Guy Ikokwu Wants NBA Election Cancelled

Veteran politician and senior lawyer, Chief Guy Ikokwu has called for the cancellation of the controversial Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) National Officers Election.

In a statement titled “TO BE FOREWARNED IS TO BE FOREARMED,” Ikokwu who has clocked 56 years at the Bar, stated that the election was “fraught with problems which had not been resolved even as at the date of the voting exercise.”

The vocal lawyer urged the Body of Benches to “fashion a more credible system for a new voting exercise for the BAR to regain its honour which is currently being subjected to unnecessary disdain and ignominy.”

Mr. Paul Usoro SAN was declared winner of the election while the defeated presidential candidates, Chief Arthur Obi Okafor SAN and Prof. Ernest Ojukwu SAN poked holes in the exercise.

The statement reads:

20th August, 2018

TO BE FOREWARNED IS TO BE FOREARMED

We all know and realize that computer systems have always been faulted or manipulated if they are left unchecked. The usual saying in reference to computers is “Garbage in Garbage out”

In the United States today the issue of computer hacking is having monumental effect on the relations between America and Russia. In America itself there is a dysfunctional relationship between the Presidency and the Senate and the House of Representatives (Congress) which has been investigating the issue of hacking of the2016 USA elections by Russian Agents. Even in the United States they have both electronic and manual voting systems. Where there is a dispute, a losing candidate can request a recount of the votes cast manually to have an exact result not subject to further disputation.

The election result of the Premier Branch of Lagos with thousands of accredited lawyers have not been subjected to any dispute in the last 10 years, because of our system of accreditation, verification and voting at the same venue, same date, and same hours with representatives of the contestants and elected experienced supervisors of the exercise.

The system is such that eligible legal voters are not disenfranchised by any system unless the lawyer does not want to vote or is not available in person.

The last NBA election 2 years ago was also fraught with e-voting problems which led to a High Court pending litigation. This current election exercise was also fraught with problems which had not been resolved even as at the date of the voting exercise which is a real shame for the legal profession in Nigeria.

I saw the dangers ahead in this exercise and had to post a warning that the BAR must utilize a system that is full proof no matter who the contestants are. The current failed system has to be challenged effectively so that we can have a credible system which combines electronic and manual accreditation of voting no matter whose ox is gored.

The current National Executive should therefore suspend any further declaration through the current malfunctioning system which may have been systematically hacked for the endorsement of the National Conference holding in Abuja. The body of benchers can be entrusted to fashion a more credible system for a new voting exercise for the BAR to regain its honour which is currently being subjected to unnecessary disdain and ignominy.

The member of lawyers disenfranchised is far greater than the merging of votes between the contestants! It must be cancelled for a proper election machinery to be set up and salvage the reputation of Nigerian lawyers! I am not bordered about who wins but about the probity of the system, its transparency and lack of manipulation and inordinate disenfranchisement.

* Chief Ikokwu, a member of NBA Lagos Branch, was admitted to the Nigerian Bar in 1962

Odinkalu Calls NBA Election a ‘Racket,’ Raps Mahmoud

Former Chairman of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), Prof. Chidi Odinkalu has lampooned the recently concluded Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) National Officers Elections, saying it was a “racket.”

In a statement made available to CITY LAWYER, Odinkalu who is increasingly assuming the role of the ‘Conscience of the Bar,’ also berated NBA President, Mr. Abubakar Mahmoud SAN for the debacle, saying that “the  outgoing Bar leadership is incredibly tarnished by its role in this messy racket.”

Although Mr. Paul Usoro SAN was declared winner of the presidential election by the Prof. Auwalu Yadudu-led Electoral Committee of the NBA (ECNBA), both Chief Arthur Obi Okafor SAN and Prof. Ernest Ojukwu SAN who contested for the NBA Presidency also rejected the results, alleging that the election was marred by rigging among other vices.

The statement reads:

Concerning What AB Mahmoud & the NBA Have Done

Good morning colleagues.

It is unfortunate colleagues failed to heed the clear facts & evidence of a compromised process in #NBADecides2018. The contestants and their supporters mostly behaved desperate, conferring legitimacy on a process that manifestly lacked it from the get go.

Each campaign appeared to behave in such a way as to suggest they were best placed to benefit from a system configured for pre-determined outcomes.

This was not an election. It was not even a selection. It was a racket and a messed up one at that. Now, they will ask the NBA NEC to make this messed up racket their own & ratify it at the pre-conference NEC. That will be interesting.

This racket is a disgrace. The process was compromised and did not even pretend about it. The outcome lacks legitimacy and the declared winner has procured a compromised non-mandate.

Those who hope or expect that there will be an audit should come off that kind of hallucination – you don’t ask a burglar to investigate the burglary.

The outgoing Bar leadership is incredibly tarnished by its role in this messy racket. Yet, we are unlikely to learn. There are no plaudits to hand out, no congratulations to anyone and no one comes out of this a winner.

My name is Chidi Anselm Odinkalu. I am a City-Zen.

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BREAKING: Usoro Wins, Obi Okafor ‘Withdraws’

Mr. Paul Usoro SAN may be declared winner of the hotly contested NBA Elections, even as his closest rival, Chief Arthur Obi Okafor SAN may have withdrawn from the race, citing “surges of votes in favour of Paul Usoro SAN.”

Sources close to the ECNBA Situation Room said Usoro may coast to victory with less than one hundred votes.

Meanwhile, there are strong indications that Mr. Jonathan Taidi has won the post of General Secretary with a wide margin.

The petition by Arthur Obi Okafor Campaign Directorate reads:

20th August 2018
The Chairman
ECNBA
NBA Secretariat
Abuja

Dear Sir

This is to inform you that having reviewed the events leading up to and during the elections Arthur Obi Okafor SAN states categorically that he withdraws from this election and cannot accept the outcome of the result.

Inexplicable and strange surges of votes in favour of Paul Usoro SAN and the glaring incidences of hijacked votes makes it clear the result of this election cannot stand.

An acceptable participatory post election Audit of International standard will bear out our grievances in this regard.

Thank you

O.O.Olowokure Esq
For Arthur Obi Okafor SAN

 

NBA Election Records Massive Turn-Out

Less than five minutes to the end of the 2018 Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) National Officers Elections, CITY LAWYER can authoritatively report that no less than 75 per cent of registered voters participated in the election.

About 12, 184 of the registered 16, 115 voters had already cast their ballots to herald a new NBA Executive Committee, with about 3931 voters yet to vote.

There were strong indications that the hiccups that beset the elections had eased off towards the close of ballot, even as several campaign teams continued to call eligible voters to get out the vote.

The Electoral Committee of the NBA (ECNBA) had stated that the result of the election will be declared immediately after close of ballot.

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How NBA Election Will be Won and Lost

By Our Correspondent

As the curtains are gradually drawn on the hotly contested Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) National Officers Elections, there are strong indications that some crucial factors may determine the outcome of the poll.

Aside from the hiccups that had necessitated several shifts in the election timelines, controversies have also trailed the election, not least alleged attempts by some persons to rig the process. CITY LAWYER investigations show that some may have attempted to compromise the electoral process through identity theft. Several accounts of hijacked personal profiles abound.

Although the Electoral Committee of the NBA (ECNBA) had initially attempted to ward of identity theft through a stringent verification process, this was torpedoed when the model threatened to disenfranchise many eligible voters, leading to a more pliable model. Arising from this, there are strong indications that hackers may have hijacked the profiles of some voters, moreso as significant personal information such as the enrollment number through which detailed information on each voter could be gleaned was in full glare. CITY LAWYER was however unable to determine at press time the extent to which the hackers were able to compromise the electoral process.

Meanwhile, following the contentious disqualification of former NBA General Secretary, Mr. Afam Osigwe who was adjudged to wield a major political influence among young lawyers, the battle for the NBA Presidency became a tripodal face-off between Mr. Paul Usoro SAN, Chief Arthur Obi Okafor SAN and Prof. Ernest Ojukwu SAN.

The battle for the control of the secretariat is between Messrs Mas’ud Alabelewe, Bolaji Ojibara, Rafiu Balogun and Jonathan Taidi. Meanwhile, the full list of combatants have been uploaded by the ECNBA in its Election Magazine.

While the election has been coloured by the controversies surrounding the disqualification and adoption or otherwise of some candidates, and lately the choice of ICT partners for the election, there are strong indications that only candidates who work the hardest will coast home to victory. While the regional and voting blocs are seemingly intact, it is left to be seen how they will impact the elections in light of the amorphous electronic voting model which affords near total anonymity for voters.

However, aside from endorsements from influencers which ignited the political landscape afresh in the twilight of the campaigns, the branches remain veritable battle grounds for the mining of votes. CITY LAWYER analysis showed that while some branches with dominant voting populations may sway the elections, others are so negligible that they may be conveniently ignored by the combatants in the exacting heat of the campaigns.

The ECNBA had in a statement dated August 16, 2018 announced that of the total 32,228 eligible voters submitted by the branches, 3,571 participated in the controversial verification exercise conducted by CRENET Techlabs between July 31 and August 2, 2018 while 13,254 voters were verified between August 8 and August 11, 2018. This brought the total number of eligible voters on the voters’ register to 16,825.

CITY LAWYER analysis shows that while Lagos remains the branch with the highest number of eligible voters totaling 2476, at least two branches – Ikot Ekpene and Ilaro – have no eligible voters on the final verified list of voters. Lagos branch is trailed by Port Harcourt Branch (1184), Abuja Branch (1158), and the emergent Ikole-Ekiti Branch (917 voters) which sensationally upstaged the usually boisterous Ikeja Branch at 850 voters. Aside from these five branches, the only other branch with 500+ registered voters is Benin Branch (548).

In the 400-plus bracket are Ibadan (427) and Ilorin branches (403), the latter being the home and adopted branches of three of the gladiators for the post of General Secretary. Six branches have 300 or more eligible voters on the final verified list. These include Jos (352), Asaba (330), Uyo (324), Kaduna (314) and Makurdi (300).

The 200-plus category comprises of Calabar (263), Owerri (256), Maiduguri (222), Warri (218), Awka (216), Enugu (215) and Lokoja (202).

Split among the three zones recognized by Section 9(3) of the 2015 NBA Constitution, the Western Zone has the dominant 3290 voters, followed closely by the Northern Zone at 2951 and the Eastern Zone at 2458 voters. Given that especially all the presidential aspirants are from the Eastern Zone, there are strong indications that both the Northern and Western zones will be battle grounds for all the candidates. Aside from seemingly having an upper hand in their home branches, the ‘diaspora factor’ may also come into play in supposedly giving the presidential candidates an edge in their respective ‘adopted’ branches.

Among the fringe branches with 100-plus voters are Yenagoa (197), Akure (180), Barnawa (179), Damaturu (169), Ughelli (168), Ungogo (165), and Onitsha (168). Others include Lafia (145), Minna (143), Effurun (140), Bauchi (130), Ikorodu (124), Yola (120), Abeokuta (119), Kano (119), Bwari (104), Orlu (104) and Uromi (103) branches.

It is left to be seen how this will impact the outcome of the elections. All said, this is perhaps one of the fiercest elections in the history of the NBA. While litigations by Osigwe and Chief Jor Kyari Gadzama SAN relating to the 2016 NBA presidential election still however like a Frankenstein monster over the fate of the elections, there is no gainsaying that those who emerge victorious from the energy-sapping elections aggressively fought both through leg-work and the social media will pat themselves on the back for a job well done.

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CHAMS Did Not Reject or Lose Voters’ Data – Yadudu

• Says Issue of Passwords ‘Has been Resolved’
• Advises Voters to Go for EMAIL Option
• Voters Allege Identity Theft
• Candidate Petitions ECNBA
• Voters List Challenges
• ‘Those with Missing Names May Vote’ Continue Reading

BREAKING: Missing Names – ECNBA Gives Deadline

The Electoral Committee of the Nigerian Bar Association (ECNBA) has directed all eligible voters with genuine cases of missing names on the voters’ list to submit their complaints latest by 9 o’clock today.

The statement which was issued early this morning was signed by ECNBA Secretary, Mr. Bolaji Agoro.

Details soon.

 

Why You May Not Vote Now – ECNBA

The Electoral Committee of the Nigerian Bar Association (ECNBA) has explained the hiccups being experienced by most voters in the ongoing NBA National Officers Elections.
Continue Reading

BREAKING: ECNBA Flags Off Voting

The Electoral Committee of the Nigerian Bar Association (ECNBA) has announced commencement of the long-awaited voting in the NBA National Officers Elections. Continue Reading

BREAKING: ECNBA Unveils Voting Manual

The Electoral Committee of the Nigerian Bar Association (ECNBA) has unveiled the manual for accreditation and voting for the NBA National Officers Elections. Continue Reading