BY: Vitalis Ugoh, Calabar
The Inter Party Advisory Council (IPAC), Cross River State, has raised an alarm over suspicion that the forthcoming general election in the State might be rigged if BVAS were left unchecked by the Council.
As a result, it has demanded to inspect and take full record of the IMEI number of the 3,281 BVAS machines which is in INEC custody and deployed for the elections in the state.
In a statement issued in Calabar and made available to newsmen by IPAC Chairman, Comrade Anthony Bissong Attah, alleged that “there is a plan by powerful political forces to use security personnel and INEC officials as an unholy trinity to rig elections in the state”.
The statement maintained that IPAC in the state has enjoyed a smooth working relationship with INEC throughout the process of filing candidates, that is why unlike other states of the Federation, they had limited cases of post primaries litigation.
The statement read: “however, this relationship encountered a major test a fourth night ago. This test was packaged in the social media post authored by Citizen Agba Jalingo where he alleged that BVAS meant for state were being chauffeured at night into the governor’s lodge.”
“When this information filtered to us, as an organized body, we approached the REC axactly two weeks ago to ascertain the real state of the BVAS”.
The statement added “we were told the other side of the story after which we demanded to inspect the BVAS to see things for ourselves.
“The REC gleefully accepted and asked us to return to the Secretariat by 2pm the following day to enable us to inspect the machines in the company of the Police and the DSS. On arriving INEC Secretariat the next day, we were barred from seeing the BVAS.”
It further stressed that the only way we can trust the electoral umpire going forward is to inspect the BVAS in addition to taking record of the IMEI of all the 3,281 machines sent to Cross River State to reignite and renew their confidence in the commission.”
The statement added, “It is very appalling to inform you that up till this moment we haven’t been allowed to inspect the BVAS machine. We are here therefore to let the general public note that we maintain our reservation on the true state of the BVAS machine.
“In fact, we are even tempted to align ourselves with the allegation by Agba Jalingo because it’s very obvious there is something INEC is not telling us.”
“The current stalemate orchestrated by the Resident Electoral Commissioner cast a lot of doubt about the level of transparency of the commission in CRS. While we reaffirm our trust in the Prof Mahmood Yakubu, we cannot say same about Pastor Prof. Gabriel Yomere.”
It reaffirms its readiness to deploy all political arsenals to ensure that unlike previous elections, this current election turns out to be the best ever conducted in the history of state and called on the public to support IPAC to ensure that the importance well-meaning Nigerians places on the 2023 election will not be truncated.
In an earlier statement signed by the state REC of INEC, Prof. Gabriel Yomeri said “INEC Cross River State office hereby states that this is not true. In a bid to ascertain the fact of the publication, the Commission went into physically counting all the BVAS sent to Cross River State and confirmed that none was missing.“
“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 republic 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 the polity and undermining the neutrality and integrity of the Commission”..