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GROUP TASKS INEC ON STUDENTS' FRANCHISE

By NBF News
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The Co-ordinator of LYNX-Nigeria, David Busa-Buji, has appealed to the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Professor Attahiru Jega, to revisit the issue of students' enfranchisement in the forthcoming elections.

In an open letter to Jega, which was made available to Daily Sun, the group said the closure of tertiary institutions in the country during elections often resulted in massive disenfranchisement of students.

Speaking on behalf of students, LYNX-Nigeria urged Jega to liaise with other stakeholders in the education sector and ensure that universities remained open during the period to allow students, who registered on campus, to exercise their franchise.

To drum up support for this year's election, the group joined other 25 youth organisations collaborating with the Enough is Enough Coalition (EiE) in kicking off the RSVP campaign in Lagos on Tuesday.

Speaking at event, the Project Manager, Chioma Ogwuegbu, decried the apathy of some youths to politics and harped on the need for full participation in the voters' registration exercise kicking off on January 15.

Explaining the RSVP campaign, Ogwuegbu said young people, who constituted a sizeable population of the country, needed to 'Register to vote, Select credible candidates, Vote and Protect their votes.'

'We call on all Nigerians, especially those within the 18 to 35-year-age bloc to turn up at all the registration centres close to your location and register. Their ability to be part of the registration exercise will give them an opportunity to elect leaders of choice and thereby allow Nigerians to decide on whom to govern them,' she said.

Ogwuegwu said campaign messages would be relayed through campus hall and town hall meetings, noting that voter education, covering the six geo-political zones, would be funded by INEC.

She said celebrity walks had been arranged to increase more participation in the exercise, as youths would march together with notable celebrities to registration centres.

According to Ogwuegbu, other social networking sites would be utilised for the exercise nationwide. He appealed to those who might face challenges of registration to send in their reports via e-mails, sms, facebook, twitter and other hot lines that would be made public. These reports, according to her, would be communicated to the electoral body for immediate attention.

The project manager explained that the coalition comprised young professionals and youth organisations committed to instituting a culture of good governance and public accountability in Nigeria through advocacy, activism and the mobilisation of the youth population as responsible citizens.