The Governor of Lagos state, Babatunde Fashola, has said the distribution of Permanent Voter Card, PVC, in state failed and called on the Independent National Electoral commission, INEC, to extend the exercise.
He alleged that the manner the exercise was conducted suggested that the Commission planned to disenfranchise the people of the state.
Mr. Fashola spoke on Tuesday shortly after he returned from Abuja.
Several Lagos residents had protested their inability to collect their PVCs during the between November 7 and 9 that the exercise lasted.
INEC also carried out the exercise in 12 other states, namely Adamawa, Borno, Edo, Imo, Kaduna, Kano, Katsina, Nasarawa, Niger, Ogun, Plateau and Rivers.
“I just returned from Abuja this morning and from what I have seen up till I left for Abuja yesterday, if Monday was the last day and people were still protesting to my office, it’s an exercise that has clearly not met the expectation of Lagosians,” Mr. Fashola said.
“It seems to me that if INEC does not mean not to disenfranchise them, the exercise must be extended. You cannot say you do not intend to this disenfranchise us and not give us the fullest opportunity to collect what enfranchises us, then what you say is unimportant because the only measure of proof that we have is what you do”.
Also speaking, a former chairman of Alimosho Local Government Area of Lagos State, Bola Ilori, said INEC’s failure to deliver the cards to Lagosians was a demonstration of poverty in leadership that Nigeria had been stuck with in the last 15 years.
He said, “Printing ATM cards now is so easy that you walk into a bank without issues, but INEC has been on this issue for eternity and we cannot continue like this. The greatest danger is the prospect of rigging that could arise. There are so many possibilities that we have seen in some other places could happen here.”
Mr. Ilori said Lagosians must learn from the Osun election where the collection of PVCs was not properly done.
He said at the end of the day, excuses would be made and some people would go behind, and give PDP people PVCs or people who they want to vote the card.
Mr Ilori, who is currently the Special Adviser to the Osun state Governor on Environment and Sanitation, said the PVCs were not missing, but that some people he did not name were planning to rig the 2015 general elections.
According to him, “I don’t want to believe that any PVC is missing because the PVCs are not something that is so difficult to produce and keep, an engine will not embezzle PVC, its human being that is behind all of this. So we really want to say that Nigerians must be alert and must not allow this go away, people should be on the matter not violently because they know the volume of votes coming Lagos is not small.
“For example, Alimosho local government, where I’ve been a chairman at one point in time, has a registered voters of over a million while the entire Bayelsa, which is called a state has over just N500,000 voters so you know why they will be against a place such as Alimosho.
For an entire rigging that will come from Bayelsa, Alimosho’s vote alone will neutralize it. So it is easy for them to say they did not see Alimosho’s PVCs and you can’t disenfranchise all those people and say all is well.”