The Speaker of the Nigerian House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, has tasked Nigerian students to fully participate in the 2023 elections by voting for candidates based on their records.
He gave the advice in Abuja while welcoming executive members of the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS), led by their President, Usman Barambu, to his office at the National Assembly.
The students were on a “thank you” visit to the Speaker over resolving the 8-month industrial action by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU).
While appreciating the visit, the Speaker highlighted the importance of the Nigerian youth in national development, saying, “you are a significant segment of Nigeria for national development.
“We cannot overemphasise the role of youth in society because you play a critical part in what happens now and in the future.
“It need to understand that we recognise the importance of your place in national development.”
Gbajabiamila said students could not afford to be detached from the presidential election process as the country’s future was at stake.
“You all have a lot to do between now and election day.
“Begin to look at things differently, especially how things are done in other climes, like politics and elections,” he stated.
“We have so many candidates, not three, not four. People may talk about having three frontrunners, but we have 18 candidates running for the President of this country, and I don’t think you should overlook any of them.
“What I believe you can do, as in advanced democracies, is to look objectively.
“People run on their records. If a candidate does not have a record of running and is talking about something else, it means that he doesn’t have a record to run on,” Gbajabiamila said.
He also said, “The good thing is that most of the candidates, at least the frontrunners, have records. I’m not pitching for anybody here but look at their records. If you feel they deserve to be the President of Nigeria, please, do not hesitate. Vote for that person based on his record.
“That is the only charge I have for you today because that’s the most important thing before us in Nigeria right now.”
The Speaker added that the Nigerian youths should not pass up the opportunity to elect political leaders on their terms, which could only be achieved with full participation in the electoral process.
Earlier, the NANS President, Barambu, said the visit was to show the Nigerian students’ appreciation for the Speaker’s efforts concerning the ASUU crisis.
He also asked the Speaker about the students’ request regarding the possibility of the authorities waiving a year of the school calendar to usher in good academic work, having lost almost three years because of the pandemic and the ASUU strike.
The students further requested the intervention of the Speaker on the possibility of waiving the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) service year age for graduates who might have passed the age limit because of the time lost.