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Students protest in Edo, want guber polls postponed

Secondary School students in their hundreds on Monday called for a shift in date of the gubernatorial election in Edo State scheduled to hold on Saturday, September 10 to another date as they said the day clashed with their Mathematics examination also scheduled by the West African Examination Council (WAEC).

The students stormed the Government House with placards with various inscriptions said holding the examination and the poll same day would disenfranchise them.

Spokesman for the students, Iko Emmanuel Moses said “our position about the General Certificate Examination (GCE) in Edo State, the scheduled governorship election on the 10th of September, with a deep sense of regret and pains, we wish to express and oppose the disturbing circumstances surrounding the above examination of this year and its effect on our expected performance in the examination.

“The plan to relocate us out of Edo State, our state to other regions to sit for the examination because of the September 10 election in Edo State as scheduled by INEC is an ill wind which will affect our chance to perform well in the examination. We have found this situation very disturbing, discouraging and we cannot take the risk.”

He continued, “Remember this that the conduciveness of an environment has a great impact on the performance and outcome of examinations for students. We enrolled for this examination in Edo State and we have prepared for the examination in Edo State environment. We are used to the environment for safety, comfort, accessibility of examination centres and psychology.

“You will agree with me that a threat to the above is a threat to us, and even the outcome of the examination. We want to humbly say that as the election is important to the nation, so is our exam important to us, and even more important to us because, without a good education, we cannot grow up to participate in the Nigerian democracy.”

He said, “This examination is about our future, and therefore, we will not take or accept the risk. We call on INEC to do something about this situation. We call on all the political parties concerned to do something to save our future. The examination has already started in Edo State and it will be dangerous to now move us out of the terrain we are already used to and compel us to write the most important ones outside the state.

President Muhammadu Buhari should come to our aid. The Comrade Governor should also come to our aid. Our future must not be sacrificed for election.”

One of the parents who joined the students in the protest said “what I want you to know, your Excellency, is that there’s going to be a strong financial commitment to the parents, taking the children to other states will involve accommodation, feeding and it will bite deep into our already lean purse. So I want to appeal to you that this should be reconsidered. We are quite aware that WAEC is a regional examination and so it cannot be shifted, we are also thinking of how the election itself is shifted so that we will have time for our children and also for them to vote.”

In his response, Governor Adams Oshiomhole said he would pass their protest letter to the President, saying the election was fixed by INEC which is an independent body.

Governor Adams Oshiomhole of Edo says the responsibility for fixing the governorship election in the State rests on the Independent National Electoral Commission, explaining that he was not consulted when the election for September 10 was scheduled.

He said, there are two examinations that are due, one for the people of Edo to write exams on whom they want to be their governor, and you yourselves to write exams which will constitute the foundation of your future. But let me first tell you the whole truth because when I listened to you and you were appealing to me, I am touched. But I get the impression that you probably think that I am responsible for this decision. I am not.

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