By Victoria Aliyogbe

The presidential candidate of the Labour Party (LP), Peter Obi, has said over three million Nigerian students who are eligible to vote in the forthcoming presidential election should not be disenfranchised.

He made this statement yesterday during a meeting with observers from the European Union, Election Observation Mission (EU-EOM).

He said about 3.5 million students may not be able to vote if at least one week holiday is not given to enable them to return to their area of registration.

He said: “I am sure the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) will do the right thing. I am sure the universities will give them the break to go and vote. It is important because it is about their future this election is about these young people and I’m sure they will allow them to go and vote. We will continue to mention it to them as we go along.”

The LP candidate also expressed concern about the inability of some Nigerians in a few states, particularly in Lagos State, to collect their Permanent Voters Cards (PVCs). He said: “For me now, what is important is ensuring that people collect their PVCs. There are some areas where people are still complaining that they are being denied their PVCs for one reason or the other. INEC must give them attention.

“I must give INEC credit for extending the date for the collection of PVC but again I urge them to ensure that people collect their PVC. This election is very important to Nigerians. It is an existential election. We want all those that have registered to participate.”

The National Chairman of the Labour Party, Barrister Julius Abure said the youth has a stake in the coming election they are the ones that bear the brunt of maladministration. He said: “When the voter registration was ongoing, most of the university students were at home and they did their registration at home.

“Right now they are in school and if they remain in school during the election, it means they will be denied the opportunity to vote. So we are asking that a one-week break should be given as a holiday to enable them to go and vote. You would have excluded them, if they have their PVC and are not in the place where they can use it to vote.”

“Generally, the country is insecure. We want the security to improve before and during the election because if security is not guaranteed we may have a situation were legitimate voters may be afraid to come out on the election days to vote.

“So, there must be assurances that security will be beefed up. So we need the security agencies, the commander in chief to continously give the assurances that security will be guaranteed on that day.

“And the security agencies themselves because we have had situations where the security agencies are being used to rig election or create an enabling environment for elections to be manipulated or in some cases facilitate vote buying.”

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