INEC, IPAC Disagree Over BVAS Status in Cross River
By Ita Williams
With days to the general elections, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Cross River State and the Inter-Party Advisory Council (IPAC) have disagreed over Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BIVAS) status in the State.
Recall that there was a wide spread rumour in Calabar metropolis that some BIVAS machines were taken to Cross River State government house. This had sparked outcry from stakeholders.
The controversy generated by the report prompted INEC to summoned a meetings which held at INEC conference Hall on Tuesday in Calabar, with all stakeholders, including State Security Service, Nigerian Police, heads of various political parties as well as and the IPAC Chairman in attendance
During the meeting, heated argument was said to have broken out during the brainstorming session even as IPAC Chairman, Anthony Bissong Attach reportedly staged a walk out, a behavior that prompted many to assumed he was being sponsored by either of the political parties to cause confusion.
Before walking out from the meeting, Attah had insisted that he be given access to the bar code of BVAS machines and that until that is done, he would not have confidence on operations of INEC.
Bissong who also doubles as state party Chairman of Young progression Party YPP, said, “Until we sight the bar code before we can give our confidence on the issues.
“This is not what we agreed on yesterday. The agreement we had in a meeting that we had yesterday with INEC is completely different from what I had seen here today”. Attah maintained.
In his remarks, Resident Electoral Commissioner (Cross River State) Prof. Gabriel Yomere disagreed with Attah’s demand to sight the BVAS machines, stressing that INEC in the State had not been authorized to let political parties have access to the BVAS machines nor the bar codes.
The REC said BVAS were part of the sensitive materials of INEC that are not to be presented to political parties nor members of the public.
He dispelled the rumour that the BVAS were stored in government house and charged members of the public to disregard the fake News. He threatened to resign his appointment if it is established that any BVAS was missing adding that there were 3,281 BVAS that are still intact.
“The information is a deliberate falsehood by mischief makers intended to mislead the public and unduly ignite anxiety.
“Cross Riverians and members of the general public are enjoined to ignore the information as the number of BVAS deployed from INEC headquarters to Cross River State office is intact and adequately secured.
“INEC Cross River State office cautions all citizens against circulating fake news capable of heating up the polity and undermining the neutrality and integrity of the commission”, Prof Yomere maintained.