Verification Starts Today, Says ECNBA
• Uncertainty over weblink for verification exercise
• Accreditation, Voting Dates Unknown
• Lawyers Seek More Time for ECNBA, ICT Partners
• Stakeholders Mull NBA-NEC Emergency Meeting
The Electoral Committee of the Nigerian Bar Association (ECNBA) has announced today as the new date for the commencement of verification for the NBA National Officers Election. The new date replaces the earlier date of July 26, 2018 announced by the ECNBA for the take-off of the exercise.
However, the notice is silent on the portal which lawyers should access to commence the verification exercise. Also, while the earlier notice had slated July 29 and 30 as the dates for accreditation, the latest notice is silent on the new dates for accreditation.
In fact, in the July 26 notice, only two hours were allowed between the cessation of accreditation and commencement of voting. With the verification exercise now closing on July 29, 2018 it remains to be seen how the ECNBA will compress accreditation and voting within the remaining two days in order to meet its earlier target to announce the election results on July 31.
Meanwhile, CITY LAWYER investigation showed that though the portal deployed by CHAMS Plc for the cancelled verification exercise https://nbaelectionprofileupdate.com.ng has been pulled down from the NBA website, the “Final List of Qualified Voters For The 2018 NBA National Officers Elections” following an ECNBA notice of June 29, 2018 and containing 31, 688 names is still available on the NBA website at https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/14XUELZtM53nyqoZ-2TO_Jg1VU_mIqNtchSHcBcoVbUU/edit#gid=524567950
It is recalled that the ECNBA had in its revised election time-table stated that fresh verification exercise will commence last Thursday and end on Saturday. The notice had stated: “Verification and data upgrade of voters shall take place on Thursday 26th, Friday 27th and Saturday 28th July, 2018.”
The July 23, 2018 notice also stated as follows:
“Accreditation of voters will take place between 10:00 hour of Sunday 29th to 10:00 hour of Monday 30th July, 2018.
“Voting will take place between 11:59am on Monday, 30th and end at the hour of 11:59am on Tuesday 31st July, 2018.
“Announcement of elections results shall be on Tuesday, 31st July, 2018 after the final collation of votes cast.”
However, in the notice dated July 26, 2018 and signed by its secretary, Mr. Bolaji Agoro, the committee stated that the shift was necessitated by the need to allow Crenet Techlabs Limited, the ICT Partner for the verification exercise, more time to align the voters register submitted by the branches with the verified list of lawyers in NBA’s custody and the list of lawyers on the Supreme Court roll.
It is recalled that CITY LAWYER had noted that there was uncertainty in the legal industry due to failure of the ECNBA to issue a notice on the commencement of the fresh verification exercise. An earlier exercise conducted by CHAMS Plc was cancelled following protests by some stakeholders.
Below is the full text of the press statement:
26 July, 2018
RE: RE: NOTIFICATION OF CHANGE IN ELECTIONS DATE
“According to the timetable earlier released by the ECNBA, verification of voters exercise was to commence today, Thursday 26th July, 2018 and was to last for 3 (three) days. However, owing to time constraints , Crenet, the service provider engaged to clean up the data in 2 (two) days, is facing challenges with reconciling the voters’ list submitted by branches with the verified list of lawyers in the custody of the NBA Headquarters and the list of lawyers on the Supreme Court roll.
“Having instructed the service provider to produce a voters register that is credible, reliable and based solely on the submissions received from the branches, it has become necessary to allow the service provider more time to satisfactorily complete its assignment and deliver a reliable verified list that meets stakeholders expectation.
“Consequently, we have rescheduled the commencement of the verification to take place on Friday 27th, Saturday 28th and Sunday 29th July, 2018.
“We will, in a subsequent bulletin adjust the times for accreditation and voting. The ECNBA regrets the inconvenience this adjustment might occasioned on all.
“The Committee is committed to delivering free, fair, credible and transparent elections and we solicit the support and understanding of our colleagues in this regard.
Bolaji Agoro, Esq
Section 2.3 (a) of the Second Schedule to the NBA Constitution provides that “Election of National Officers shall be held in the month of July of the election year of the Association or at such time and place as may be ratified by National Executive Committee.”
However, analysts are worried that the ECNBA and its ICT Partners may no longer have enough time to joggle the election dates and deliver credible, free and fair elections.
This has led to calls from some stakeholders for an emergency meeting of the NBA National Executive Committee (NBA-NEC) to vary the election date. It remains to be seen whether the NBA leadership will be amenable to the idea.
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