the Nigerian Universities Commission to ensure that there are no classes or exams the week before elections so students can go home to vote, communicate with newly registered voter’s especially students when the PVCs are ready and create a dedicated desk for civil society organisations, media and citizens to escalate the issues being observed for quick resolution.
    “The engine to drive this process is clear and proactive information sharing from INEC. There are high expectations for this election and INEC cannot be seen to be deliberately or inadvertently disenfranchising certain groups of people.
    Citizens have provided reports from Abuja, Rivers, Delta, Anambra, Imo, Ondo, Nasarawa, Akwa Ibom, Kaduna, Borno, Sokoto, Ogun, Kano, and Kwara. We also note the concern of the students who registered at home while tertiary institutions were shut down for over eight months.
    “According to INEC, 40 per cent of the 9,518,188 newly registered voters are students. If they registered at home and are now at school, INEC must ensure they can pick up their cards in the least expensive way possible.”
    Queen Ferry
    Queen Ferry
    Chinyere Treasure Ikechukwu known professionally as Queen Ferry, is a Nigerian business Executive, Journalist and Content Editor. She serves as the Vice-Chairman of Naijatraffic Limited and also the CEO of Wakadaily. If Treasure is not blogging, she will be making delicious delicacy.

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