Even as the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has postponed election by a whole week, at least 102,741 students in the 75 accredited private universities in the country will still not be able to cast their votes in the elections.
The presidential and National Assembly elections which will now hold on February 23 due to postponement by INEC, while the governorship and state House of Assembly elections will take place on March 9.
However, the 75 private universities will be in session during the period of the elections.
During investigations by THE PUNCH, some of the private universities told newsmen that they won’t risk the lives of their students because of the incidents of violence during elections in the country.
An admission officer at Achievers University, Ondo State, who identified himself simply as Bunmi, said the school, which has a student population of 1,000, would be in session.
He said, “We are not going on break because of the elections. Actually, the management has not said anything concerning that. They will have to be the ones to speak on that. Sometimes during elections we send the students home but the management has not said anything about that.”
Bunmi also noted that the nearest polling unit to the school was at the traditional ruler, Oba Ilale’ s palace.
Similarly, Augustine University in Ilara -Epe area of Lagos State, which has 500 students, stated that the school would be in session during the elections.
When asked if the students were eligible to participate in the election, the acting director of ICT at the Catholic-owned institution, Sister Adebola Daramola, said, “Yes, (but) there is no polling unit within the campus.”
The Communications Officer of the university, Nicholas Obayi , said members of staff would vote but the students could not leave the campus on the election day.
Obayi said, “It’s a fully residential university. The school won’ t allow students go out and do anything, but lecturers live in their different houses, so if they want to do anything, everyone is free to go and do whatever they want.
“With lecturers, you can’t be asking who wants to vote and who doesn’t want to vote. As I said, the elections would hold on Saturdays, so you can’ t control the movement of people.”
An admissions officer, Baze University, who gave his name simply as Usman, also said he did not believe the school, which has 1 ,300 students, would release the students to vote.
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