Governor Babatunde Fashola of Lagos State has advised the Independent National Electoral Commission not to deceive Lagosians ahead of the voter registration which begins on Friday.
The governor said this during a live broadcast on Wednesday, while declaring Friday as a work-free day so as to give civil servants across the state the opportunity to register.
Fashola expressed concern over the disparity between the figures recently released by INEC as the current number of registered voters in the state and the number announced by INEC at the conclusion of voters’ registration exercise before the 2011 elections.
According to the governor, who described the disparity as strange and surprising, the reports emanating from INEC now put the number of registered voters in Lagos at 4,800,000 whereas the same commission announced 6,247,845 as the number of eligible voters in the state in 2011 which represents a shortfall of 1,447,845 registered voters.
He said, “I believe INEC owes the people of Lagos a lot of answers and very quickly too. INEC owes us a duty to explain how 1,447,845 voters disappeared from among 6,247,845 registered voters announced by INEC before 2011 elections which now leaves Lagos with only 4,800,000 registered voters.”
Fashola wondered whether it was the beginning of a plan to disenfranchise Lagosians during the coming elections next year.
He said, “Let me assert very clearly and categorically that our government will vigorously stand on the side of every eligible and previously registered voter to have their names back on the Voters Register compiled in 2011 unless INEC can show legitimate reasons why this should not be so.
“It does not make sense that we were suddenly 4.6 million from 6.8 million with all the new babies born and other population increase indexes. They should come and explain to Lagosians what happened; because we are feeling the increase here in our schools, hospitals, markets.”