More than one million students of federal and state universities across the country may not vote during the forthcoming general elections due to the lingering strike by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU).

 A high percentage of the about two million university students across the country, who registered to vote in their various institutions, may not have the opportunity to exercise their political rights during the polls due to the ongoing industrial action.

The Guardian learnt that most of the students stay in school hostels, which are currently under lock and keys.

Parents are also likely not to allow their children to go back to school to participate in the elections, knowing full well that the institutions are on strike and universities may not be able to provide adequate security for their wards.

Although private universities are in session, the National Universities Commission (NUC) said about 75 of them only accounted for less than six per cent of the students’ population in the country’s university system.

ASUU had on November 4, 2018 begun an indefinite strike over the failure of the Federal Government to implement three areas in the Memorandum of Action it signed with the union on September 14, 2017.

Briefing journalists before ASUU started the strike on November 5, its National President, Prof. Biodun Ogunyemi, said all entreaties made to the government to honour the agreement with the union fell on deaf ears and they had no alternative but to begin the strike.

Ogunyemi alleged that the government was not interested in public universities as the children of the top politicians and rich men in the society patronise private universities to the detriment of public institutions.

Both sides have met four times without resolving the crisis, thus forcing students of public universities, who constitute the majority of INEC ad hoc staff during elections, to stay at home.

 In an interview with The Guardian yesterday in Abuja, the ASUU president said the strike was not targeted at the elections.

According to him, the students and other members of the university community are free to participate in elections, as they were not told to boycott them.

 

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