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’
The Electoral Committee of the Nigerian Bar Association (ECNBA) Chairman, Prof. Auwalu Yadudu has debunked allegations that CHAMS Plc, the ICT Partner for the 2018 NBA National Officers Elections lost or rejected any verified list sent to it for voting in the elections.
Yadudu told CITY LAWYER that there was no iota of truth in the allegation, adding that the evoting portal has not been hacked.
Also giving a hint on the thorny issue of poor delivery of passwords to eligible voters, the ECNBA Chairman vowed that the problem “has been resolved,” advising voters to opt for the email option which “works better.”
On the alleged omission of a candidate’s photograph on the voting platform, Yadudu told CITY LAWYER that “Every contestant has his/her photograph posted on the evoting platform.”
CITY LAWYER also gathered that the ECNBA may have given a tacit approval to eligible voters who could not find their names on the verified list to vote. An impeccable source had told CITY LAWYER that an ECNBA member had directed “that all those with verification code should accredit and vote.”
However, when CITY LAWYER sought to know whether this was an official position of the electoral committee on the matter, Yadudu said: “I cannot comment on that.”
Controversies have trailed the elections following a litany of problems listed by voters in attempting to cast their ballot, even as CHAMS was alleged to have either rejected or lost some portions of the voters’ list handed over to it, raising concerns among stakeholders.
Indications emerged that the transfer of the final verified list may have suffered a mishap when the Chairman of NBA Lagos Branch, Mr. Chukwuka Ikwuazom said in a post that “I have been informed that during the handover of the data from Crenet to Chams, some data was either rejected or lost.” It is recalled that there has been a controversy over some “hidden” and missing names on the voting portal, even as the portal has been rejecting some eligible voters due to “invalid id.”
Some eligible voters have alleged identity theft in the electoral process. In a post by one Rhodesia Whyte, the voter alleged that “In NBA Sagbama Branch and Yenagoa, accreditation has been funny with many a member and the non-comforting situation suggest to us that the NBA electoral process has been hacked.”
Continuing, the voter said: “As accreditation of eligible voters commence, members of NBA Sagbama Branch and Yenagoa including but not limited Inemoye Maxwell Brown and Felix Suku core supporters of Arthur Obi Okafor have been denied accreditation as GSM numbers and passwords belonging to unknown persons are being jostled. There is serious problem because it appears the process is having challenges.”
Speaking in a similar vein, one Kalada Nonju wrote: “I think there is something wrong. My password is sent to a different phone number other than mine. I tried it again directing it to my email, again a different email address.”
At least one candidate has petitioned the Yadudu-led electoral committee on the absence of her photograph from the voting portal. In the petition to Yadudu which was obtained by CITY LAWYER, Obianuju Chukwuma-Okafor, a candidate for the post of National Treasurer, wrote: “This is to inform you of the refusal of the electoral committee to upload my personal photograph on the voting portal thereby causing panic and agitation in the minds of my teeming supporters,” adding: “I DEMAND that my personal photograph be uploaded immediately same having been forwarded to the committee as required.”
There are strong indications at the time of going to press that the matter has been resolved. When CITY LAWYER contacted the candidate on the matter, she said: “I am happy to report that the matter has been resolved. I commend the ECNBA chairman and secretary for their prompt response.” There are strong indications that Yadudu, who may have adopted a hands-on approach to resolving the myriad of challenges confronting the elections, had telephoned the candidate to reassure her that the committee is bent on offering a level-playing field to all candidates.
Meanwhile, CITY LAWYER learnt that some branches may have petitioned ECNBA on the issue of missing names from the voting portal. In tackling the matter, the electoral committee may have directed branch chairmen to compile cases of those with credible evidence of having verified in order to ensure that they vote. Ikwuazom had in his post stated thus: “Please if you are affected by this problem let me know immediately. Let me have your name, phone number, email address and correct enrolment number. Please treat as urgent.”
Also, the committee earlier today issued a formal statement on the matter, asking affected voters to email their particulars to “forward their details to email@example.com” before 9 o’clock.
While many voters have reported voting for their preferred candidates, several others have lamented experiencing hiccups during the voting process. Aside from the “invalid id” challenge which beset the process when the voting portal had not gone live as well as in the case of those whose names were not found on the portal, most voters complained of not having received their passwords, even when the system had prompted them to await the passwords. Some have reported waiting for several hours since receiving the prompt.
First female Dean of Law, University of Lagos, Prof. Chioma Agomo wrote: “I am still waiting for the password which was said to have been sent to my phone 24 hours ago.” One Ijeoma Idika also wrote: “No password yet more than 12 hours now, both via SMS or email.”
On his part, one Don Ibeabuike wrote: “I did my verification and confirmed my name in the final voters register. I tried to accredit but did not get any password in my email or a text message in my phone. I’ve given up. It is better we go manual next time than disenfranchising willing electorates.”
In the response by Yadudu to CITY LAWYER, he said: “Chams did not lose nor reject any data submitted to it. To the best of our knowledge and technical assessment, our platform has not been compromised or hacked. The issue of timely delivery of password has been resolved. We advise that voters should enter username as SCN01234 and request password to be sent via email which works better. Every contestant has his/her photograph posted on the evoting platform.”
Following the delay in commencement of the voting, the ECNBA has extended the exercise from 00:15 Hours to 6:00 Hours on Monday.
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