Senator Heineken Lokpobiri
A few minutes after the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) admitted that its declaration of Senator Heineken Lokpobiri as the winner of last Saturday’s Bayelsa West Senatorial District election was done in error, State Security Service (SSS) operatives Monday arrested the senator.
Lokpobiri’s arrest was effected while addressing journalists at the Press Centre of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Yenagoa, over the confusion trailing the result of the senatorial district. INEC had weekend announced the senator as the winner of the election, but in a statement rescinded its decision, saying the announcement was done in error as the election was fraught with “widespread irregularities”.
According to the statement signed by INEC’s Public Affairs Officer, Priscilla Imoudu Sule, it said: “This is to inform the general public that whatever election result that was declared in respect of Bayelsa West Senatorial District and Sagbama/Ekeremor Federal Constituency were declared in error.”
Lokpobiri at the media chat accused the National Security Adviser (NSA), Gen. Andrew Aziza (rtd), of being behind INEC’s action, saying the commission had no legal right to nullify any result that had already been declared by a competent authority.
This is coming after journalists and INEC workers took to their heels following a bomb scare at the commission’s office where they had gone for the remaining results of last Saturday’s elections.
The senator insisted that INEC had no locus standi to either review or nullify any election result already declared.
Threatening to challenge any illegality relating to the declaration of the result in the court of law, the senator said he had available evidence to back his victory, adding that the people of Bayelsa West Senatorial district had given him another four-year mandate to represent them at the National Assembly.
He added that the 2011 Electoral Act had made provision for any aggrieved candidate to channel his/her grievance to the Election Petition Tribunal.
He said it was wrong for the commission to base its findings on the purported security report allegedly written by the NSA, Azazi.
He said: “We want to know whether NSA is working for the PDP or the Labour Party.”
Meanwhile, there was pandemonium at the INEC office in Yenagoa Monday as the news of the bomb scare spread, as the people fled the area for the safety of their lives.
The bomb scare came barely two hours after INEC issued a statement on the results declared in respect of the Bayelsa West Senatorial district and the Sagbama/Ekeremor Federal Constituency.
Although the veracity of the news of the bomb scare could not be ascertained, but all personnel within the premises including newsmen and security operatives took to their heels as the rumour re-echoed within the premises.
Security was later relaxed after about 20 minutes later when it turned out the rumour was a hoax.