Tuesday, 11 August, 2020

EXCLUSIVE: NBA ELECTION – Usoro, Obi Okafor Rigged, Says Ojukwu

A presidential candidate in the just concluded Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) National Officers Elections, Prof. Ernest Ojukwu SAN has alleged that his two rivals in the presidential bid attempted to out-rig each other during the poll.

In an exclusive interview with CITY LAWYER, the former Nigerian Law School helmsman claimed that he was the only presidential candidate that did not tamper with the electoral process, adding that the election is the “worst” conducted by NBA since 1991.

Warned that CITY LAWYER would quote him on the allegation, Ojukwu was even more emphatic, saying: “Quote me on that; hundred per cent. Both candidates corrupted the system, bribed voters with money, practice fee, and then ultimately stole people’s data and used it to vote. Quote me hundred per cent.”

Continuing, the defeated NBA presidential candidate who polled 3313 votes to trail both the president-elect, Mr. Paul Usoro SAN and Chief Arthur Obi Okafor SAN said: “I am the only person who didn’t try to rig the election. They were competing with each other on who will rig better.

“The election was rigged 100 per cent. The candidates hijacked the process from the time members were asked to verify; that’s when they hijacked the system – and stole people’s data. From the ones they paid their practice fee and the others stolen during the verification exercise. And many many people couldn’t vote because of that. Once that was done, they were competing with each other as to who will out-vote each other with stolen data.”

On his suggestions towards electoral reforms, Ojukwu said: “Nothing. Nothing. It’s not the system that is the problem; it is the human beings. So, there is nothing I can suggest to a person who is elected by a stolen mandate because he will not do a new free election. That’s why we have transited from hand-to-hand since 2012. People who emerged through a stolen system have not been able to hand over through free and fair elections. This is one of the worst elections conducted at the Bar since 1991. In fact, it is the worst. And it will have a place in infamy.”

Ojukwu restated his resolve not to challenge the result of the poll. His words: “My statement is very clear. I said I was not going to contest the election. What am I going to court to do? I said I was not going to contest it.”

On whether he would explore any internal mechanism within the NBA system, the former law teacher said: “You complain to the person who is the armed robber? How would you get the verdict? You complain to the armed robber for stealing your money? To do what? To settle between me and Paul (Usoro SAN) or between me and who?”

Reminded that the pre-Annual General Conference NBA National Executive Committee may deliberate on the debacle, Ojukwu said: “It depends on the issue that arises. That’s the only time I know what to answer – if there is any need to answer.”

The former law teacher also told CITY LAWYER that he has no plans for the future in relation to his political fortunes. His words: “I don’t have any future plan. I’m still a member (of NBA).”

It is recalled that the Prof. Auwalu Yadudu-led Electoral Committee of the NBA (ECNBA) had in the early hours of Monday, August 20, 2018 declared Usoro as the duly elected 29th president of the NBA. Usoro polled 4509 while his closest rival, Obi Okafor garnered 4423 to place second. Ojukwu placed third with 3313 votes.

The election was severally postponed due to many hiccups that plagued the process.

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