4th February, 2015
The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, says Lagos State now has 5.9 million registered voters ahead of next week’s presidential election.
The commission has also deployed its staff to all polling units in Lagos to distribute the Permanent Voter’s Cards, PVCs in the next five days.
Lagos State Governor, Babatunde Fashola addressed newsmen on Thursday evening after a meeting with INEC’s Resident Electoral Commissioner, REC, for Lagos, Akin Orebiyi.
He said from his interface with the REC, Lagos now has 5,905,000 registered voters, urging all residents who had registered but who had not collected their PVCs to proceed to their polling units from today by 8.30am to start collecting their cards.
Speaking at the State House, Ikeja, Lagos, southwest Nigeria, Fashola said the REC had briefed him of the readiness of INEC to commence the distribution exercise from Wednesday 8.30a.m to 5.30p.m in the evening daily and lasting till Sunday.
He stated that what has changed is that from the former Wards Collation Offices of INEC, the collection has been moved closer to the people at the primary places where they usually vote and which they are familiar with and irrespective of where they registered.
The governor also advised all those who have registered freshly to also proceed to the Polling Units where INEC has made arrangements to distribute the PVC to them, stressing that in case there are difficulties the state government would continue to work with INEC towards providing solutions.
“I would keep an eye to see this new phase of the exercise. It allows the people the opportunity to vote and as I said, this exercise would start Wednesday. There are five days to do this, so that as many people as possible and hopefully everybody who is registered can get theirs at their poling units,” he stated.
On what Lagosians should expect from the latest exercise, Fashola said it is for them to make out time and go out and make the sacrifice, adding that he would continue to insist that the umpire must get it right.
“I know people have tried. I have heard people say they have been to the places, the Ward Offices eight times and some four times and for me if you have made that kind of efforts, the real success must come in not giving up and I don’t give up and that is why I continue to address the issue.
“I have made state broadcasts, I have granted interviews, I won’t give up on our people. They must get a chance to participate so the people themselves must be willing to persist and to persevere so that they will get an opportunity to have a say in how their affairs are ordered by being able to vote at the next elections,” he explained.
He appealed to such people to see the hitherto unsuccessful efforts as adversity and hopefully when they succeed they would have the final joy on election days to say they finally voted and that would be the real success story in the difficult exercise of collecting Permanent Voter’s Cards.
When reminded that he was yet to collect his PVC, the governor maintained that he won’t give up and that INEC has acknowledged that it has received quite a number of more voter’s cards and his is presumably amongst them.
Affirming that he would not collect the PVC until the majority of Lagosians collect theirs, he declared: “A captain does not leave a ship when there is crisis and I must make sure all the passengers are safely evacuated so I want Lagosians to get theirs first. As a Governor, I enjoy certain privileges but I can’t go ahead of them so I want them to take the fullest benefit of this exercise before I collect mine.”