Adelani Adepegba, Abuja
The European Union Election Observation Mission in Nigeria has said it will monitor and watch closely the collation of results of the coming elections nationwide.
The group stated that its 40 personnel spread around the country would be looking at not just the voting but at results collation from the ward, local government, state to national levels in Abuja.
The Deputy Chief Observer, Hannah Roberts, said this in an exclusive interview with Saturday Punch in Abuja on Friday in response to a question on the concerns expressed by opposition parties on the appointment of a National INEC Commissioner, Amina Zakari, as the head of collation centre.
Some political parties had kicked against Zakari’s nomination by the Chairman, Independent National Electoral Commission, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, on the claims that she was President Muhammadu Buhari’s niece.
Buhari, who is the presidential candidate of the ruling All Progressives Congress, is seeking re-election for a second term in office in this month’s presidential elections.
Commenting on Zakari’s appointment as head of the result collation centre in Abuja, Roberts said, “We are aware of the concerns the opposition has expressed in regard to the appointment of Commissioner Amina Zakari for her work in the collation centre.
“Collation is, of course, a critical part of the process and is something we will be watching very closely. Our observers would spread across the country, we would be looking not just at voting but also at the collation centres, and that is at the ward level, local government level, up to state constituency level and of course, here in Abuja as well.”
The mission said it was also watching the way INEC was explaining its action to the political parties, noting that it would like to see the responsibilities that would be given to Zakari as well as the limit of those responsibilities.
The Deputy Chief Observer added, “Well, it is not our job to get into personalities but the things we look at are the ways INEC is explaining its action, the way it is consulting with parties in the decision it is making, so they can be on board with the decision.
“Of course, we would like to see the way in which INEC is giving information exactly, how this collation would work and who would have what responsibility.
Asked if he believed the explanations given by INEC on Zakari’s roles, Roberts said the mission had no reasons to doubt the sincerity of the commission.
She stated that the EU election mission would like to see what would happen rather than just take the commission’s words for it.