•Report by Kamil Opeyemi
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on Sunday gave a stern warning to political parties against the release of presidential and National Assembly election results adding that only the commission is legally responsible for the release of election results.
INEC Chairman, Mahmood Yakubu gave the warning when he formally opened the 2023 presidential election collation centre at the International Conference Centre in Abuja.
“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 election figures,” he said
INEC boss also said the collation of presidential election results will be done at four levels — first at the 8,889 wards, then at the 774 local government areas, then the State collation officers for the presidential election (SCOPs) at the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory will submit the votes per candidate in Abuja.
He disclosed further that, the collation centre will be open all day and all night with short breaks.
He announced that collation from states will resume by 6 pm when results from states would have arrived.
“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.
“As we await the arrival of the SCOPEs, we will now take a break and resume at 6pm.”
Mahmood added that, 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,” he added