The distribution of Permanent Voters Card (PVC) exercise organized by Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Lagos State has been condemned by the All Progressive Congress (APC) describing it as a colossal failure.
Speaking at a press conference organized by the Lagos chapter of the party and its national leadership at the party secretariat in Lagos, weekend, the APC national leader and former Lagos State Governor, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, described the exercise as a total waste of time and a colossal failure, noting that it is unacceptable to the party both at the state and national levels.
He said the announcement by the INEC a day to the exercise to cover eleven (11) Local Government Areas, LGAs, out of the state 20 LGAs shows the commission’s unpreparedness, adding that it was a deliberate act by INEC and the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, to rig the 2015 general elections.
“If in 11 LGAs, INEC has failed to even satisfy those who registered in 2011 to collect their PVC and by now it has not been able to start the registration of those who are 18 years and above that should be capture and giving the right to vote, INEC according to electoral act has minimum of 30 days to the elections to display the comprehensive Voters Register, VR. If INEC had four (4) years to do this exercise and is unprepared, with four months to the general elections, how possible for INEC to satisfy the electoral act, 30 days to February, if it has not be able to do it now? As far as I am concerned, it is a deliberate collusion by INEC and PDP to rig elections”.
Tinubu urged Nigerians to ask INEC the reason for the delay in the distribution of the PVC across the 20 LGs, noting that is a deliberate strategy to disfranchise Nigerians from exercising their civil right.
“We ask INEC why it cannot stop the entire exercise until it is ready to do the entire 20 LGAs. We suspect that some elements are working in cahoots with the ruling party, PDP, to deliberately bungle the exercise in order to favor the ruling party. INEC has done nothing but a trial run in Lagos. The 11 LGAs for distribution is below 20 percent of total registered voters in Lagos. We adjudge this exercise a colossal failure”.
“INEC has set in motion a process dripping in doubt and susceptible to fraud and manipulation. One is forced to believe INEC is not this incompetent but that it now acts in direct collusion with the ruling party, PDP, to disfranchise eligible voters and rig the elections”.
According to Tinubu, by the shoddy and disorganized and unreliable method of distributing the PVCs in the 11 LGAs, INEC has shown its hands. They are unclean. There is no way it will not appear to any reasonable person or analytical mind that there is something amiss.
He said there are no assurances that INEC will correct the anomalies in Lagos and be able to register those omitted and new eligible voters.
“INEC had four long years since 2011 elections to perfect the register, yet it waited till the last minute and failed to deliver to Nigeria a credible register. This is a grave abdication of duty and portends ill for the upcoming elections. What can INEC do in four months that it has been unable to do in four long years? One wonders if it takes INEC this long to produce a comprehensive Voters Register, and Permanent Voters Card, PVC, then how would it handle the national elections? No state was alerted about the troubling issues with the VR. If Lagos is a test case, INEC has failed. INEC set the date for the commencement of the distribution of the PVC, yet it knew it was not ready, INEC is unable to cover at once the 20 Local Government Areas in Lagos where registered voters stand at 6, 247, 845 million against INEC claim of roughly 4.8 million. INEC has announced that it can distribute PVCs in only 11 LGAs in the first instance in Lagos State instead of all the 20. Even for the 11 LGAs, there is so much confusion and disorganization in the distribution such that by the second day of the exercise just 20 percent have received their PVCs. We must also query INEC as to what percentage of total registered voters the 11 LGAs constitute”.
The APC leader queried INEC for the sudden reduction on the total number of registered voters in the state from 6,247,845 million to INEC claimed of 4.8 million.
“Relying on INEC’s claimed of good faith, we devoted significant time, energy and resources to mobilize people to register to vote in Lagos. We did this by creating awareness about the importance of the exercise. Our citizens responded. A total of 6,247,845 million registered. Surprisingly, the recent figure claimed by INEC has whittled that figure down to 4.8 million. The reasons for this sudden and steep drop are shrouded in mystery and suspicious due to the lack of INEC transparency. Polling Units whose registered voters have been reduced to zero are on the increase and the number of such empty units now stands at a staggering 1801. Not included in this 1801 are people who have attained voting age of 18 and eligible to be register as voters. The question INEC needs to answer is how did all these names get wiped down to zero? The voters did not disappear but something made their names disappeared from INEC’s roll. Something sinister is afoot. INEC must make public the entire Lagos register”.