Full list of permanent & ad-hoc staff that will conduct 2019 elections & their roles – Election officials are permanent or ad-hoc staff of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) who handle the conduct and supervision of elections. There are also other persons or organisations involved in the conduct of elections, namely, polling or party agents, the security agents, representatives of the media, observer groups and the voters.
Election officials have a major role in the electoral process. The manners in which they discharge their duties affect the degree of confidence voters have in the electoral process and in INEC. All the actions of election officials should be characterised by the highest standards of integrity, impartiality, transparency, professionalism, gender sensitivity and support for the elderly and those who are physically challenged.
Below are brief descriptions of their duties;
Chairman of the Commission
He is the Chief Electoral Commissioner. He has responsibility for the overall conduct of electoral activities in the country except local government elections handled by State Independent Electoral Commission (SIECs). He is also the Returning Officer in the Presidential election.
National Electoral Commissioners
They are members of the Commission who make policies for the successful conduct of all electoral activities. Each of them heads a Standing Committee and supervise a cluster of INEC’s Offices in the States and FCT. They also monitor elections and ensure that rules and regulations are complied with.
Resident Electoral Commissioners (RECs)
Resident Electoral Commissioners are responsible for the conduct and supervision of the elections in a State and the Federal Capital Territory. They take delivery of all sensitive and non-sensitive materials from INEC Headquarters and distribute them to all Electoral Officers. They also supervise the recruitment and training of staff for elections.
Electoral Officers (EOs)
They are responsible for conducting and supervising elections in Local Government areas or Area Councils. Electoral Officers receive election materials from Resident Electoral Commissioners and distribute them to Supervisory Presiding Officers for onward delivery to the Presiding Officers. They ensure the safe custody of materials used for elections. They are assisted by three Assistant Electoral Officers.
It is their duty to collate (tabulate and sums up) and declare the score of the candidates and declare the winner in an election in a particular constituency.
There are collation officers at various levels.
- Registration Area/Ward CO: Collates results from polling stations within a RA/Ward
- Local Government Area (LGA) CO: Collates results from the various Registration Areas/Wards for the Area Council, State Assembly and Presidential elections.
- State Constituency CO: Collates results from all the RAs/LGAs within a state constituency for the state assembly election.
- Federal Constituency CO: Collates results from the LGA within a Federal Constituency. This person is the federal constituency RO.
- Senatorial District CO: Collates results from all the LGAs within a Senatorial District
- State CO: Collates results from all LGAs within a state in the presidential and governorship election and is the RO for that election. This person is the Chairman of INEC.
- Chief Electoral Commissioner (Chairman, INEC): Collates results from all states within the federation in the Presidential election and is the Returning Officer for the election.
Supervisory Presiding Officer
- Supervises the conduct of the poll in a cluster of Polling Unit.
- Assists in the training of presiding officers, poll clerks and poll assistants under his/her supervision.
- Ensures that all sensitive and non-sensitive materials are available at the assigned polling stations in the right quantities at the right time
- Regularly visit the polling station under his/her supervision to attend to problems during the period of the election.
- Ensures that the results of the poll for the assigned polling stations are delivered to the CO by the PO.
- Ensures that all election materials returned to him/her by the PO are submitted to the EO immediately after the elections.
- Liaises with the security agents to ensure that law and order are maintained within the polling station under his/her supervision.
- He/she should be accountable to the EO in the discharge of his/her duties.
The Polling Team
A Polling Unit with no Voting Point comprises of:
- Presiding Officer (PO) (Ballot Paper Issuance/Overseer);
- Assistant Presiding Officer (APO) I (Verification and Statistics);
- Assistant Presiding Officer (APO)II (Register-Check/Inking);
- Assistant Presiding Officer (APO) III (Queue Controller).
A Polling Unit with Voting Points comprises of 4 APOs in each Voting Point with a Presiding Officer overseeing the Polling Unit thus:
- Assistant Presiding Officer (VP) (Ballot Paper Issuance/Overseer);
- Assistant Presiding Officer (APO) I (Verification and Statistics);
- Assistant Presiding Officer (APO)II (Register-Check/Inking);
- Assistant Presiding Officer (APO) III (Queue Controller);
- APO I, APO II & APO III shall work under the supervision of APO (VP).
Presiding Officer (PO) (Ballot Issuance/Observer)
He/she is in-charge of all activities at the Polling Unit on Election Day including Polling, Sorting and Counting of votes as well as the Announcement of election result (s).
- Takes delivery of and inspects all materials and equipment for election from the Supervisory Presiding Officer and ensures their security, particularly the sensitive materials, such as ballot papers and result forms;
- Must be at the Polling Unit early (at least one hour before the official commencement of polling) to set up the Polling Unit;
- Coordinates activities in the voting points under his supervision;
- Conducts voter education ahead of polling.
- Issues ballot paper(s) to voters and ensures that voters deposit thumb-printed ballot paper (s) into the appropriate ballot box.
- Returns all election materials, other than the Result Sheets and Card Reader, to the SPO for delivery to the EO after elections.
- Delivers the completed Result Sheets and Card Reader to the Registration Area Collation Officer (RACO)
- Reports any security incident to the Security Agents at the Polling Unit and, where necessary, invites the Police or Security Agents to maintain order, keep the peace or arrest any person committing an offence;
- Documents adverse incidents, using incident report form and informs the appropriate authority and persons;
Responds to calls from EOSC for periodic updates of the elections progress and reports threats.
Assistant Presiding Officer (APO) II (Register-Check and Inking)
- Assists with the collection of election materials from the SPO.
- Confirms that voter’s details in the PVC are contained in the Register of Voters and ticks the appropriate box by the voter’s name before polling.
- Applies indelible ink on the appropriate finger of the voter before polling.
- Assists in the preparation and sorting of the ballots.
- Assists with the return of the election materials to the SPO at the close of poll.
Assistant Presiding Officer (APO) III (Queue Controller)
- Ensures orderly queuing of voters.
- Arranges separate queues for men and women in areas where the mingling of men and women in the same queue is not allowed.
Assistant Presiding Officer Voting Point, APO (VP)
- Supervises the conduct of all activities during polling, sorting and counting within a specified Voting Point (VP).
- Acts on behalf of the PO at the Voting point.
- Regulates the conduct of voters at the VP.
- Decides on all cases reported to him/her by the APO I, APO II and APO III.
The following people shall be allowed full access to the polling unit/Collation Centre on Election Day:
- INEC Officials on election duty
- Security Agents
- Party Agents
- Accredited Journalists
- Accredited Domestic and International Observers
Right and Responsibility of Polling Party Agents
Polling/Party agents are appointed by the parties to represent their interests during voting counting and collating. Each party has the right to appoint one Polling/Party Agent for each polling station and Collation Centre. The name of this Polling/Party Agent should be sent by the EO to the PO before polling begins. Also, any candidate can act in place of his/her Polling/Party Agent at any Polling Station or Collation Centre.
The main responsibilities of the Polling/Party Agent are:
- To observe the Polling and counting of ballots and the collation and declaration of results on behalf of their parties.
- Be satisfied that the processes are conducted in accordance with the law, the rules and regulations.
With regards to the Polling/Party Agents, Election Officials shall:
- Allow each party to be represented by one Polling/Party Agents at a time in a polling station and collation centre.
- Inspect and ensure that the letters of appointment/accreditation are duly endorsed by their parties before letting the Polling/Party Agents into the polling station and collation centres.
- Allow the Polling/Party Agents to observe the distribution of election materials, conduct of the vote sorting and counting of ballots, and announcement of results.
- Commence the election process even if no Polling/Party Agents are present in the Polling Station and collation centres.
- Allow Polling/Party Agents to call to their attention any irregularities.
- At the polling station, allow Polling/Party Agents to inform the PO if they believe that any voter is under the age of 18 or has committed an offence of impersonation.
- Allow the Polling/Party Agents to countersign the results forms at the polling station and the collation forms at the collation centre.
- Distribute signed and stamped copies of the statement of result of poll forms and the collation of result forms to the Polling/Party Agents.
Note: Polling/Party Agents are not allowed to handle any election materials or interfere in the conduct of the polls or counting of ballots. Polling/Party Agents are not allowed to wear any badges or symbols of any political party.
Polling/Party Agents shall comply with any lawful directive issued by or under the authority of the Commission or its officials including an order to leave the polling station or the collation centre.
Role of Election Observers
Domestic and international observers are appointed by their respective organisations and accredited by the Commission. They have the right to observe the entire voting process and the counting of ballots at the polling stations and collation and declaration of results at the collation centres.
With regards to Election Observers, Election Officials shall:
- Check that all observers are duly accredited and wear their observer badges while at the Polling Station.
- Allow observers to watch the distribution of election materials conduct of the voting, sorting and counting of the ballots, and announcement of results.
- Allow observers to call to their attention any irregularities.
Note: Observers are not allowed to handle election materials or interfere in the conduct of the poll or counting of ballots. Observers are not allowed to wear any badges or symbol of any political party. Observers shall comply with any lawful directive issued by or under the authority of INEC, or its officials including an order to leave the polling station or collation centre.
Accredited journalists have the same rights and responsibilities as accredited observers.
Role of Security Agents
It is important that the conduct of the poll and the collation and declaration of results be done without any disturbance or threat to peace.
Security agents shall:
- Provide security at the polling station and collation centres to ensure that the polling and counting of ballots and declaration of results are conducted without any disturbance.
- Take necessary measures to prevent violence or any activity that can threaten or disrupt the election
- Comply with any lawful directive issued by or under the authority of INEC
- Ensure the security and safety of all election materials by escorting and guarding the materials as appropriate.
- Protect election officials at the polling station and collation centres.
- Arrest on the instruction of the PO or other INEC officials any person(s) causing any disturbance or preventing the smooth conduct of proceedings at the polling stations and collation centres.
- At the polling station, inform the PO, or if they believe that any voter is under the age of 18 or has committed an offence of impersonation.
- On the instruction of the PO stand at the end of the queue of voter at the polling station, if any, at the official close of accreditation so that any person entering the polling station after this time is not allowed to vote.
- Accompany the PO to deliver the results, ballot boxes and other election materials safely to the RA/Ward Collation Centre.
- Accompany Collation Officers to deliver collated election results to the ROs.
Note: Security Agents are not allowed to interfere with the conducts of the polls, counting of the ballots, or the collation and declaration of results.