INEC opens national collation centre for presidential election

...explains procedure, sets ground rules ... awaits state returning officers

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on Sunday opened the national collation centre for the presidential election, located at the at International Conference, Abuja.

Mahood Yakubu, INEC chairman officially opened the centre and it was witnessed by Usman Alkali-Baba, the Inspector General of Police, political agents, national and international observers, members of the diplomatic corps, some Chairmen of Electoral Commissions in Africa, representatives of the various security agencies, the media amongst others.

Yakubu who is the national returning officer and chief electoral commissioner for the federation said, collation of presidential election results in Nigeria is done at four levels from the wards, local government and states and the national.

He explained the procedure and set the ground rules for the proceedings of the presidential election collation, one of which is that all accredited agents, observers, the media, the diplomatic community and the security agencies should adhere to the sitting positions assigned to them.

Yakubu also said results for each state of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory shall be presented by the State Coalition Officer for the Presidential Election (SCOPE) who will also serve as the collection officer for the state and the FCT level.

The INEC chairman said: “After collecting the results at state level, the SCOPE shall be accompanied to Abuja by the Resident Electoral Commissioner and security agencies.

“On arrival at the collation centre, the SCOPE shall be received by the collation secretariat, which shall organise the sequence of presentation. The returning officer (INEC chairman) shall invite the SCOPE; the State Collation officer for the presidential election, accompanied by the resident electoral Commissioner, to the seat we are going to provide for the presentation of the results.

“The SCOPE following the format for the presentation of results shall loudly announced the votes scored by each political party in the state, including reports of cancellations and areas where elections did not hold if any. The returning officer then invites comments and observations, if any, from the polling agents. The returning officer requests the SCOPE to submit the original copy of Form EC8D

“When all the SCOEP have presented their results, the returning officer shall display the sealed copies of results sheets ECDA which is the summary of results of elections on state by state basis; the declaration of results for the election, the summary of registered voters in the polling units where elections were either canceled or not held.

“And I will have the privilege of displaying the blank forms before proceedings starts after the receipt of the reports from the various said collation officers. Next, the returning officer shall complete the EC8DA and announce the votes scored by each party. And thereafter, invite the polling agents to endorse the forms.

“The returning officer then completes the EC40G3 (summary of registered voters and compares it with from EC8DA (summary of results in each state) to ascertain if any of the candidates have satisfied the requirements of the law to proceed with declaration.

“If satisfied, the returning officer complets form EC8E and makes a declaration of winner. And finally, the returning officer invites the agents of political parties to receive duplicate copies of the EC8DA and EC8E which is a final declaration of results.

“Having set the ground rules from today, the collation centre is hereby declared open until the final determination of the 2023 presidential election. During the course of proceedings, there may be interlude or adjustments. This will be announced by the returning officer as the need arises.

“As soon as any of the SCOPE arrives, the process of collection will begin. once the process begins, the collection center will be open all day and all night, subject only to short breaks as may be announced by the returning officer.”

The INEC chairman said the official results will be shown on several screens and entire process will be done openly in the collation centre.

He appealed to all political parties and media organisations to draw their figures only from the official results released by the Commission as the only body constitutionally responsible for releasing official election figures.

Yakubu said the commission was awaiting the arrival of the SCOPE as it was certain that by 6pm one or two of them will arrive with the results and the process will begin.