Officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on Friday discovered that the permanent voter’s cards of Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babatunde Fashola and his wife, Mrs. Abimbola Fashola, could not be found in the voter’s register in the state.
Likewise, no fewer than 500 hundred eligible voters, who registered at Surulere Ward G3, Fashola’s polling unit located at State Junior Secondary School suffered the same fate as the INEC continued the distribution of PVCs.
A notice was pasted at the polling unit to notify voters who had registered in the two wards on Itolo Street that they had no voters’ card. The commission asked them to register afresh at a later date.
The notice read in part: “We regret to inform you that those who registered in this polling unit do not have permanent voters’ cards. Please come back between 3rd and 8th December 2014 for fresh registration”.
But the Lagos State Resident Electoral Commissioner, Dr. Adekunle Ogunmola attributed the development to loss of data, which he said, arose from the crash of the commission’s computing system.
According to the resident commissioner, some of the data captured during the registration in 2010 crashed. This was the reason they lost about 1.4 million data for voters, he said, adding: “We are embarking on fresh registration for them and others who were unable to register in the 2010 registration.”
Apparently disappointed by the development, the governor, who had been sceptical of INEC’s preparedness for the 2015 elections, arrived his polling unit at about 2:05pm to see the notice pasted on the gate.
He described the situation as “collusion or inefficiency” on the path of INEC ahead of the polls, pointing out that with the development, the commission “has decided to thread the path of destruction.
“It is a shameful path. This is my polling unit. This is where I voted year after year. This is where I was registered. When INEC said they were ready to do distribution of voter’s cards, they said it was 7th to 9th of November, later they said they were not going to do all and that the balance will happen between 28th and 30th.
“So, Surulere was in the balance that was supposed to happen. So we are here today being November 28 and this is the notice they surreptitiously came to put here at night. We cannot collect our PVC”.
However, the governor urged those who faced similar fate to keep their temporary voters card as it was proof that they were captured in the INEC database.
“We would wait for INEC because they registered 6.4million of us in 2010, so whatever has happened, at least we have those cards, they can’t run away from us. Whether they like it or not, we would have elections and we would vote in spite of what Jega and his team may be planning.”
Asked whether he would participate in the fresh voters registration, the governor wondered what the essence of the first registration was since the commission could not produce their PVCs.
“This is an attempt to decimate our voting population in Lagos, it is clear now, so everyone who has the temporary voter’s card must hold it. Those who do not have who only turned 18, we would provide a means for them to participate in this election”.
He said he would observe how the Commission managed the situation before addressing residents further. Some residents who had gathered at the ward hoping to get their PVC were left to rue the situation as some wondered if INEC with the continuous hiccups is ready for the polls.