A staff the Independent National Electoral Commission was arrested on Monday at the commission’s office in Asaba for violating INEC’s rule on collation of results.
The INEC staff, who served as the electoral officer for Ndokwa East Local Government Area, was taken away by policemen in a van after he admitted to collating the results for the local government area against the rule of the commission.
The electoral officer came to the state collation centre at INEC, Asaba, to present the result of Ndokwa East without the collation officer for the local government, whose job it is to present the result.
When he was queried by the state Collation Officer, Prof. Bolaji Aluko, the electoral officer said the collation officer for the local government did not show up and due to pressure from party agents, he was forced to collate the results alone in the presence of party agents and security operatives.
The state’s Resident Electoral Commissioner, Anidi Ikowak, who was infuriated by the explanation, declared the results collated by the electoral officer invalid.
The REC said according to INEC’s rule, the electoral officer is not permitted to do the job of the collation officer and faulted the electoral officer for not calling him to report the situation.
Addressing the erring staff, Ikowak said, “There is division of labour in INEC’s activities. The electoral officer cannot stand in the place of the collation officer. If the collation officer did not show up you should have called me and another collation officer would have been nominated from the list of those we have trained. And replacement needs to be approved by me or even the chairman.
“I’m the REC, if this state collation officer did not come I would have reported to Abuja and another one will be sent. I can’t take up that role, I can only assist. So, the result you have collated is invalid.”
Aluko, who is the Vice Chancellor of the Federal University of Otuoke, asked the electoral officer to submit the result and write a report on the situation, but noted that it had not been officially accepted.
Immediately, the electoral officer was ushered into a police van and driven off.