Governor Babatunde Fashola of Lagos State on Wednesday declared November 7th as work free day for public servants in the state to enable them to collect their Permanent Voter Cards (PVC).
Fashola, in a state broadcast, said that: “November 7th shall be a work free day in order to enable workers to carry out this civic duty and exercise their civic rights”.
He appealed to residents to seize the opportunity to ensure they collect their PVCs and register at a polling unit close to their homes.
NAN reports that the collection of PVCs will begin in Lagos on Friday and will end on November 9th, while fresh registration will take place from November 13th to November 17th.
The governor also urged employers of labour in the state to be flexible and accommodating to allow workers to close early on Friday.
“It is all for our collective good,” he said.
Fashola also advised residents of 18 years and above to take advantage of INEC’s issuance of PVC in Lagos.
He said the collection of PVCs meant that the process for elections had started.
“Yes, election is a process, starting from voter’s registration to balloting, to announcement of results and to elections petitions and swearing-in of elected persons.
“So, for the avoidance of any doubt, elections have started.
“In order for our democracy to be truly representative, it must be participatory, which means that everybody who is 18 years old from today is eligible to vote in the next elections.
“However, participation imposes a duty on all of us, if we must have a say in the elections.
“The first duty is to register as a voter to be eligible to vote on balloting day next year.
“This is the time when we must take that civic duty very seriously by making the sacrifice by finding the time, by making the efforts to ensure that our names are still on the voters’ register”.
Fashola, however, decried the shortfall of about 1.5 million in the number of voters recorded for the state by INEC.
He said that this was an attempt by the electoral body to disenfranchise about 1.5 million voters, describing the action as strange.
The governor demanded an explanation from INEC on the reason about 6.3 million registered voters recorded for Lagos during 2011 elections could be reduced to 4.8 million names.
“This is strange; it is surprising and I believe INEC owes the people of Lagos State a lot of answers and very quickly too,” he said.
Leke Pitan, a former Commissioner for Health in Lagos, urged Lagos residents to troop out en-mass to collect their cards.
Pitan, who is also a governorship aspirant on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC), made the plea in a statement signed by his Press Secretary, Afolayan Adebiyi.
He urged them to avail themselves of the opportunity provided by INEC to exercise their franchise.
‘‘Your destiny lies in your hand and this time around, your voter’s card is your destiny.
“This gives you the privilege to vote for whoever you want to lead you,” he said.
The former commissioner also advised residents not to register where they work or trade to allow them to participate effectively in the elections.