Monday, 6 July, 2020

VERIFICATION: Odinkalu Blasts NBA, Electoral C’te

Former National Human Rights Commission Chairman, Professor Chidi Odinkalu has lampooned the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) and its electoral committee for the hiccups that have attended the verification exercise for this year’s National Officers election.

Below is the full statement as sent to CITY LAWYER:

Good morning colleagues,

I have lost count of the number of people who have tried to encourage me to persevere with the verification process for these NBA elections. They are mostly people whom I respect. So I have paid them heed.

As much as I have tried, I have been unsuccessful so far and this is day 3 of trying. I can’t even begin to compute the amount of time it has cost me. Nor the hours in time I should have been asleep.

With so many of us stuck in this, I want to ask honestly why are we as a bunch of professionals so tolerant of clear incompetence? What happened to our capacities – collective and individual – for indignation?

Surely NBA’s election is not an accident. We know when it is supposed to happen. Every tenure in the NBA has 2 years notice to prepare for it. Yet here we are, out of time, with an election platform that is clearly untested, flawed in design, unknown to the electorate, not understood by the ECNBA and absolutely unfit for purpose.

As voters, we should be angry. As professionals we should be ashamed. This exercise has turned into cruel and unusual punishment of the kind that is clearly prohibited by our national constitution. No election should justify or involve this amount of pointless loss in transaction cost.

The result is that much of the electorate will be disenfranchised. Any mandate that emerges from this would have questions in legitimacy. The assurances of the ECNBA about electoral creibility are hollow, empty and utterly devoid of credulity.

I would like the NBA to have a leadership transition. I am not sure it should be purchased at the steep cost to institution credibility that we seem willing to sleep-walk into. Something has to change and fast too. We don’t have time…

I am Chidi Anselm Odinkalu

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