Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, SAN, Sunday, 30th November, 2014, dismissed explanations being advanced by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to back its non-distribution of the Permanent Voters’ Card (PVC) in parts of the state saying the commission’s request for re-registration made no sense.
On Friday, 28th November, 2014, INEC pasted notices in some wards, including the state Governor’s Ward G3 Unit E002 in State Junior Grammar School, Itolo Street, Surulere, directing the voters to come for fresh registration scheduled to start on Wednesday, 3rd December, 2014 saying the unit had no PVCs.
Some newspaper reports Saturday, 29th November, 2014 quoted the Resident Electoral Commissioner of the state, Dr. Adekunle Ogunmola, as saying that the non- distribution of PVCs at the Governor’s and other Polling Units across the state was due to the loss of data captured during the voters’ registration exercise in 2010 occasioned by the crash of the commission’s computing system.
But answering questions from journalists in an interview at the Lagos House, Marina, Governor Fashola said he will hold onto his Temporary Voters’ Card and advised all those affected by the incident to do the same adding that the commission must be made to explain its true purpose in Lagos.
“Honestly as I said yesterday, I have temporary voters card. On one hand, you say we should go and register, but I have already registered, so why should I register? It does not make any sense, because then they will say the Governor registered twice”, the Governor argued.
Asserting that his name has been on INEC database since he was 20, when the commission was going under the name Federal Electoral Commission ( FEDECO), Governor Fashola declared, “I have been voting since then. I voted in 1999, I voted in 2003, I voted in 2007 and I voted in 2011. Why should they say I should go and re-register?
“It is only in this country that they do registration of citizens and after four years they will say you should come and re-register? What did they do with the previous one? This nonsense must stop. INEC has a lot of explanations to give to Lagosians and Nigerians and they should stop hiding behind the fingers and come out and tell us what they really want us to do”, the Governor said.
He dismissed the reason of system crash which the Commission is currently blaming for the shortfall in the state’s voters’ lists saying as a result of the inconsistency of INEC it has become hard to believe the electoral body on anything.
The Governor recalled that when the state government complained about the disappearance of about 1.4 million voters from the commission’s announced registration, it attributed the shortfall to AVIS and later said it was double registration after which they again mentioned “business rules that makes the numbers to reduce” adding, “Now the official reasons why 1.4 million voters disappeared, which include ostensibly my name and millions of Lagosians, has changed from double registration, AVIS and business rules to system crash.
“When did the system crash? We need to know because a system does not crash in bits and pieces even though I am not a computer expert. If the system crashed, why did it not take the 4.8 million voters? We are not stupid people; they must credit us with some level of intelligence”, Governor Fashola said.
The Governor further declared, “I think they should stop hiding behind the finger and come out and tell us truly what the reasons are. They have failed without any logical explanation for it. The system can’t crash in parts. If you store data in one place, it’s either you lose it or recover it. What is the integrity of INEC if it is telling us that it does not have a data recovery system?
Expressing disappointment at the electoral body’s seeming lack of transparency in the handling of the PVC distribution in the state, Governor Fashola said it would amount to irresponsibility if INEC said it did not have a disaster recovery system in a national assignment as important as the one it is handling, adding, “Lagos State has one. Every serious company, every company that issues our phone cards has data recovery system if they are serious. INEC has a lot of explanations to make and should stop hiding behind the finger”.