INEC Must Explain Disappearance Of 1.44 Million Voters From Lagos Voters List -FasholaFeatured, Latest News, Politics Wednesday, November 5th, 2014
As the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) begins distribution of Permanent Voters Cards (PVCs) in Lagos on Friday, Lagos Governor, Mr. Babatunde Fashola has asked the electoral body to explain to Lagosians and Nigeria how the names of 1.44 million voters disappeared from the voters list in the state.
INEC had said recently that only 4.8 million PVCs would be distributed in Lagos between Friday and Sunday.
In a broadcast to commemorate the distribution of the PVCs in Lagos on Wednesday at the State House, Marina, Lagos, Nigeria, Fashola lamented that 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 4.8 million was not cheering.
He said during the last election in 2011, the list displayed by INEC showed that 6.247 million voters were duly registered in Lagos, but was appalled by the announcement by INEC that the figure had dropped to 4.8 million.
“This is strange, it is surprising and I believe INEC owes the people of Lagos a lot of answers and very quickly too. At the conclusion of voters registration exercise before the 2011 elections, the number of registered voters in Lagos as announced by INEC itself was 6,247,845.
“This was an exercise conducted by INEC. This was an exercise where INEC boasted to Nigerian that it has secured an Automatic Fingerprint Identification System (AFIS) to ensure the credibility of the Voters Register. INEC must explain to us how voters disappeared from among 1,447,845 to leave Lagos with only 4.8 million 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 there 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?
“Let me assert very clearly and categorically that our Government will vigorously stand on the side of every eligible and previously registered voter to have their name back on the Voters Register compiled in 2011 unless INEC can show legitimate reasons why this should not be so,” he stated.
The governor, however, said the commencement of the distribution of the PVCs signified that the electoral process had begun, as this process had always taken place once every four years in Nigeria.
According to him, in order for democracy to be truly representative, it must be participatory, which means that everybody who is 18 years old from today is eligible to vote in the next election.
“However, participation imposes a duty on all of us, if we must have a say in the election. The first duty is to register as a voter, to be eligible to vote on balloting day next year. This is the time when we must take that civic duty very seriously by making the sacrifice, by finding the time, by making the effort to ensure that our names are still on the Voters’ Register, if we voted or registered at the last election.
“If you fall into this category, you must do whatever it takes to go to the polling centre where you registered or voted, to collect your Permanent Voters Card. If you do this, then you are ready to vote on balloting day next year. No business, no job, no obligation that you have can be more important than dedicating one day to collect your Permanent Voters Card so that nobody will impersonate you and use your card,” he stated.
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