The National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) has solicited partnership with the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to ensure credible, free and fair conduct of the 2019 general elections.
The association made the call in Abakaliki on Tuesday when the Zone B leadership led by Mr Joshua Onwe visited the Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) in the state, Prof Godswill Obioma.
The leader said that NANS was a critical stakeholder in the electoral process but regretted that the students’ body had not been carried along in the INEC’s activities.
Onwe said that NANS was reaching out to its members across the country to mobilize 44 million Nigerian students for the elections.
He said that identifying with INEC was imperative for building the needed synergy and collaboration for promoting credible elections.
“Issues of under aged registration, voting irregularities, apathy and other forms of election malpractices will be checked if students’ body is carried along in the electoral process.
“We have our method of reaching to the people and sensitize them to get involved in the electoral process as well as shun electoral vices,” he added.
Onwe said that the electorate had placed confidence in the present leadership of INEC to conduct credible, free and fair elections both in Ebonyi and the country at large.
He urged the commission not to betray the confidence reposed in the electoral body, noting that Nigerians were desirous of credible leadership that would emerge through popular votes.
“The future and progress of the country lies in your ability to make the 2019 general elections credible, free and fair but one that the outcome should be generally accepted.
“We implore the commission to leave above board because they cannot afford to fail the people of the state,” Onwe said.
Onwe commended INEC for the measures being put in place to ensure that the general elections were devoid of electoral irregularities.
Responding, Obioma commended the students for the visit and assured readiness of the commission to partner NANS in the conduct of elections especially in Ebonyi.
He said that the commission would take steps to address some issues raised by the association including stepping down the voter registration exercise to school campuses.
The REC said that the commission had been meeting with its strategic partners for improved synergy and collaboration ahead of the elections.
“We are going to create an INEC – NANS desk to enhance our relationship, cooperation with the students’ body.
“We appeal to you to mobilize your members who are yet to register to go and get registered because your voter cards are your only licence and authority to participate in the elections,” Obioma said.
It was reported that NANS Zone B comprised of higher institutions in South-East and some parts of South-South Zone.