Presidential candidate of the Social Democratic Party (SDP), Mr Donald Duke has said that the heavy military presence in the state disrupted the governorship and House of Assembly elections.
Speaking with newsmen shortly after casting his vote at his Ward, Ward 5, Unit 5 AME Zion at Diamond Hill, Calabar Municipality LGA of the state, Duke lamented that many voters were scared of coming out to vote given the heavy presence of the military on the streets of Calabar and other areas.
“The heavy military presence and intimidation by the Army has caused palpable fear leading to voter apathy in the Streets of Calabar. The presence of military personnel is so intimidating and because of this a lot of people cannot move from point A to B.
“If you are living in one part of town you cannot move to where your polling unit is because you will be arrested and this has made it very difficult for many people to come out and this has led to disenfranchisement of a lot of people.
“Someone called me few minutes ago saying he has been arrested because he moved from where he registered near University of Calabar to Zone 6 and he was arrested and asked to trek but there is no way he can walk that distance so the best thing for him us to go back home.
“You cannot shut down the whole city, town or country just because people are going to exercise their rights, it is very frustrating and there is high level of highhandedness by security personnel. We ought to do better than this, shutting down the whole city doesn’t really make any sense, you cannot just shut down the city because people are voting,” he stated.
On his part, a PDP stalwart and Commissioner for Tourism in Cross River, Mr Eric Anderson who also voted in the same polling unit, attributed the low turnout of voters to heavy presence of military personnel and show of force carried out by security agencies few days to the exercise in the state.
Anderson said: “I am not impressed by the turnout, a lot of people became afraid and couldn’t come out to vote because of heavy military presence, especially in the metropolis.
“You cannot compare the turnout today to that of the Presidential and National Assembly Elections. The apathy by voters is quite high and it is unfortunate because the process has been highly militarised.
“In spite of this unfortunate development, we are confident that the PDP will carry the day, our votes are legitimate and not bought in any way.
“We also discovered that some party agents were even sharing recharge cards of various denominations and networks to induce voters while others were seen sharing money, all the same, we have been on ground, we have worked and the people will return us back to office,” he said.