ADDRESS BY THE CHAIRMAN, INDEPENDENT NATIONAL ELECTORAL COMMISSION (INEC), PROFESSOR MAHMOOD YAKUBU, ON THE OFFICIAL OPENING OF THE PRESIDENTIAL COLLATION CENTRE FOR THE 2023 GENERAL ELECTION HELD AT THE AFRICA HALL, INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE CENTRE, ABUJA, SUNDAY 26TH FEBRUARY 2023
The Inspector General of Police,
The agents representing the Political Parties
National and International observers
Members of the Diplomatic Corps
My colleagues the Chairmen of Electoral Commissions from all parts of the world
Representatives of various security agencies
The media – national and international
Distinguished ladies and gentlemen
1. On behalf of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), I welcome you all to the formal opening of the 2023 Presidential Election Results Collation Centre.
2. As some of you are aware, collation of presidential election result in Nigeria is done at four levels after the conclusion of voting, counting and recording of results at Polling Unit level. The results are first tallied and collated at the 8,809 Registration Areas (or Wards). The collated Wards level results are tallied and collated at the 774 Local Government Areas nationwide. Thereafter, they are tallied and collated at each of the 36 States of the Federation and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT). The collated figures for each State and FCT are finally collated here in Abuja where the announcement of the outcome of the election is made.
3. As we commence the concluding processes, it is my duty to explain the procedure and set the ground rules for the proceedings as follows:
i. All accredited polling agents, observers, the media, the diplomatic community and security agencies should adhere to the sitting positions assigned to them;
ii. Results for each State of the Federation and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) shall be presented by the State Collation Officer for the Presidential Election (SCOPE) who also served as the Collation Officer at State/FCT-level;
iii. After collating the result at State level, the SCOPE shall be accompanied to Abuja by the Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) and security agencies;
iv. On arrival at the Collation Centre, the SCOPE shall be received by the Collation Secretariat which shall organise the sequence of presentation;
v. The Returning Officer shall invite the SCOPE, accompanied by the REC, to the seat provided for the presentation of result;
vi. The SCOPE, following the format for the presentation of results, shall loudly announce the votes scored by each political party in the State, including reports of cancellations and areas where elections did not hold (if any);
vii. The Returning Officer then invites comments and observations (if any) from the polling agents;
viii. The Returning Officer requests the SCOPE to submit the original copy of the EC8D;
ix. When all the SCOPES have presented their results, the Returning Officer shall display the sealed copies of the Results sheets – EC8DA (Summary of Results of Elections on State-by-State Basis), EC8E (the Declaration of Results of the Elections) and EC40G(3) (summary of registered voters in polling units where elections were cancelled or not held);
x. The Returning Officer then completes Form EC8DA and announce the votes scored by each party and thereafter invites the polling agents to endorse the Form;
xi. The Returning Officer then completes EC40G(3) and compares it with Form EC8DA to ascertain if any of the candidates has satisfied the requirements of the law to proceed with declaration;
xii. If satisfied, the Returning Officer completes Form EC8E and makes a declaration of winner; and
xiii. The Returning Officer invites the party agents to receive duplicate copies of Forms EC8DA and EC8E.
4. From today, the Collation Centre is hereby declared open until the final determination of the 2023 Presidential election. During the proceedings, there may be interlude or adjournments. This will be announced by the Returning Officer as the need arises.
5. As soon as any of the SCOPEs arrives, the process of collation will begin. Once the process begins, the Collation Centre will be open all day and all night, subject only to short breaks as may be announced by the Returning Officer.
6. The official results will be shown on several screens here at the Collation Centre. I appeal 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 figures for elections.
7. As the collation of results progress, the Commission may find it necessary to brief the nation on matters relating to the election but unrelated to the collation of results. When the need for such briefing arises, it will not be done here. A media centre has been prepared in Aso Hall right behind this building but within this premises for such briefings. Where I am unable to brief the media personally, the National Commissioner responsible for Information and Voter Education, Barrister Festus Okoye, will perform that responsibility.
8. As we await the arrival of the SCOPEs, we will now take a break to resume as at 6.00pm.
9. Thank you.