By Nefishetu Yakubu
The Edo Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC), Obo Efanga, on Friday said the duties and powers of the REC does not include to count votes, record results, announce or declare winners of elections.
Efanga gave the clarification during a post-election review meeting with newsmen in Benin.
He explained that once votes have been counted and recorded in the results sheets by the presiding officer, there was nothing the REC could do even if there were mistakes or deliberate falsification of information at that level.
“The duties and powers of the REC do not include counting, tabulation of votes, recording of results, annoucement of results or declaration of winners.
“So, if elections are conducted in the field and the votes are counted there by the presiding officer, recorded in the result sheets, there is nothing the REC can do even if you say there was a mistake or a deliberate falsification of information at that level.
“It will go to the collation center, the collation officer at the ward will have to be satisfied that what has been presented as the result at the polling unit is accurate before he or she admits it into collation.
“Once the person has admitted it into collation and has collated, it now moves to the next level of collation. So, at every level, the persons who can correct whatever anomaly there is, starts with the presiding officer.
“It then goes to the ward collation officer who has the opportunity to correct it. If that is not corrected, it then goes to the next level depending on the nature of the election.
“It could go to the local government collation officer. If it is the presidential election, it comes to the state collation which has the state collation officer which is not the REC.
“The REC only supports the process but the person who collates the results and take the decision is usually the university don appointed by INEC,” he said.
Efanga said “So, the election cycle has ended at our end. We know that a few of the contestants have gone to the tribunal and the courts will handle that.
“On our part, we thought we should meet with critical stakeholders that we have worked with in the course of the elections to say thank you and listen to suggestions, observations or areas you need clarifications on.
“I am not in the position to say how well we performed in the elections but what I can tell you is that the management team of INEC in Edo State, tried so hard to conduct the elections the best way we can based on the laws, constitution and guidelines for the election,” he added.
The commissioner thanked the media for their cooperation before, during and after the elections. (NAN)