The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on Saturday said the additional rows on its results sheets were to accommodate political parties the court compelled it to accommodate at the 11th hour.
INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu disclosed this while updating newsmen on the ongoing national election on Saturday in Abuja.
Yakubu said the clarification was necessary following the concerns raised by some of the political parties, particularly at the polling units during voting in the morning.
He said that some of the parties raised alarm that in some instances, the logo of the political parties were on the ballot papers but the acronym of the political parties were not on the result sheets.
He said the process of producing result sheets was more complicated than the production of the ballot papers.
“For results sheets at PU level, they are polling unit specific and they are in several harmonised copies that the commission retain the first two top copies and then give each polling agent one copy, then one copy goes to the police.
“The process of producing the results is more complicated than the production of the ballot papers.
“ So what we did on the result sheets was to provide two additional rows. The purpose of this two additional rows is to accommodate any political party that we may be compelled to accommodate on the ballot paper at 11 hour judicial pronouncement.
“So those two additional rows are supposed to take care of that eventuality.”
Yakubu said where you have a party on the ballot and the logo was not on the result sheets, that could actually be added to the result sheets in which rows had been provided accordingly.
He said that presiding officers and collation agents were authorised to accept, satisfy and stamp the insertion of the political parties where this situation arose.
Yakubu also denied issuing letter to political party agents instead of accreditation tags
He explained that INEC designed dedicated portal for political parties to nominate their agents but some failed to nominate the required number.
Yakubu said the decision of online nomination was made by the commission because political parties issued their own tags bearing only the logos of the party and the word agent written across the tags to their agents.
“ In this case, anybody can claim to be the agent of any political party, resulting in some instances, commotion during collation where two or more agents will claim to represent a political party.
“That’s why we created the portal where they uploaded the names of the agents and the description of the party you are going to serve as agent as well as their photographs and this tags were laminated and delivered to the state.”
Yakubu said one of the parties drew our attention to a letter in one of the states, claimed to be issued by INEC in the absence of the accreditation tags.
“But officials have the knowledge of those agents because they were wearing the INEC accredited tags.
“ I requested the gentleman to share a copy of that letter with me. He shared a copy of that letter, and it was clearly issued by his party when I drew his attention, he immediately deleted the message.”
He reiterated that INEC would not accept political party agents not wearing INEC tags, to any of its results coalition centres.
“The commission will insist that only accredited party agents will be admitted into the collation centres.”