As the preparation and activities towards the 2019 general elections gathers momentum, the Independence National Electoral Commission (INEC), in Lagos State has raised the alarm over uncollected 1.4 million permanent voters card (PVC) in the state.
The state’s Resident Electoral Commissioner, Sam Olumekun, expressed the concern during a meeting with chairmen and representatives of political parties at the commission’s office in Sabo Yaba, noting that out of the 1.6 million registered voters in the state in recent times, about 1.4million PVCs were waiting for collection at the commission’s offices in several parts of the state.
Olumekun said the commission had begun preparation for the general elections, while registration of eligible voters had commenced in the state since last April, adding that the commission has created additional centres for registration in 10 local governments areas in the state, namely: Agege, Oshodi Isolo, Lagos lsland, Badagry, Ibeju lekki, Apapa, Ikorodu, Epe, and Amuwo Odofin, due to complaints of accessing of the local government headquarters.
He lamented the increasing voters’ apathy in the state in recent elections, and charged the political parties to educate their members and the general public on the importance of participating in the electoral process and also register to vote.
Olumekun advised the political parties to allow internal democracy to prevail in their conduct and operations, noting that lack of internal democracy was the source of concern to the commission and major reason for the problems within political parties in the country.
He said “This new INEC is well repositioned, we have conducted over 100 elections and only two was upturned, we would not joke with your input, we would work with you, we have drawn up programs for the election and implementation has commenced.
“We have a lot of PVCs that have not been collected in Lagos State, out of the 1.6 million registered voters, about 1.4 million have not been collected in our offices all round the state. Nigerians should go and collect their PVC, it is not our property.
“We urge you to allow internal democracy to prevail in your parties, it has been a sources of concern to us.
Kindly help us sensitise the citizens on the need for them to take part in the electoral process, it is their right and choose their leader, we are worried about voters apathy in elections in Lagos State,” Olumekun said.
Some of the political parties who spoke at the event, commended the commission for the renewed vigour and preparation towards the general election, while there were also complaints about the challenges encountered in the current voters registration exercise in the state.
The state chairman of Accord Party, Chief Gbenga Olatunde Kool, said the program had informed the parties of the level of preparedness for the general elections, while charging the commission to make the voters’ registration exercise more accessible and easy for the public.
Also speaking, Comrade Uduak Archibong, the state chairman of Democratic Alternative (DA), charged INEC to address the hostile attitude of some of its officials involved in the voters’ registration exercise in the state and work towards removing the bottle necks encountered by the public.