The National Leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and former Governor of Lagos State, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu on Saturday condemned the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for the shoddy manner it is handling the distribution of Permanent Voters Cards in Lagos State, describing it as a ploy to rig the forthcoming 2015 election in collusion with the Presidency.
Asiwaju Tinubu, who spoke at a Press Conference alongside State leaders of the party at the State Secretariat of the APC at Acme Road, Ogba, urged registered voters to be vigilant as the development unfolds.
He affirmed that the exercise, which is in its second day, had failed because in many of the Wards of the 11 Local Governments, people are not locating their names while in some instances names of residents in a particular local governments have been swapped with that of another council.
Tinubu wondered why INEC could not get the process right in almost four years after it organized the last general elections maintaining that the de-listing of several eligible voters, the hitches and the seeming failures were deliberate plans to pave way for the rigging of the election in favour of the opposition party in Lagos.
The former Governor who was flanked by the Chairman of APC in Lagos State, Henry Ajomale and other members of the party in Lagos said,”This Permanent Voters Collection exercise has failed and it is not acceptable. We will consider it as a rigging exercise being practiced. INEC has colluded with the Presidency, the opposing party to rig this election from the database to the end.
“For four years you are unable to provide the Permanent Voters Card for those who are already in the record, and you are at this last minute, few months to the election still not ready with the voters cards in these 20 local government areas, you have not published the figures of those who were left out of the system as a result of one fault or the other and no disclosures on them.
“You have not been able to rectify the anomalies and irregularities that might have been involved. You have not been able by now to even start the exercise for those who are 18 years and above that should be captured and be given the right to vote. If you have four years for this exercise and four to five months to this election you are still giving excuse, you have failed,” he said.
Tinubu, who queried the decision of INEC to reduce the number of registered voters in Lagos from over 6million to 4.8 million challenged the electoral body to publish the names of all those who allegedly took part in multiple registration, adding that the electoral umpire has no powers to disqualify anybody on the basis that he registered twice, saying it is only the court of law that can make pronouncements on that.
According to him, “INEC must publish the names of close to 2 million voters excluded from the voters list, INEC is not the court of law, and you cannot exclude Nigerians from exercising their franchise. You cannot automatically without the court of law pronouncing it, disqualify them. If you fail to publish it and give reasons, you are also violating their constitutional rights.”
The APC national leader described the exercise as a colossal failure adding that it has eroded his confidence in the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to be able to midwife a successful 2015 elections.
He said that the State chapter of the party would report the deliberate inadequacies of INEC to the national body of the party and may resort to several actions to protest the deliberate attempt to disenfranchise eligible voters in the state if the need arises and set the stage for manipulation of the polls.
While reading the position of the party, the APC Publicity Secretary Lagos State, Mr. Joe Igbokwe, said, “INEC has failed in the ongoing distribution of Permanent Voter Card (PVC) and that poling units whose registered voters have been reduced to zero are on the increase with the number now as high 1,801.
“The question INEC needs to answer is how did all these names get wiped down to zero? It boggles the mind that in a densely populated and politically active state such as Lagos, there can be so many units with no registered voters at all,” Mr Igbokwe stressed.
The State chapter of the party asked to know why INEC could not stop the exercise until it is ready to conduct the distribution in all the 20 Local Government Areas, stating that it suspects that INEC was working with the ruling party to deliberately bungle the exercise in order to favour the opposition party in the state.
Mr Joe Igbokwe said that the PVC for the 11 Local Governments Areas being distributed was below 20 percent of the total registered voters in Lagos State.
Also speaking on observations made from field reports, the State Chairman of the Party said that in many wards of the 11 Local Governments, the cards distribution has not started and that the names of residents of a particular local government area were taken to different Local Government areas.
Also present at the briefing were the Vice Chairman, Funsho Ologunde, State Women leader of the party, Mrs Kemi Nelson and Murphy Adetoro.