As we advance towards Nigeria’s presidential election on February 25, there will be two kinds of voters — those who are veterans on the polling grounds and first-timers who get to the polling unit and are confused.

If the latter is you, then thank us. As your fairy godparents, we decided to put together the various processes for Election Day.

What are the election processes?

Generally, elections are in four stages. Each of these stages happens in a sequence. 

They are:

  • Voter accreditation 
  • Voting 
  • Sorting of ballots and counting 
  • Collection and declaration of ballots 

Voter accreditation 

Here, voters present at the polling unit will queue up in an orderly manner. They would then present their Permanent Voter’s Card (PVC) to presiding officers. 

These officers then use the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) machine to accredit voters. 

To ensure that your details are correct, voters will also place their fingers on the card reader. This ensures that their biometrics match what the PVC presented on the BVAS. 


After officials have made sure that you’re a genuine voter, then you can be allowed to cast your vote. (The voting and accreditation processes are simultaneous).

To vote, you’d be issued a ballot paper. Then you’d be required to head into a voting booth where you thumbprint on the ballot paper in the box of your preferred party. 

When thumbprinting, make sure the mark appears within your preferred party’s box and doesn’t cross any lines. 

If it does, rest assured that your vote has gone to voicemail, as it will be declared null and void.

Counting and sorting of ballots

Now, as a voter, you have a choice after the second stage — go home and pray that your candidate wins, or stay back and secure your vote by sorting out the ballots. 

Here, the ballots are then arranged according to party eg all Labour Party (LP) votes are neatly counted and arranged. This way, you get to ensure that your vote is intact and hasn’t been bought from another party. 

The ballots are also counted in full view in this phase and sent to the state’s Independent National Electoral Office (INEC) office for further collation. 

Collation and declaration of votes 

Here, there are different levels of collation — from the one at the wards, to the state and then to the federal. 

For every level, the sum of results from across the components of each level is recorded. 

At the federal level, whoever has the highest number of votes then will be declared as the winner of the election.

We hope you’ve been able to get full clarity on what you need to know about election processes. Make sure to come out to the voting polls and make your decision come February 25!

We write the news and track the 2023 elections for citizens, by citizens in our weekly newsletter, Game of Votes. Make the subscription of a lifetime here.

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