2023 post-election review: INEC chairman meets with collation, returning Officers

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on Friday met with collation and returning Officers as it continues to review the 2023 general elections conducted in Nigeria.

INEC officials met for the first time on Wednesday to review the elections after which the electoral body in a tweet disclosed that the meeting will last for the next two weeks.

The meeting continued on Friday as the INEC chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, met with collation and returning Officers at Ladi Kwali hall of the Abuja Continental Hotel.

“You may recall that on 4th July 2023, we met with the Resident Electoral Commissioners (RECs). Thereafter, the RECs met in the various States of the federation with our regular staff and ad hoc officials, including those who presided over the elections at polling unit level,” Yakubu said in his address to participants.

“Two days ago, we held yet another meeting with our Electoral Officers (EOs) and the leadership of the land and maritime workers’ unions who were engaged to provide logistic support for the movement of personnel and materials.

“Today, we are meeting with yet another important category of election officials i.e. the Collation Officers. Present here today are the 37 State Collation Officers for the Presidential Election (SCOPEs).

“Many of you also doubled as Returning Officers for the 28 Governorship elections. For legislative elections, we invited, across the six geo-political zones of the country, the Senatorial District Collation Officers who also doubled as Returning Officers for senatorial elections.”

The INEC chairman said that it is practically unmanageable to invite all the collation and returning officers for 1,462 federal and state constituencies made up of 109 Senatorial Districts as well as 360 Federal and 993 State Houses Assembly constituencies.

As a result, the electoral Commission focused on the Senatorial Districts since they are bigger and cut across the other constituencies.

He said that the Commission is aware that as collation and returning officers, they worked under extremely challenging circumstances by tediously and manually completing designated forms as provided by law and either moved them to the next level of collation or concluded the processes as Returning Officers.

Yakubu stated that he believes many of them also have the cognate experience of result management, having served in similar capacities in at least three electoral cycles.

According to him, the Commission appreciates their commitment, dedication to duty and sacrifice to the cause of our democracy.

“At the same time, issues have arisen and some Nigerians have raised concerns about result management at various levels,” the INEC boss added.

“While some of the issues are subject of litigations and therefore sub judice, we can nevertheless discuss them broadly and most importantly share experience on the way forward.

“It is therefore the Commission’s expectation that at this meeting, we will identify areas of strength and weaknesses as well as the necessary reforms that we need to introduce going forward.

“More specifically, and from your practical experience in the 2023 General Election, we would like to hear your perspectives on the processes and procedures,” he said.