Election Officials are permanent and ad hoc staff of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) who are directly involved in conducting and supervising the electoral process.
These officials have a significant role to play in the electoral process, so how they discharge their duties affects the degree of confidence voters have in the electoral process.
Professional ethics of election officials
Election Officials should be courteous, polite, and helpful at all times. They must ensure voters are treated equally and with respect.
Under the law, unethical and corrupt practices by election officials shall incur severe punishments.
According to the INEC’s election manual, Election officials should be guided by the principles of Integrity, impartiality, transparency, professionalism, gender, disability, sensitivity, and due consideration and support for the elderly, pregnant women, nursing mothers, and Persons with Disabilities (PWDs).
The electorates need to know these officials and their roles to know who is responsible for what and who to hold accountable for any foul play during the electoral process.
- Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC)
The Resident Electoral Commissioner is the head of the Commission in each state. This position confers on him/her the responsibility to oversee the activities of the Commission in that State, from the overall conduct and supervision of the Federal and State elections in a State Area Council Elections in the FCT.
The REC takes delivery of all sensitive and non-sensitive materials for elections from the National Headquarters of the Commission and distributes the same to Electoral Officers. He/she supervises the recruitment and training of all staff for elections in a state and liaises with political parties and other stakeholders to ensure the successful conduct of elections.
The REC is assisted by the Administrative Secretary (AS).
- Electoral Officer (EO)
The Electoral Officer is the head of the Commission’s Office in the Local Government Area (LGA) of a State or an Area Council (as in the case of the FCT).
The EO conducts and supervises elections in an LGA or Area Council. They receive election materials from the REC for distribution to Supervisory Presiding Officers (SPOs) for delivery to Presiding Officers (POs) before voting. They retrieve the same from SPOs after the elections.
The EO assists in the Poll Officials’ training, reports any security concern or incident to Security Agents and keeps safe election results, ballot boxes and other election materials returned. He/she is assisted by three Assistant Electoral Officers (AEOs): AEO Administration, AEO Operations and AEO RACs, and other LGA staff.
- Returning Officer (RO)
The Returning Officer tabulates and sums up the votes cast, announces the scores of candidates and
declares the winner in the election in a particular constituency. The RO decides any question arising from or relating to rejected ballots, the announcement of scores of candidates and the return of a winner.
- Collation Officers (CO)
The Collation Officers collate and announce the votes scored by candidates at the different collation levels. We have the Registration Area/Ward CO who collates and reports results from Polling Units within a Registration Area (RA) or Ward and completes Forms EC 40H(ii) – PWD Voter Information and Statistics.
The Local Government Area/Area Council (LGA/AC) CO collates and announces results from the various Registration Areas/Wards for the LGA/Area Council, State Assembly, Governorship, National Assembly and Presidential Elections (at the LGA/Area Council levels). They complete Forms EC 40H(iii).
In the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), they will also be the Area Council Returning Officer in the elections to Area Councils.
The State Constituency CO collates and announces results from all the RAs/LGAs within a State Constituency for the State Assembly Election. They also serve as the State Constituency Returning Officer in the State House of Assembly Election.
The Federal Constituency CO collates and announces results from LGAs within a Federal Constituency. They will also serve as the Federal Constituency Returning Officer in the election to the House of Representatives.
The Senatorial District CO collates and announces results from LGAs within a Senatorial District. They also serve as the Senatorial District Returning Officer in the election to the Senate.
The State CO collates and announces results from all LGAs within a State in the Presidential and Governorship Elections. They also serve as the Returning Officers in the Governorship Election. They complete Forms EC 40H(iv).
The Chief Electoral Commissioner is in charge of collating and announcing the results from all the states of the Federation and FCT in the Presidential Election and is the Returning Officer in that election. The Chairman of INEC plays this role. He completes Forms EC 40H(v).
- Technical Support Staff at Elections
These are permanent INEC or Ad-hoc staff deployed to provide support services at various levels. They include the Registration Area Technical Support Staff (RATechs) who carries out refresher training for the Presiding Officers at the Registration Area Centre (RAC), provides support on the use of the Bimodal Voters Accreditation System (BVAS), fix malfunctioning BVAS.
They also configure a new BVAS for any polling unit with a malfunctioning BVAS and verify and confirm the Polling Unit results uploaded at the Polling Unit by the Presiding Officers on the INEC result viewing portal (IReV).
Here we also have the Local Government Area/Area Council Technical Support Services (LGATech/ACTech), which assists the LGA/Area Council Technical Supervisor in providing support to the RATechSS in a Local Government Area/Area Council.
There is the Local Government Area/Area Council Technical Supervisor who coordinates and supervises technical issues at the LGA/AC.
The State Technical Supervisor coordinates and supervises technical issues at the State level. The State ICT Supervisor coordinates and manages all ICT activities during an election.
- Electoral Operations – CSRVS Technical Support:
These are permanent staff of the Commission deployed at elections as Collation Support and Result Verification Secretariat (CSRVS) charged with providing support to the Collation/Returning officers on election day at various collation levels.
The deployment of the Collation Support Secretariat (CSRVS) depends on the types of elections. Hence, the designations are defined based on the category of Collation as follows: National Collation Support Secretariat for presidential Elections (NCSS), Senatorial District Collation Support Secretariat (SDCSS), Federal Constituency Collation Support Secretariat (FCCSS), State Constituency Collation Support Secretariat (SCCSS), Local Government Collation Support Secretariat (LGCSS) and Registration Area Collation Support Secretariat (RACSS).
- Registration Area (RA), Local Government Area (LGA)/Area Council and Constituency Supervisors
These are Permanent Staff of INEC deployed by the Operations Department of the Commission to supervise the conduct of the election at RA, LGA/AC, and Constituency levels.
These are Permanent Staff of INEC deployed by the Planning and Monitoring Department of the Commission to monitor the conduct of the election at RA, LGA, and Constituency levels.
- Supervisory Presiding Officer (SPO)
The Supervisory Presiding Officer (SPO) supervises the conduct of Poll in a cluster of Polling Units in an RA. They train Presiding and Assistant Presiding Officers and are accountable to the Electoral Officer. The work of the SPO covers Pre-Election, Election, and Post-Election.
- The Polling Team and Responsibilities
A Polling Unit (PU) Team comprises the Presiding Officer (PO), Assistant Presiding Officer (APO) I, Assistant Presiding Officer (APO) II, and Assistant Presiding Officer (APO) III.