Opposition voters in Okrikia, a PDP stronghold in Rivers State, have been subjected to widespread intimidation during today's gubernatorial elections, leading many to complain that they were unable to cast their vote.
Cult members descended on polling stations with guns, cutlasses and canes, forcing voters to flee the scene and run for safety. One local resident complained "I was not allowed to vote, this is a hijack. As I'm talking to you, only PDP members or supporters are voting. Those boys of borrowed culture members came in their numbers to flog known APC members."
An election observer from the NGO Stakeholder Democracy Network confirmed the reports, with voters alleging that they were "compelled to vote for a party or die." The observer gathered numerous eyewitness accounts of potential opposition voters fleeing polling units due to the presence of armed PDP supporters. Election observers in Okrika have also expressed concern about reports of the 'thumb-printing' of ballot papers to fraudulently skew results in PDP's favour.
Voters in Okrika have been left feeling disappointed that the sense of pride that followed from Goodluck Jonathan's peaceful handover of power has now been soured. One local resident, reacting to the day's events, complained "I did not vote, I have had to hide in my home to remain safe.
I'm the eldest in my family, I have people to look after. All I want is to live in a peaceful environment."
These claims are likely to fuel ongoing debates about the validity of the gubernatorial elections in Rivers, with Governor Amaechi earlier today describing the process as a "sham".
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