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Utazi Enoch Wins UNN SUG President Election Amid Voting Challenges

By Kenechukwu Onah &Joshua Esuola

5 Min Read
The New SUG president, UNN (2022/2023)

University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN) – Enoch Utazi has secured victory in the Student Union Government (SUG) presidential election for the 2022/2023 academic session at the Nsukka Campus of the University. The election, which took place at the Nnamdi Azikiwe Library, witnessed a close competition as Utazi, a pharmacy student, garnered 1720 votes, defeating his opponent, Nwafor Raluchukwu, a student of the social work department, who received a total of 1264 votes.

Utazi’s victory was met with support from various students who cited his leadership capabilities as the reason for their backing. Victor Onyishi, a student of pharmaceutical sciences, expressed his trust in Utazi, highlighting their shared history. He stated, “I support my candidate because I share a bond with him as not only my faculty mate but also because I know him down to earth. He is from my hometown and, in addition to that, had been my leader in the past. I want him to do again what he had done before. I trust what he can do.”

Onyishi also emphasized that his support was not based on campaign manifestos, noting, “The manifesto is only a paper political promise, and I can’t choose my candidate based on that. I support someone I know that when he gets into the office, he will perform.”

However, Emmanuel Mmaduabuchi, a student of the political science department, supported Nwafor, stating his loyalty to candidates from the same faculty. He mentioned, “In my first year, during orientation, I was taught that no matter what, I should always do it in favor of my faculty or department even if it means dying for it.”

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Chidiebere Ojuanu, from the department of mass communication supported Utazi not due to personal relationships but because her initial candidate did not make it to the ballot after the screening process. Nevertheless, she believed that he would perform well as president.

While the election results brought about a victor, some students expressed dissatisfaction with the voting conditions. They reported overcrowded polling stations and alleged incidents of students being physically harmed during the voting process. Ojuanu remarked, “I don’t know why there is only one polling unit, but from what I have seen so far, this election is badly conducted. Just look at how rowdy the environment is.”

Some students pointed out that the voting experience was far from ideal. Somadina Eleke from the department of mass communication said, “The experience today is extremely bad. To even go inside to vote was a serious problem. I have tried severally to go in but the crowd here is too much, and the way things are managed seems extremely bad. Imagine that someone has fainted already here due to the dragging and squeezing here and there. The security operatives are not even helping matters.”

Esther Abonyi, a student from the faculty of agriculture, raised concerns about the conduct of security operatives, stating that they used force during the election. She said, “I don’t like the fact that the election started late. Also, I don’t seem to understand why the security operatives were flogging students with koboko. For crying out loud, this is their right, and they should be allowed to vote. That apart, I think the whole process was free and fair.”

Notably, Utazi’s victory marks the first time a student from the faculty of pharmaceutical sciences has become the SUG president in five years.

The election lasted for six hours, with many students unable to cast their votes due to the challenging voting conditions. Despite the challenges, most expressed satisfaction with the election’s outcome.

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