Tina Ezin, Calabar
The People’s Democratic Party, (PDP) in Cross River State has raised alarm over alleged plans by the All Progressives Congress (APC) to rig the March 18, governorship and State Assembly elections.
The party disclosed this late Thursday night while briefing newsmen at the Ernest Etim Bassey Press Centre of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) as it planned to resist any attempt that would not lead to free, fair and credible election.
The Director General of the PDP Governorship Campaign Committee, Mr. Effiok Cobham accompanied by the Deputy Governorship candidate, Mrs. Amana Amawhe and former Commissioner for Information and Orientation, Asu Okang.
Cobham who was the former governor of the state, further alleged that the party has received information from strong authority that machineries have been imported to the state to disrupt the election.
He also alleged that the Commissioner of Police in Cross River, has 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.
“We frown at such development and ask in very strong terms that Gov. Ben Ayade and the All Progressive Congress, (APC) desist from such action because election is not war.
“We also gathered that in the late hours of Wednesday, March 15, Ayade had a meeting with the Supervisors of Polling Units Officers in his lodge.
“INEC is suppose to be an impartial arbiter in the election, so, what were electoral officials doing with the governor who is a member who is a leader of the APC in the state.
“Again, we heard from strong authority that machineries have been imported to Cross River State and given uniforms sewn with the Cross River State garment factory and they have been issued with uniform, that on Saturday they will be parading and in areas they believe the APC will not do well, they will create problems and possibly cancel the election.
“We are a peace loving party but every process that will not lead to free, fair and credible election will be strongly resisted by us. We will not fold our hands and let that happen. We shall engage all civilized effort to ensure that what is right is done.” He alleged.
In the same vain, the Deputy Governorship Candidate of the PDP warned that the security agencies in the state should not comprise in carrying out their duties in the Saturday election.
Amawhe who accused the state government of compelling traditional rulers to force the people to vote for APC called on the International community to lend their voice and kick against what she described as electoral robbery.
She lamented,”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 ringing bells and threatening individuals to vote a particular candidate or dealt with of they refuse,” she said.