The National Electoral Commission (NEC) of Sierra Leone, said results of Wednesday general elections, especially presidential, would not be announced until they were tallied.
Chairman of the commission, Mohamed Conteh, made this known to journalists on Thursday in Freetown.
He, however, said that the commission had started receiving results of the elections at its five Regional Tally Centres, but could not be specific on when they would be announced.
According to Mr. Conteh, the results will be released as soon as possible but after they have been tallied.
He urged Sierra Leoneans to be patient with the commission as it computed the results of the elections.
“By 2 a.m. this morning, result has begun to arrive at the regional tally centres. All five regional tally centres are operational.
“We welcome the presence of agents and observers to these centres today and as we walk through the process.
“Reconciliation and results forms in their sealed tamper-evidence envelopes are being delivered to four of the regional centres and they are arriving as I speak to you.
“We are now at full speed in the four centres where data entry is underway. As you can see, because we value accuracy above speed, there may be time delay. The tally takes longer.
“We will not announce results until every last one is counted. Please, be patient with us and be peaceful.
“Let us understand that the NEC is the only mandated authority responsible to deliver elections results.
“The only result is the one that I, as the Chief Electoral Officer and National Electoral Officer, will announce on behalf of the commission,’’ he said.
Mr. Conteh said that irregularities recorded in the elections included missing ballot papers, production error in the ballot papers in few areas where lower elections were postponed.
He said, “Several irregularities were recorded during the day but this was minimal.
“Of 17,755 sealed boxes of ballot papers, only 37 or 0.2 per cent was problematic. Though they were few, each of these irregularities was swiftly addressed.’’
Also speaking at the conference, NEC Commissioner, Western Region, Miatta French, said that the commission could not have conclusive figure on the election until the tally was done.
Mrs. French said that the commission would follow the percentage pattern of releasing the results.
“We will still give 25, 50 and 75 per cent announcement as we promised and we will do it as soon as we get it.
“I know for sure that for Western region, a lot of results are coming in and we have to wait for the others.
“As soon as we catch up with 25 per cent, we will read the first batch; at 50 per cent, we will read the next batch.’’
She expressed hope that at the end of Thursday or on Friday, some of the results would be announced.
On alleged planned to hack the commissions system, Mrs. French she said the commission’s data base was not always fully online and that security measures were in place to secure it.
She added that the commission was prepared for re-run if the need arose.