Governor Babatunde Fashola of Lagos State has declared Friday, 7 November , 2014, as a work-free day for public servants to enable them participate in the first day of the Permanent Voters’ Cards, PVCs, distribution by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC.
The governor made the announcement 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.
Dr. Adekunle Ogunmola, the Resident Electoral Commissioner of INEC in Lagos state, had on 29 October announced that residents in Lagos would be expected to start collection of their permanent voters’ cards from 7-9 November, 2014. And Friday is a working day out of the three days earmarked for collection by INEC.
Fashola had noted that with the commencement of the process of issuance of PVCs in Lagos, the process for elections has therefore, started.
The governor stated that 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,” Fashola said.
Meanwhile, while commenting on the distribution of PVCs by INEC, Fashola described the 4.8 million registered voters figure for Lagos State given by the electoral body as questionable.
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?”
Lagosians would go to the polls next year to elect new governor after Governor Fashola of the All Progressives Congress, APC, would have ruled for eight years.