The collection of permanent voter card (PVC) will end Friday, February 8, leaving behind some pertinent unresolved issues.
According to INEC, 22,320,990 or 26.57 per cent of registered voters described themselves as students and as of 2017, there were about 1.9 million Nigerians in tertiary institutions.
However, for about four months now, the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), are on strike and students will not be able to return to their universities and vote if that’s where they registered. Neither the federal government, nor ASUU nor INEC has clearly addressed this.
The Executive Director, Enough is Enough Nigeria (EiE) ‘Yemi Adamolekun said, “It is hard to believe that the academic union, the most cerebral group of Nigerians, hasn’t thought through the grave implications of a strike straddling election. ASUU may not be deliberately disenfranchising millions of Nigerians, but they certainly are, at least, inadvertently complicit along with the federal government.”
In a statement made available to Apex News, it said if ASUU calls off the strike today, it is completely impractical to expect students to make their way to their university cities by Friday to pick up their PVCs. Will there be an extension?
It pointed out that ninety-five per cent of the complaints it received from citizens are that their PVCs could not be found and would have made several trips to INEC’s local government offices until they are finally told to come back after elections.
According to the statement, in telling registered voters who have proof that they are in INEC’s database to come back after elections, the commission is disenfranchising these voters.
Adamolekun said EiE was only aware of those that have access to social media who can complain to them, but expressed concern about those who do not have such access.
“It is also disturbing that the complaints are disproportionately from parts of the country which already have relatively lower PVC pick up rates,” the Executive Director said.
It pointed out every Nigerian has the right to vote and participate in the electoral process and it is INEC’s responsibility to ensure that this was possible and called on the electoral body to address these two issues clearly before PVC collection ends on February 8.