By Omeiza Ajayi
ABUJA : The Independent National Electoral Commission INEC has adjourned the final collation of the Presidential Election results to Monday by 11am.
Chairman of the Commission, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu announced this Sunday evening while formally declaring open the National Collation Centre.
“From today, the collation centre is hereby declared open until the final determination of the 2019 presidential election. During the course of proceedings, there may be interludes or adjournments and these will be announced by the Chief Returning Officer.
“At the moment no State Collation Officer has is around. Some of them are expected tonight. Accordingly, proceedings are hereby adjourned. We will reconvene by 11am tomorrow Monday 25th February for the collation of results”, he declared.
INEC had earlier said in Ekiti, the process had since been concluded and the State Collation Officer was being expected in Abuja but as at 7pm, he was yet to arrive. Some of the officers would come by road while others would come by air depending on their proximity to Abuja.
“Meanwhile, collation of results from yesterday’s elections continue nationwide. Almost all the states have concluded RA Collation and are now collating results at the LGA level. Some have commenced state level collation. We expect the state collation officers for the Presidential elections to start arriving at the National Collation Centre later today and early morning tomorrow. Accordingly, the National Collation Centre will be officially declared open today at 6pm. Collation will commence as soon as the results arrive from the states. On this note, I wish to state that Ekiti state has already concluded the process. The state collation officer for the Presidential election is, as we speak, on his way to Abuja with the result of the Presidential election for Ekiti”, Yakubu had said.
According to him, the collation officer has also made returns in the National Assembly elections in Ekiti state.
He said though the commission was generally satisfied with the way Nigerians conducted themselves during the exercise, it was disheartening to note the killing of one of its ad hoc staff in Rivers by political thugs.
“While in all these attacks, electoral staff sustained injuries, we have unfortunately recorded the first fatality in Rivers state. An ad hoc staff, Mrs Ibiseki Amachree was hit by a bullet while returning from election duty in Degema. May her soup rest in peace. We condemn this attack and have lodged a comprehensive report with security agencies for expeditious investigation and prosecution of those involved”, he said.
This was as the INEC boss said the commission has also handed over one of its Electoral Officers in Imo to the Police for election duty infractions.
” All election duty personnel have sworn to an oath of neutrality. We have reports of possible dereliction of duty by some electoral officials. They refused to activate or deploy the smart card readers. The failure to fully account for materials for the elections, absconding from duty and a host of other infractions. In Imo state, one of our Electoral Officers had already been handed over to the Police. We will not tolerate violations against, or by our own officials”, he warned.
He spoke of how INEC staff and policemen were held hostage in a place in Rivers, saying he had to immediately initiate their rescue process by calling on the heads of security agencies.