It is eleven days to the general election and political campaigns for the presidential and National Assembly elections are reaching a climax just as Nigerians are pitching their tents with candidates of their choice ready to vote.
To enable students in tertiary institutions participate in the election, the federal government has ordered the closure of all universities for three weeks. The directive was contained in a circular addressed to all Vice chancellors of Nigerian universities by the national universities commission.
Universities will be shut down on academic activity suspended from February the 22nd to March the 14th this will enable the more than 3.8 million registered voters accounting for 40.8 percent of students vote in both the presidential and National Assembly elections on the 25th of this month as well as the governorship and state houses of assembly elections on the 11th of March.
Head of Department, Public and International law, Nile University of Nigeria, Dr Sirajo Yakubu speaking on the closure of Universities and divergent views on this directive says if there’s any security concern as a reason for
directing the universes to close, there are also other reasons which probably outweighs the securities which is why many Nigerians will be convinced why the NUC directed the Universities to close.
Mr Yakubu said to start with, the NUC directive is a very good decision.
According to him, it is a practice in Nigeria that even INEC deploys University professors to conduct elections across the Federation.
He noted that voting is a fundamental right even though it’s not captured anywhere in Nigeria’s constitution.
Voting is the fundamental right of citizens which every citizen is supposed to enjoy which also includes the right of Association, join a political party, vote and be voted for in an election.
Mr Yakubu said the University lecturers and the students needs time to go back to the places they registered for them to be able to express their views, for them to be able to say who should represent them at different levels of government.
INEC requires university lecturers to conduct nationwide elections, and it is an inalienable right of Nigerians to vote, to have their say, to express their own opinion, and to choose the people to represent them, so what the NUC has said or done is justifiable and a very good decision.
Mr Yakubu, who stated that his position as a lecturer does not support academic disruption, added that elections are extremely important for everyone because it is not just that the government directed universities to close for no reason, but also to give students the opportunity to decide their future, especially since they have suffered enough as a result of last year’s long strike.
He noted that this election is very crucial for everyone and very important because we are talking about delegating responsibility to someone who is going to lead you in the next four years, someone who through his actions and inactions, through his commissions and omissions can affect your future for the next 50 years.