By our reporter
With about 30 days to elections in Nigeria, IPAC and INEC in Cross River State are at wa over BVAS status. Chairman Inter-Party Advisory Council, Comrade Anthony Bissong Attah Tuesday walked out from a meeting convened by the Independent National Electoral Commission INEC,and the state police Commissioner, represented by the state deputy Commissioner, Operations, Mr. Frank Idu at INEC conference Hall on Tuesday in Calabar.
The Cross River State Resident Electoral Commissioner REC, Prof. Gabriel Yomere had convened a stakeholders meeting to find a way forward on claims by online news publications written by one Mr..Agba Jalingo alledging that BEVAS machines belonging to INEC were stored at Cross River State government house. A publication that kept tongues wagging and almost drag the Integrity of the electoral umpire down to the mud.
This development prompted the INEC boss in Cross River State to call for an urgent meeting with all stakeholders including the police, Director of State Security Service DSS,, Nigerian Police, heads of various Political parties,and Chairman Inter-Party Advisory Council IPAC for air to be cleared.
In a heated argument which broke out in the middle of the brainstorming session, the IPAC Chairman Anthony Bissong Attah stamped his hand on the table and walked out in the middle of brainstorming session. A behavior that prompted many to assumed he was being sponsored by either of the political parties to stage confusion in the meeting.
Before walking out from the meeting, the IPAC Chairman stated that until he is given access to the bar code of BVAS machines he won’t have confident 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 issue”.
The IPAC Chairman who walked out from the meeting, said,”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 earlier remarks, Resident Electoral Commissioner (Cross River State) Prof. Gabriel Yomere disagreed with Attah’s demand to sight the BVAS machines stressing that INEC have not been authorized to let Political parties have access to the BVAS machines nor the bar codes.
The REC stated that 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 making the rounds that of the BVAS were stored in government house and charged members of the Public to disregard the fake news circulated a week ago on some online news platforms that the BVAS were kept at Cross River State government House.
The REC threatened to resign his appointment if it is established that any BVAS is missing adding that there were 3,281 BVAS that are still intact.
“The information via 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.