Ahead of the 2019 election, the Association of Sabbatarian Youths of Nigeria, that observes its holy day of worship on Saturdays, has protested against fixing of elections on Saturdays.
The group in its statement claimed that over 43 million of their members across the country would be stopped from voting in 2019 if the situation was not rescheduled.
In a protest letter addressed to President Muhammadu Buhari, the National President of the association, Evangelist B.K. Udezeh and National Secretary, Mr. C.N.Orji, said it was an established fact that three internationally recognized worshiping days were Sunday, Friday, and Saturday.
They said while Sunday was for Christians, Saturday was for the Jews, while Friday was for Muslims, and that all had international recognition.
“It was only in Nigeria that most of the national activities/elections were being conducted on Saturdays, thereby depriving Saturday worshipers their rights to vote and be voted for and to participate in other national activities as eligible citizens of Nigeria.
“It is worthy of note that the considerable number of Sabbatarian Youths electors are more than eight million people and more than thirty-five million non-youth members of Sabbath eligible to vote. These people are being deprived of their franchise due to the conduct of elections on Saturdays, which is their holy day of worship.
“Records show that the number of previous recorded votes were far below the number, who had their Permanent Voter Card, PVC. This is one of the contributing factors.
“We want to refer to the constitutional provisions according every citizen of this country, the right and freedom of worship/religion. It is simple to conduct national elections any other day apart from the three internationally recognized days of worship.
“Laws and International Conventions have determined that every citizen of a country, who is eligible to vote, shall be allowed to exercise his/her franchise and any election conducted, which excludes some eligible citizens from voting, amounts to disenfranchisement.
“Despite the status given to the right to vote on the international scene, and notwithstanding the fact that Nigeria has ratified these international instruments, it is disconcerting to discover that we have not been accorded the voting rights.
“It is our strong view that we should be allowed to exercise this right. Therefore, we see no reason why we should be imposed with laws, which have to be obeyed by every citizen without giving an opportunity to partake in electing those who will govern us and make those laws which we obey.
“We therefore, ask our distinguished President to hearken to our petition and attend to it as an urgent matter before the upcoming election of 2019, to ensure our exercise of franchise and participation in the election.”