Felix Ikem, Nsukka
As part of efforts to eliminate Students Union Government (SUG) election violence and to upgrade its technology systems, the University of Nigeria Nsukka (UNN) has successfully conducted its first biometric SUG election.
The Dean of Students’ Affairs, Prof Edwin Omeje, speaking to reporters in Nsukka on Monday, said that the election, which took place on the 13th and 21st February at the Nnamdi Azikiwe Library building, required students to sign-in and vote for the candidate of their choice through designated computers.
He explained that student voters were accredited biometrically after which they were logged-in to designated computers where the names of candidates appeared, logging off after voting.
He added that the process has eliminated the usual crisis and vote rigging associated with the manual process of SUG elections, noting that the process has received commendation by the students and staff of the institution.
“We have the mandate of the school authority to conduct peaceful, fair and credible SUG elections using biometric method,” Omeje stated.
“The school has been witness to challenges associated with manual election at the global scene and at the national level, so we felt that innovatively we should shift on the manual to something that should give us a facelift, and that is the biometrics.
“The real essence of the method is to avert troubles associated with manual systems which include violence, corruption, rigging,” the Dean said.
Prof Omeje added that Vice-Chancellor Charles Igwe was elated at the success of the process, saying the “VC never interfered in the process nor had any candidate and actually didn’t even know the contestants as he was only interested in a credible exercise.
“The administration will cooperate with those who won in the election to better the welfare of the students and the university community, as the university was intent on grooming good and responsible leaders for future generations.”
He added that the students’ affairs department has concluded arrangements to take the elected student union leaders to a leadership retreat that will expose them to good leadership skills as soon as they are sworn in.
In a chat with Daily Sun, the UNN SUG president-elect, Ani Stephen, he applauded school authorities for introducing the biometric election process.
“The process of the election was credible, transparent and violence-free, it gave all the student the opportunity to participate and exercise their franchise.
“I commend the school authority for making this historic process possible and I assure that my leadership will be one that the students and the school authorities will be proud of,” he said.
Ani, a 300 level student of Political Science Department, also promised that he will carry his opponents along in the affairs of the Union.
Aro Akachukwu and Nwachukwu Malachi were elected vice-president and secretary-general, respectively.