The senator representing Southern Senatorial District in Cross River State, Gershom Bassey has decried the high level of voter apathy in Calabar.
He expressed his displeasure with the situation while addressing members of Assembly of Efik Community Youth Leaders who paid him a courtesy visit ahead of the annual Utomo-Obong cultural festival of the Efik people.
He said although Calabar Municipality had one of the highest numbers of registered voters in the senatorial district, only a fraction of them exercise their franchise on election day.
“In the election that brought me into office in 2015, I got more votes in Biase and Akamkpa than in Calabar Municipality and Calabar South. I got only 26,000 votes out of the 130,000 registered voters in Calabar South.
“The voting population in Biase is far less than that of Calabar Municipality, while the bulk of registered voters are now in the Municipality. I looked at the current INEC voting strength local government by local government and discovered that there are 140,000 registered voters in Calabar Municipality,” he said.
Bassey, a senator on the platform of PDP, attributed the poor turn -out of voters in Calabar Municipality and Calabar South to apathy and charged the group to go out and mobilize registered voters for the forth-coming National Assembly and other elections.
“The day political leaders know you can pull out 500,000 voters in the senatorial district, that is when you will be politically relevant,” he said.
He also told the group to make Utomo-Obong an encompassing event that would attract not only Efik people but also people from all over the country.
Earlier, the leader of the group, Ekpo Ekeng, said they had come to see the senator to seek financial assistance for the event and to rub minds with him on other challenges such as communal clashes in Eki, Obomitat, Etehentem, Ikot Otu and Ikot Efa all in Efik nation.
Another leader at the event, Ekpo Ada, appealed to Bassey to create employment opportunities for youths in the senatorial district to take them away from crime.