The Federal Government has directed all Vice Chancellors and heads of tertiary institutions to close their campuses for the forthcoming 2023 general elections. The decision to close universities, polytechnics and colleges of education is in order to allow millions of Nigerian students to exercise their voting rights.
In January 2023, an exclusive story was carried out, alerting the government that about 3.8 million students may be disenfranchised if tertiary institutions remained open during elections.
The Federal Government, through agencies in charge of the universities, polytechnics and colleges of education has sent circulars to Vice Chancellors, rectors and provosts to close for the forthcoming presidential and gubernatorial elections.
In the circulars sent to VCs through the National Universities Commission (NUC), government directed all tertiary institutions to close from Wednesday, February 22 to Tuesday, March 14 2023.
In the circular signed by the Deputy Executive (Administration), Dr. Chris Maiyaki, titled: “Ministerial Directive on the closure of all universities and Inter University Center during the Upcoming 2023 general elections” NUC said based on the concern expressed on the security of staff, students and properties of the institutions, the Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu, in consultation with the relevant security agencies, has directed universities and inter university centres to shut down, and academic activities be suspended between February 22 and March 14.
A senior management staff of a Federal College in the North said that his institution was yet to receive the circular from the National Commission for Colleges of Education (NCCE) but was aware of the government’s directive for tertiary institutions to close for the forthcoming polls.
He said that since the circular was a directive from the minister of education, it will involve colleges of education and the provosts will definitely comply with the ministerial directive.
Deeper investigations revealed that rectors of polytechnics were awaiting the circular from the National Board for Technical Education (NBTE).
Meanwhile, in compliance with the directive, the authorities of the University of Lagos (UNILAG), Akoka, have approved lecture free weeks during the stated days to enable students to vote during the presidential and governorship elections.
The announcement was contained in UNILAG Campus News titled: “Fourth Revised Academic Calendar for second semester, 2021/2022 session.