The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on Thursday said that the Permanent Voter Card (PVC) distribution would begin in only 11 Local Government Areas (LGAs) of Lagos State on Friday.
Adekunle Ogunmola, the Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) of INEC in Lagos State, made the disclosure at a meeting with political parties in the state.
He said that the exercise in the nine other LGAs would hold from Nov. 28 to Nov. 30.
According to Ogunmola, the exercise will hold in Agege, Ajeromi-Ifelodun, Ibeju-Lekki, Ifako- Ijaiye, Ikeja, Ikorodu, Kosofe, Lagos Island, Lagos Mainland, Mushin and Ojo from Friday Nov. 7 as planned to Nov.9.
He said that it would, however, hold in Alimosho, Amuwo Odofin, Apapa, Badagry, Epe, Oshodi- Isolo, Somolu, Surulere and Eti-Osa from Nov. 28 to Nov. 30.
Addressing a meeting of INEC and Political Parties in Lagos State, Ogunmola said, “We had to cancel the distribution in those areas because we are yet to take delivery of their PVCs.
“We appeal for understanding from all stakeholders and want to assure that INEC will make sure that all eligible voters receive their permanent voter cards for the 2015 elections.
“The situation of partial distribution is not restricted to Lagos State alone. Other states like Rivers and Nasarawa are also affected while Katsina, Niger and Borno are yet to receive any.
“It is regrettable, but we see it as a blessing in disguise. We will be able to concentrate on the 11 councils and get it swiftly done,” he said.
Ogunmola reiterated that it was INEC’s intention that all eligible voters would be registered before the 2015 elections.
Reacting to the situation, the Lagos State Chairman of APC, Chief Henry Ajomale, suggested a total postponement and simultaneous distribution of the cards in all the council areas.
Ajomale said that the party leadership would meet to take a position on the issue.
“We have to be careful so as not to reduce people’s confidence in the exercise. INEC has no excuse for what has just happened for an exercise that is crucial to the success of the 2015 elections.
“We suggest that INEC should shift the entire exercise if it is not ready.
“ This information is coming less than 24 hours to the kick-off of the distribution. How do we manage the situation to inform those we have mobilised?
“The Lagos State Government has even declared Friday work- free because of the exercise. Another declaration may be seen as a waste of public fund.
“I am indicting INEC for the sloppy handling of the exercise. We had to postpone our House of Assembly primaries to accommodate the distribution.
“Now the new date for distribution in the nine remaining council areas will also affect our planned National Assembly primaries fixed for that period,” Ajomale said.
Also speaking, the Lagos State Chairman of the PDP, Tunji Shelle, described the situation as regrettable but urged those not affected to go out and register.
“The situation has happened, and we must manage it carefully. INEC must ensure that the second phase of distribution holds without hitches,” Shelle said.
In his remarks, the Lagos State Chairman of the Labour Party, Alhaji Hakeem Olaofe, urged all stakeholders to show understanding with the plight of the commission.
“It is unfortunate that this has happened. But we must all join hands to make it a success,” the Labour Party chairman said.
Obadia Akiola, the state Chairman of the Conference of Nigerian Political Parties (CNPP), said that INEC must find ways of compensating the political parties for the money spent in mobilising people for the exercise.
“A lot of resources have been wasted on this exercise,” Akiola said.