The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Cross River says it will resist any All Progressives Congress (APC) attempt in cahoots with the police to militarise the March 18 governorship and state assembly elections.
Effiok Cobham, the director-general of the PDP governorship campaign council, stated this at a news conference in Calabar late Thursday.
Mr Cobham said the party was aware of plans by the police to use special squads to militarise its stronghold, especially the northern senatorial district.
He said a signal to that effect had already been sent by the police commissioner Aliyu Garba in charge of elections in Cross River.
The director-general said the signal directed the commandant of the Rapid Response Squad to send all its operatives to the northern part of the state to engage in “domination patrols, stop-and-search and carryout aggressive arrests where necessary.”
“We frown upon such development and ask in very strong terms that Governor Ben Ayade and the APC desist from such action because the election is not war,” said the PDP.
Mr Cobham, a former deputy governor of Cross River, added that things have become so bad that the March 18 elections would be compromised if unchecked.
Emana Amawhe, the PDP deputy governorship candidate, implored the security agencies in Cross River to be neutral and independent in their duties.
“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,” said Ms Amawhe. “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 called on the international community and residents of Cross River to lend their voices to kick against what she termed “electoral robbery.”
Meanwhile, the police have assured the electorate and political parties that security agents will be neutral during the polls.
The police spokeswoman, SP Irene Ugbo, denied the allegation that the police commissioner met with the governor to compromise the governorship election.
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