By Samuel Ogundipe
Lagos State Governor, Babatunde Raji Fashola, on Wednesday, accused the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), of tampering with the Permanent Voters Cards of about 1.447 million residents of the state.
The governor raised the alarm during a statewide broadcast he made on Wednesday in which he also declared Friday a public holiday for all state employees to be able to obtain their PVCs.
Fashola said he was shocked to discover that INEC would be distributing 4.8 million PVCs this year, as against the 6.247 million the electoral umpire distributed in 2011. The allegation is coming just a few days to the commencement of voters’ card distribution across the state by INEC. Distribution begins on Friday, November 7, and ends on Sunday, November 9.
“I am concerned about the report of 4.8 million voters in Lagos State. INEC owes us explanation. During the last election, the voters’ list in Lagos was 6,247,845 voters. We want to know how 1,447,804 million voters disappeared from the voters’ list.
“I am worried whether this is the beginning of a plan to disenfranchise Lagosians to vote. Our government will stand for all eligible voters to have their names in the register unless INEC could prove why their names were missing on the lists.
“INEC has to show to us what has suddenly changed, there must be explanation. It does not make sense to say we are 6.247 million and now say we are 4.8 million. There must be explanation,” the visibly angry governor said.
He, however, urged all eligible voters in the state to make sure that they’re registered in order to ensure that they’re not disenfranchised in the coming polls.
“You have to register as a voter to be eligible to vote. We must take it seriously to make sure our names are in the voters’ register. Go to the polling centre to collect your PVC. No business or job can be more important than to collect your PVC. Between 7-9 November, for those who want to collect the PVC, they should go our and collect them,” he said.
The governor also implored all private employers in the state to close early on Friday in order to give their staff the necessary time to collect their PVCs.
INEC did not immediately respond to a request for comment from the Western Post.