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The Independent National Electoral Commission says it doesn’t have the power to compel universities to declare holidays in order to enable students to vote during the forthcoming general elections.

The media aide to the chairman of the commission, Rotimi Oyekanmi, stated this in an interview with Saturday PUNCH on Friday.

This is against the backdrop of calls from several quarters that universities should declares holidays for students to collect their Permanent Voter Cards and also vote in the coming polls.

For instance, amember of the House of Representatives, Kabir Tukura, had on Thursday moved a motion titled,‘Urgent Need to Give the Students of Tertiary Institutions of Learning in Nigeria an Opportunity to Vote in the General Elections.’


Tukura noted that the Chairman of INEC, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, had said that 3.8 million of the newly registered voters are students, accounting for 40.8 per cent of the total number of newly registered voters.

He expressed the worry 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.”

The lawmaker said, “The House is concerned that these students, who constitute 40.8 per cent of the newly registered voters, have their polling units sited in states outside their campuses, thereby necessitating travelling outside their respective institutions to vote in the 2023 elections.


“The House is further concerned that tertiary institutions are not considering academic breaks for students during the general elections, despite having knowledge that most students registered outside their campuses during the continuous voter registration exercise, which took place during the prolonged Academic Staff Union of Universities strike.

“The House is cognisant that the INEC has enormous statutory powers to make special arrangements for students to collect their PVCs to vote. The NUC, NBTE, NCCE and the federal Ministry of Education, as the regulators of tertiary education in Nigeria, have the statutory powers to direct both the public and private tertiary education institutions in Nigeria to suspend academic activities pending the conclusion of the general elections.”

But when contacted by one of our correspondents, INEC chairman’s media aide, Oyekanmi said it was beyond INEC to dictate to varsities on how to run their calender.

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He said, “Each university has a governing council that decides how the university should be run. I doubt it, although I stand to be corrected, if the National Universities Commission can indeed issue a directive to universities on when to go on holidays or operate.

“Don’t forget that we also have private and state universities that are not being funded by the Federal Government, although the NUC performs its oversight functions on their academic programmes, which are subjected to regular accreditation exercise.

“In the same manner, the Independent National Electoral Commission  cannot compel any university to announce a holiday for election purposes. We don’t have such powers. This decision is best left to the governing council of the individual universities.”







When contacted by Saturday PUNCH, the Chairman, Committee of Vice Chancellors, Prof Samuel Edoumiekumo, said neither the National Assembly, the National Universities Commission nor the CVC was empowered to dictate the tertiary institutions to go on holidays.


Edoumiekumo said the decision resides with Senate and Governing Council of individual higher institution.

He said, “This is not the first time election is taking place, they are not the ones to inform universities, universities have their respective governing councils and their senates; so individual universities will look at the scenarios within their universities and take appropriate decisions.”


Student sues FG


Meanwhile,a final year student of the university of Benin, Moses Omoyele, on Friday approached the  Federal High Court in Abuja, praying that  the Federal Government should be compelled to declare a short vacation across all tertiary institutions in the country to enable  students to travel to their wards in order to participate in the forthcoming general elections.

The respondents is the suit, marked FHC/ABJ/CS/117/2023, are INEC, the Attorney General of the Federation, and the Minister of Education.

Also joined as respondents were NUC,  National Board for Technical Education, NBTE and NCCE.

The plaintiff through his lawyer, Mr Jideobi Johnmary, told the court that suit was to enforce his fundamental human rights.

According to Moses, over four million Nigerian students are at risk of being disenfranchised.


In an affidavit that was attached in support of the suit, the plaintiff said, “I know as a fact that the academic calendars of various tertiary institutions were structured in a way that most students are disenfranchised as school calendars do not take into consideration the timelines and date for elections.








Attached herewith and marked as ‘Exhibit C’, for example, is a copy of the academic calendar of the Federal University of Technology, Minna, showing that examinations are to be conducted on the 24th day of February, 2023, which is a day to the date of the commencement of the general elections.”

The plaintiff, is among other things, praying the court for a mandatory order, “directing the 3rd to 6th respondents to declare a reasonably short vacation across all tertiary institutions in Nigeria, to enable the applicant, and indeed all Nigerian students in tertiary institutions in Nigeria, who are eligible to vote, to travel to their various wards to be able to participate in the electoral process by voting for candidates of their choice in the forthcoming general elections, thereby expressing themselves and their political opinion through the ballot box.”

He also wants an injunction “restraining all tertiary institutions in Nigeria, from fixing any academic work, such as lectures, tutorials, assignments and or exams in any tertiary institution in Nigeria starting from a period not later than seven days before the commencement of the 2023 general elections ending at any time not earlier than three days after the conduct of the 2023 general elections in Nigeria.”

He also wants “an order mandating the INEC to give additional special one week for the collection of Permanent Voter Cards so as to enable the returning students, who have been in school during the period of INEC slated for the collection of Permanent Voter Cards, to collect their  PVCs and be able to participate in the electoral process.”


NANS wades in


On its part,  the National Association of Nigeria Students said students should be given the opportunity to votes during the polls.

Speaking in an interview with Saturday PUNCH, NANS’ National Public Relations Officer, Giwa Temitope, said He said, “We have resolved that this time around we want all the students to be fully involved and we have long started to encourage all our colleagues.

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The 1st Nigerian Tertiary Institutions Conference on UN SDGs presents the SDG Youth Essay Competition, offering undergraduates in Nigerian tertiary institutions a chance to contribute to the discussion on achieving SDG4, Quality Education.

Competition Overview:

1st Nigerian Tertiary Institutions Conference on UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Essay Competition

The SDG Youth Essay Competition offers a grand prize of N1 million for the top three winners, along with free sponsorship to attend the 1st Nigeria Tertiary Institution Conference on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in April 2024 in Abuja.

Competition Requirements:

1. Eligibility:

   – Open exclusively to undergraduates in Nigerian tertiary institutions.

2. Entry Guidelines:

   – Topic:The Role of Students in Attainment of SDG4


   – length: Essays should be 1500 words.

   – Entry Period: Thursday, February 1, 2024 – Thursday, February 29, 2024

   – Referencing: APA Style (6th Edition).

   – Font: Times New Roman, 12-point font size.

   – Documentation: Typed in 1.5 line spacing, MS Word format only.

   – Plagiarism: Only original content is accepted; plagiarized entries will be disqualified.


– Prizes:

  – 1st Prize: N500,000

  – 2nd Prize: N300,000

  – 3rd Prize: N200,000

– Winners will also receive free sponsorship to attend the 1st Nigeria Tertiary Institution Conference on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in April 2024 in Abuja.

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Required Documents:

– Student’s Institution ID Card

– Copy of Student’s Admission Letter

– One recent passport-size photograph

– WhatsApp telephone number and email address

Application Procedure:

– All entries and submissions (essay and required documents) should be scanned and sent to before the deadline.

For Further Inquiries:

– Call: 08068931151, 08133846739, 07067772964

– Email:

Deadline: February 29th, 2024

Don’t miss this opportunity to contribute to achieving SDG4 and win exciting prizes. Submit your entry and required documents before the deadline. For any inquiries, feel free to contact them via phone or email.

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Are you an undergraduate law student in Nigeria eager to explore the intersection of law and Artificial Intelligence (AI)? Pentagon Partners presents a unique opportunity for 400-level and 500-level undergraduate law students to participate in the National Essay Competition.

Competition Overview:

Pentagon Partners National Essay Competition for Undergraduate Law Students

The National Essay Competition invites undergraduate law students to showcase their expertise and contribute to the discourse on AI, privacy, and data protection. In addition to cash prizes, participants have the chance to intern with Pentagon Partners, gaining valuable hands-on experience.

Competition Requirements:

1. Eligibility:

   – The competition is open to 400-level and 500-level undergraduate law students in Nigerian universities.

2. Essay Requirements:

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   – Length: Essays should not exceed 1500 words.

   – Format: Double spaced, 12pt Times New Roman font.

   – References: OSCOLA format for citations with 10pt font size for footnotes and endnotes.

   – Submission Format: Essays must be submitted in PDF format.

   – Entrant Details: Include full names, school, level, phone number, and email address in both the body of the email and on the last page of the essay.

   – Single Entry: Each entrant is allowed only one submission.

   – Originality: Plagiarism will result in automatic disqualification.

Competition Benefits and Timeline:

1. Prizes:

   – Winner: N200,000

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   – 1st Runner Up: N150,000

   – 2nd Runner Up: N100,000

2. Internship Opportunity:

   – In addition to cash prizes, winners have the exclusive opportunity to intern with Pentagon Partners, enhancing their career prospects.

Application Procedure:

– Interested participants should submit their essays to during the submission period.

– The subject of the email should be the Essay topic

For additional information and updates, visit

Deadline: March 22nd, 2024

Don’t miss this chance to showcase your legal expertise, contribute to important discussions on AI and law, and vie for enticing cash prizes. Pentagon Partners looks forward to receiving your submissions.

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The SystemSpecs Children’s Day Essay Competition (CDEC) is an annual event aimed at fostering innovative thinking among primary and secondary school students in Nigeria. It provides a platform for young minds to propose technological solutions to national challenges.

Inaugurated in 2020, the CDEC is part of SystemSpecs’ Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) commitment to promoting capacity development in the Nigerian ICT industry. By encouraging young Nigerians to tackle everyday issues, the competition contributes to intellectual growth and societal progress.

SystemSpecs Children’s Day Essay Competition (CDEC), 2024

The theme for the 2024 competition is “Protecting the Nigerian Child from the Dangers of Online Technology.” Participants are tasked with exploring strategies to safeguard children in an increasingly digital world.

– Open to primary and secondary school students in Nigeria aged 9 to 16.


– Junior category (ages 9 to 12) essays must not exceed 1,000 words.

– Senior category (ages 13 to 16) essays must not exceed 1,500 words.


– Winners will receive generous rewards, including a high-capacity laptop, premium headphones, a portable laptop stand, a smart wristwatch, and one year of internet data, among other items.

– Consolation prizes will be awarded to other participants.

Application Process:

– Interested candidates should access the application page 

– Essays must be written in English and reflect original thought.

– Each participant is limited to one entry.

– Entries must be endorsed by an accredited school official, parent, or legal guardian.

– Deadline for submissions is April 12, 2024.

Submission Guidelines:

– All submissions must be in PDF format and include the student’s name, home and school addresses, email address, and contact phone number.

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– Double entries will result in automatic disqualification.

– Submissions must be received by March 15, 2024, at 5:00 p.m.

Notification of Winners:

– Successful students and schools will be contacted in the second quarter of the year.

– Updates on winners will be announced on @nercng social media platforms.

The SystemSpecs Children’s Day Essay Competition offers a unique opportunity for Nigerian students to demonstrate their creativity and problem-solving skills. By addressing the theme of online child protection, participants contribute to building a safer and more secure digital environment for all. We encourage eligible students to seize this opportunity and showcase their talent and ingenuity.

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