LAGOS NON-INDIGENES CRY OUT OVER DENIAL OF PVCS

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• Say INEC, APC conniving to disenfrachise them
• Allege plot to use fake corps members during polls
The groundswell of non-indigenes of Lagos state protesting their looming disenfranchisement from the forthcoming general elections swelled last weekend with many alleging that the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, is working in collusion with the opposition All Progressives Congress, APC to disenfranchise them at the appropriate time.
They also alleged a plot to employ fake members of the National Youth Service Corps, NYSC working for the opposition as INEC ad hoc officials at the polls.
Against the backdrop of reported refusal by INEC officials to facility the collection of Permanent Voters Cards, PVCs, some residents of Lagos State last Thursday marched to the state’s headquarters of INEC at Yaba, demanding the release of the PVCs.
Nigerian Pilot gathered weekend that aggrieved non-indigenes resident in Lagos, including thousands are reaching out to one another to strategise for what insiders described as a ‘grand rally” to protest the continuedrefusal of the electoral body to release their voter’s card.According to an informed non-indigene who is one of the anchors for the planned protest, “we have been too patient with INEC. We have tolerated the Commission and every other person that is working there to frustrate us from performing our civic right of voting in the general elections. If Jega cannot see that he has failed and vacate that office, we must force him to give us our right to vote otherwise, when our rally starts, there will be no end.”
INEC, APC in league
The source said that in most riverine communities of the South-West, especially Lagos, “people have become so agitated and angry with INEC that they are working with APC to stop us from voting.”
He added, “if that is not so, why is this deprivation affecting only non-indigenes, especially those in parts of Lagos that we all know are not in support of APC? You are experienced enough to know the game INEC and APC are playing with the future of this country. But they will fail.”
In another vein, it was learnt that a plot was afoot to engage the services of fake NYSC members as ad-hoc members for the polls.
Nigerian Pilot learnt that allegations that most of the ad-hoc staff so far engaged by INEC for the distribution of PVCs were proxies of the APC are very rife.
“They will be readily used by INEC to perfect their plot against other political parties at the general elections,” said an aggrieved leader of Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in Lagos at the weekend.
He called on the Inspector-General of Police to look into the allegation before “it gets worse.”
It would be recalled that protesters, who carried placards with inscriptions such as, “INEC deliberately holding our PVCs,” “Non-indigenes of Lagos State refuse to be disenfranchised,” “We want to vote, give us our PVCs,” marched through the streets of Lagos last week, protesting non-issuance of PVCs to non-indigenes of the state.
At the Lagos office of INEC, they were received by officials of the commission, led by the Resident Electoral Commissioner, Akin Orebiyi. Policemen from some divisions in the state were also on hand to forestall a breakdown of law and order, as they formed a human shield around the INEC officials.
The protesters, in their address, alleged that INEC was being partial in the distribution of the PVCs, adding that some officials of the electoral body had been compromised.
Chairman of Union of Non-Indigenes in Lagos State, Francis Abang, said report from members of the group indicated that 70 percent of them had yet to collect their PVCs.
He said, “At the last meeting we had, our members told me that more than 70 percent of our people have not collected their PVCs. And without this card, we cannot vote. That is why we decided to come here and air our grievances. We want to vote.”
The National Publicity Secretary of the North-Central Indigenes in Lagos State, Obalaiye Boyede, said out of 15 polling units in his area in the Iyana Ipaja area of the state, only two had received PVCs.
Boyede said: “A general secretary with us went to Ikeja with his wife to collect his PVC, but they were turned back. I believe there is connivance between some political parties and some INEC officials.
“These parties are given PVCs in bulk to take home and when anybody raises questions, the situation turns rowdy just to cover up the act.
“In Abule Oki, Iyana Ipaja, where I come from, many of our people are being disenfranchised. Out of 15 polling units, it is only in two that PVCs have been distributed.”
It was a sober Orebiyi that told the protesters, “We apologise for the trouble you have had to face to collect your PVCs. Our Chairman, Attahiru Jega, yesterday (Wednesday) addressed the Senate on the challenges we are facing.”
Source: Nigerian Pilot

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