The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has announced that 295 candidates in Cross River, would participate in the general elections scheduled for Feb. 25 and March 11.
The Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) in the state, Prof. Gabriel Yomere, made this announcement in Calabar on Tuesday during a consultation with key stakeholders and the signing of Peace Accord ahead of the polls.
Yomere said that the candidates would jostle for the 36 elective positions which includes, Governorship, three Senatorial seats, seven House of Representatives seats and 25 seats in the state House of Assembly.
In his breakdown, he explained that 11 candidates would be contesting for the governorship seat, 28 candidates for the senatorial seats, 69 for the House of Representatives seats, while the State House of Assembly had 187 candidates.
The REC further said that of the 17 registered political parties in Cross River, only 12 fielded candidates for elective positions.
He also disclosed that the state office of the commission had received 3,281 Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) that were currently being configured for the elections.
Speaking further on the BVAS, Yomere debunked the allegation that some of the machines were taken to the state Government House.
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He described the proponents of the allegation as “exhibitors of ignorance.”
“They were only making a mountain out of a molehill. BVAS is not used for voting but to accredit prospective voters. Moreover, we have not even started the configuration of the machines when the allegation was raised,” he said.
While appealing to political parties to call their supporters to order, he gave assurance that the INEC was ready for the conduct of a peaceful, transparent and credible elections in the state in particular and the country at large.
According to him, it is only in a peaceful atmosphere that voters will come out to vote so you must educate your supporters to eschew violence so that people will not be afraid to come out on election days.
In his remark, the chairman of the National Peace Committee and former Head of State, Abdulsalami Abubakar, sued for peace before, during and after the elections.
Represented by the Head of Secretariat, Rev. Fr Attah Barkindo, the former Head of State urged the stakeholders, especially the political actors to see the Accord beyond mere signing of papers.
Also the Chairman of the State Peace Committee, Rev. Fr Charles Etim, described the signing of the Peace Accord as historic being the first in the state.
Etim urged political actors to be guarded in their utterances.
Simirlarly, the Commissioner of Police in the state, Sule Balarabe, said that the security agency was ready to effectively secure the state for a peaceful elections to be achieved. (NAN)