The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Cross River has said that it will resist any attempt by the All Progressives Congress (APC) to militarise the March 18 governorship and House of Assembly polls in the state.
Mr. Effiok Cobham, Director General of the PDP Governorship Campaign Council, stated this at a news conference in Calabar late Thursday.
Cobham said that the party was aware of the plans by the police to use special squads to militarise its stronghold, especially the Northern Senatorial District.
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He said that a signal to that effect had already been sent by the Commissioner of Police in charge of elections in Cross River, Aliyu Garba.
The director-general said that the signal directed the Commandant of the Rapid Response Squad to send all its men to the northern part of the state.
He said this would not have bothered them, but the signal showed that the men had been ordered to engage in “domination patrols, stop-and-search, and carryout aggressive arrests where necessary.”
“We frown at such development and ask in very strong terms that Gov. Ben Ayade and the APC desist from such action because the election is not war,” he said.
Cobham, a former Deputy Governor of Cross River, added that things have become so bad that if unchecked, the March 18 election would be compromised.
Similarly, Mrs. Emana Amawhe, Deputy Governorship Candidate of the PDP, implored the security agencies in the state to be neutral and independent in their duties.
Amawhe noted that the people of Nigeria had the right to choose who to support in any electioneering process, but that was not the case in Cross River.
“If the APC feels it is popular enough in Cross River to get votes, then it should understand that it is only normal for people to be allowed to exercise their franchise during the election.
“We have cases in Calabar where traditional rulers are compelled to go round communities with town criers threatening individuals to vote for a particular candidate, or they will be dealt with if they failed to do so,” she said.
She called on the international community and residents of Cross River to lend their voices to kick against what she termed an “electoral robbery.”