Governor Babatunde Fashola of Lagos State, yesterday, described the 4.8 million registered voters figure for Lagos State by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, as questionable even as the electoral body is set to distribute Permanent Voters’ Cards, PVCs, to that number of people in the State starting from Friday, November 7 to 9, 2014,
The Resident Electoral Commissioner of INEC in the state, Dr. Adekunle Ogunmola, had on October 29, announced the commission’s decision.
Fashola also described the figure as an attempt to disenfranchise majority of Lagos electorate in the forthcoming 2015 general elections as it showed a shortfall of 1,447,845 to the previously released 6,247,845 registered voters announced by INEC in the registration exercise before the 2011 elections.
Meantime, the governor has declared Friday, November 7, 2014, a work-free day for public servants to enable them participate in the first day of the PVCs distribution, which is a working day out of the three days earmarked for collection by INEC.
The governor made the remarks in a special state-wide broadcast to residents on the commencement of the issuance of PVCs by INEC in the state, held at the State House, Marina, Lagos.
Fashola noted that with the commencement of the process of issuance of PVCs in Lagos, the process for elections has therefore, started saying, election is a process, starting from voters’ registration, to balloting, to announcement of results and to election petition and swearing in of elected persons.
“So for the avoidance of any doubt, elections have started,” he said.
According to the governor; “This obligation has become very important because of the reports emanating from INEC at a press briefing by the Resident Electoral Commissioner in Lagos that the number of voters in Lagos is now 4,800,000.
“This is strange, it is surprising and I believe INEC owes the people of Lagos a lot of answers and very quickly too.
“INEC must explain to us how 1,447,845 voter registration cards disappeared to leave Lagos with only 4,800,000 registered voters.
“INEC has itself attempted to ascribe the disappearance of 1,447,845 registered voters on its register in Lagos to what it calls “consolidation”; “Business Rule” and AFIS.”
“Lagosians demand to know what these terms mean. Are they provided for in the Electoral Act?
“Are they INEC’s plans to disenfranchise Lagosians from exercising their rights to choose their own representatives?
“Are they part of a plan to confer an undue-advantage in the next elections to any person or to frustrate the choice of Lagosians as we have seen in other states?,” asked the governor.