‘NO HERO HAS EVER EMERGED FROM TREACHERY,’ ADESINA WARNS

BY EMEKA NWADIOKE

Erstwhile Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) presidential candidate, Mr. Dele Adesina has said that it was the association and not him or his supporters that lost the recently concluded election.

In a statement dripping with passion, Adesina also warned that NBA may have “lost the last opportunity to re-invent itself,” adding that “time will tell.”

He described the poll as “electronic fraud,” saying: “However, please remember that for those who masterminded, planned and executed the NBA election electronic fraud, no hero has ever emerged out of treachery no matter how noble he thinks his cause is.”

The full text of his speech is below:

THANK YOU ALL FROM DELE ADESINA, SAN, FCIArb.

To all my dear Supporters and Colleagues, particularly my Friends and Co-workers on various social media platforms, DASAN Committees, NBA Forums and Platforms, l once again wish to express my heartfelt gratitude and profound appreciation to each and everyone of you for the wonderful role you played in our attempt to re-create our Association by making it a positive catalyst for the Legal Profession and our Nation. We thought they would respect the very wide acceptability level we enjoyed through-out the Nation and different blocks and allow a fair, free and transparent election. Unfortunately, we never knew that the degree of audacity will be this brazen. We were going there to change the ways and show the path to follow, to demonstrate the meaning of true leadership in purity, honesty of purpose and integrity. Regrettably, those who hold the NBA in suffocating throat know the reason for doing what they did.

One clear thing from these past weeks is that we have built a strong bond of friendship and brotherhood thereby creating connections across the Nation. To all our partners, I urge you all to continue in this spirit of fellowship and keep our connections active as we are all together in this journey of life and career fulfilment in the true spirit of being “our brother’s keeper”. Please, do not exit the Forums and Platforms as it is my desire that we stay together, look after each other’s welfare and mutual progress. The NBA Presidency for me was not an end in itself but really a means to an end. The difference only is that the focus may now be shifted from that of institution to the individuals and that is you.

My believe and that of many, both within and outside of the Bar is that the election of yesterday July 30, 2020 was lost by the Nigerian Bar Association not me or you who worked tirelessly for the repositioning of our Association, the restoration of its honour, glory, integrity and the security of the future of our beloved Profession. Whether or not NBA has not lost the last opportunity to re-invent itself, time will tell. However, please remember that for those who masterminded, planned and executed the NBA election electronic fraud, no hero has ever emerged out of treachery no matter how noble he thinks his cause is.

Once again, I thank you all for your support. God bless you and bless the works of your hands.

Dele Adesina, SAN, FCIArb.

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AKPATA PROMISES ELECTORAL REFORMS, HAILS ADESINA, AJIBADE

BY EMEKA NWADIOKE

Nigerian Bar Association President-elect, Mr. Olumide Akpata has promised to embark on electoral reforms to smoothen the lapses in the association’s electoral system.

In a letter to lawyers titled “Let us secure the future through a united bar that works for all,” the incoming NBA President traced his entry into the presidential race, adding that “On the strength of the foregoing pledge, I asked you to give me your mandate and join me in bringing about an Association that works for the majority of its members.”

Noting that the electorate “answered that call in an overwhelming and unequivocal manner” when, at the end of a “long and intriguing process” he emerged victorious,” Akpata stated that he was writing “to say thank you from the bottom of my heart.”

He noted that he did not take for granted “the hardwork, passion and commitment that you all invested into the process that has now culminated in my emergence as President-elect,” and assured NBA members that he would deploy “what I consider my greatest personal attribute: discipline of execution, in carrying out the undertakings that I had given to the members.”

Saying that he “was certain that the election was really not about me,” the leading solicitor stated that he “was driven by the passion to use my time, talent and resources to improve our Association by making it fit-for-purpose, beneficial to all members and responsive to the needs of the society.”

He observed that  “Throughout the electioneering process, I saw many Nigerian lawyers who had either lost faith, or never been interested, in the NBA participate with utmost enthusiasm in the hope that things would become better. This further goes to show that the extraordinary movement that heralded this electoral victory was not, and could never have been about me.”

Dedicating his victory to several segments of the profession, Akpata said: “The victory of last night is for our young lawyers who have become disillusioned with the way the NBA has been run over the years and how the profession appears to be disconnected from the challenges that face them and their future. It is for the progressive senior lawyer who refused to accept the status quo and took firm steps to ensure that things are done better. It is for the corporate counsel, law officers, law teachers, the police and military lawyers, and lawyers in all components of the profession who for long have been treated as unequal members of an Association that ought to be the umbrella body for all legal practitioners.

“The victory of last night is for the lawyer with disability who has long suffered neglect and indignity by the profession. Above all, our victory is for non-lawyers and the general populace who took an unusual, but a special, interest in the conduct of our elections, thus lending credence to my long- held belief that the Nigerian society has always yearned for a legal profession and indeed a Bar that stands tall as an unwavering bastion of the rule of law, an advocate for the sanctity and independence of the judiciary, and a bulwark against tyranny and oppression.”

He accepted the mandate, saying: “It is therefore with immense respect for you, a deep understanding of the value of your mandate, a demonstrable appreciation of the factors that have bedevilled our noble Association and with humility to the will of God, that I wholeheartedly accept this mandate from you. The outpouring of support is only indicative of the amount of work that needs to be done. The greatest appreciation that I can show to all of you is to keep to the various promises that I made, and this, I assure you that I would do.”

On electoral reform, the NBA President-elect said that he was “not unaware of the complaints by at least one of the Presidential candidates about the administrative issues surrounding the elections,” adding that “As members of the legal profession, our electoral process ought to be and remain a standard for others to follow. I said this much in my second letter dated 29th July 2020 to the Chairman of the Electoral Committee of the NBA.”

Declaring his commitment to address the controversies that have bedeviled the association’s elections, Akpata said: “ I strongly believe that there is plenty room for improvement in our electoral process, and I commit to making this possible.”

He stated that while the expectations are high, “together we have a duty to devise measures to tackle the problems of our noble Association. We need to hit the ground running.”

Turning to his fellow contestants, Akpata said: “I also particularly appreciate my friends and learned seniors, Deacon Dele Adesina SAN, and Dr. Babatunde Ajibade SAN, against whom I had the privilege of contesting for the office of President of the NBA. One thing that remained unshaken throughout the election process was my utmost respect for these distinguished and respectable gentlemen. May I humbly assure them that my respect remains intact. The election is over but the work ahead of us is immense. We must now unite in order to achieve our common goal of revitalising the Bar and ensuring that our voice is firm and unshaken when we speak. I obviously cannot do this alone and will be counting on their support and counsel as we work towards Securing The Future through a United Bar that Works for All.”

He reassured lawyers that “I shall do my best to deliver on your mandate. May God bless you all and the Nigerian Bar Association.”

AKPATA_LETTER

Copyright 2020 CITY LAWYER. Please send emails to citylawyermag@gmail.com. Join us on Facebook at https://web.facebook.com/City-Lawyer-Magazine-434937936684320 and on TWITTER at https://twitter.com/CityLawyerMag All materials available on this Website are protected by copyright, trade mark and other proprietary and intellectual property laws. You may not use any of our intellectual property rights without our express written consent or attribution to www.citylawyermag.com. However, you are permitted to print or save to your individual PC, tablet or storage extracts from this Website for your own personal non-commercial use.

NBA ELECTION: ADESINA’S CAMP SPLITS, AS OJUKWU BACKS AKPATA

BY EMEKA NWADIOKE

A major split may have occurred in the camp of erstwhile Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) presidential candidate, Mr. Dele Adesina SAN as one of his staunchest backers has urged stakeholders to support NBA President-elect, Mr. Olumide Akpata.

Though former NBA presidential candidate, Prof. Ernest Ojukwu SAN had profusely endorsed Adesina in the run-up to the election, he however told CITY LAWYER today that “we should focus our energy on how to support the new officers.”

Adesina is reputed to have been a major anchor for Ojukwu’s campaign especially in the Lagos area when he sought the much coveted NBA Presidency in the 2018 NBA Elections.

In a statement to CITY LAWYER, the former Nigerian Law School Deputy Director – fondly referred to as “Teacher” – while decrying the lapses that bedeviled the poll, however congratulated Akpata on his victory.

His words: “I congratulate Mr. Akpata and the rest of the members that won at the NBA 2020 election. It is a shame that the process was yet again flawed but now we should focus our energy on how to support the new officers to regenerate the Association to be able to deliver on her objectives that have been lying dormant in our Constitution for sometime now. We should all support them.”

CITY LAWYER recalls that Ojukwu had in an elaborate statement endorsed Adesina as his preferred presidential candidate, saying: “Dele Adesina is the best for Bar Presidency at this time of our history and the future of our profession.

“He not only packs a punch on progressive ideas and execution but has the most experience at leadership and change for the Bar and the legal profession. After NBA was resuscitated following the Port Harcourt imbroglio, it was under the regime of Chief Wole Olanipekun SAN 2002 – 2004 when Dele Adesina was the General Secretary that the Bar witnessed so many firsts in her development. Dele Adesina was in the Centre of them all and highly active in all those activities. I recall some of them like-

● The first (and I think the only so far) minimum wage guideline for legal practitioners that targeted young lawyers. Subsequent administrations abandoned the minimum wage guidelines. Young lawyers are still totally being marginalized, poorly paid and treated by the profession up till date.

● First NBA conference to be conducted in break-out sessions and simultaneous sessions. Before then annual conferences were organized in one hall like ‘dugbe’ market. The General Secretary was the administrator of annual conferences.

● First to resuscitate and relaunch the Nigerian Bar Journal. Seven editions were published in that tenure alone.

● First comprehensive review of the Legal Practitioners Act (2004).

● First enactment of the Stamp and Seal Regulation. The Regulation which was suggested by a committee was first captured in the draft Legal Practitioners Act of 2004, but later enacted in the RPC of 2007; and

● Of course, a first comprehensive reform of the administration of the NBA Secretariat.

“I personally know Dele and vouch for his integrity. The Bar needs a progressive President, a dedicated leader, a non-dictator, a democrat, a result-oriented leader, and a compassionate and strongly experienced Bar leader.

“Dele Adesina is the man. He will bring total turn around for the Bar and the Legal profession.

“I endorse Dele for NBA President without any hesitation whatsoever.”

It is recalled that Adesina had demanded cancellation of the poll due to alleged irregularities, calling it a “sham election.” It was unclear how the split will affect Adesina’s quest to upturn the poll, as call to his campaign directorate was not returned at press time.

Copyright 2020 CITY LAWYER. Please send emails to citylawyermag@gmail.com. Join us on Facebook at https://web.facebook.com/City-Lawyer-Magazine-434937936684320 and on TWITTER at https://twitter.com/CityLawyerMag All materials available on this Website are protected by copyright, trade mark and other proprietary and intellectual property laws. You may not use any of our intellectual property rights without our express written consent or attribution to www.citylawyermag.com. However, you are permitted to print or save to your individual PC, tablet or storage extracts from this Website for your own personal non-commercial use.

AKPATA WINS: AJIBADE, ALEGEH, YLF, EBF, MID-WEST FORUM HAIL HIM

BY EMEKA NWADIOKE

At exactly 12:53 am early today, the Chairman of the Electoral Committee of the Nigerian Bar Association (ECNBA), Mr. Tawo Eja Tawo SAN declared Tier-One solicitor, Mr. Olumide Akpata as winner of the NBA presidential election held last Wednesday and Thursday. Akpata is billed to be sworn in late August as the 30th NBA President.

The announcement of the official results, monitored by CITY LAWYER, was broadcast live on many social media handles and witnessed by ECNBA members, a broadcast station and some agents of the candidates in the election.

Though a total of 29,636 lawyers were accredited for the election, only 18,256 or 62 per cent of the voters succeeded in casting their ballots.

According to the ECNBA Chairman, Akpata polled 9,891 or 54.3 per cent votes to beat his closest rival, Dr. Babatunde Ajibade SAN who garnered 4,328 (23.8 per cent) votes. Mr. Dele Adesina SAN polled 3,982 votes (21.9 per cent) to bring up the rear.  Adesina had a few hours to the end of the election demanded cancellation of the poll, saying it was fraught with irregularities. The election was held via electionbuddy, an electronic voting software deployed by Edmonton, Canada based firm.

Other winners are John Martin who polled 6,010 votes to clinch the post of NBA First Vice President; Adeyemo Kazeem (Second Vice President with 8,794 votes); Joyce Oduah (General Secretary with 8,979 votes); Olukunle Edun (Welfare Secretary with 9001 votes); Rapulu Nduka (Publicity Secretary with 11,964 votes); Uchenna Nwadialo (Assistant Secretary with 7,314 votes) and Naza Afam (Assistant Publicity Secretary with 6,490 votes). Mercy Ijato Agada (Treasurer) and Raphael Anagor (Financial Secretary) polled 16, 487 votes and 15,824 votes as unopposed candidates.

Though Ajibade poked holes in the electoral process, he said in a statement that he had “called Mr. Olumide Akpata and congratulated him on his election as the 30th President of our great association, the Nigerian Bar Association, in the elections held on 29th – 30th July 2020.”

Commending the “level of the debate and the quality of the ideas that were brought forth,” Ajibade however expressed dissatisfaction with the electoral process, saying: “It is unfortunate that the process leading up to and during the election itself have, once again, not been devoid of controversy.  It is my fervent hope that we will get over these repeated challenges with conducting objectively free and fair elections into the leadership positions in the association.”

Saying that “we cannot succeed in addressing the challenges confronting our profession unless we unite,” Ajibade added: “I urge the incoming President and his executive to take deliberate and proactive steps to unite the Bar.”

Meanwhile, several Bar Leaders and forums have also congratulated Akpata on his victory.

Influential former NBA President, Mr. Augustine Alegeh SAN, who is believed to be a staunch supporter of Akpata, said: “I most heartily congratulate Olumide Akpata Esq. on his election as the 30th President of the NBA. I also felicitate with the other elected National Officers on their victory at the polls and urge Members of our Association to support the newly elected National Officers as they take steps to deliver on their mandate to lead the Bar for the next 2 years.”

He commended Adesina and Ajibade “for their maturity and candor,” and urged them to “work with the incoming President in his efforts to make Our Association better. This is a time for unity in the best interest of the Association.”

Saying the election would not have been possible due to the coronavirus pandemic save for the introduction of electronic voting, Alegeh stated that “elections are never perfect.” He urged the incoming administration to “improve on the gains recorded in the electronic voting system that guarantees universal suffrage under our Constitution.”

Commending the Usoro Administration “for the successful conduct of the elections and the efforts so far in moving the Bar forward on several fronts,” the erstwhile NBA President whose regime introduced universal suffrage and electronic voting said: “I know that the Incoming-President will be magnanimous in victory and will run an all-inclusive administration geared towards improving the NBA to handle its core mandate of promoting the rule of law, human rights as well as the welfare of its Members.”

The NBA Young Lawyers Forum (NBA-YLF) also congratulated Akpata and other elected National Officers on their victory. In a statement by the Chairman and Secretary of its Governing Council, Tobi Adebowale and Patricia Udeh, it said “The YLF remains unequivocally willing and available to engage with all relevant stakeholders for the benefit of Young Lawyers and all other members of the NBA.”

In a statement by the factional Chairman of Mid-West Bar Forum, Chief Chike Onyemenam SAN, the body congratulated Akpata, Aikpokpo-Martins and Edun on their “resounding and landslide victory,” adding that “by your victory at the polls which was  democratic, transparent and clearly demonstrated your acceptance by the entire members of the Nigerian Bar Association devoid of tribal or sectional considerations, you have done the members  of the 14 N.B.A. branches  of the Mid-West Bar Forum proud and  demonstrated to all that in spite of the shortcomings of the political class in our great nation’s efforts at democracy, Nigerian lawyers are still capable of conducting their own affairs in a democratic manner.”

On its part, the Eastern Bar Forum (EBF) in a statement by the Chairman, Mr. S. Long Williams, congratulated Akpata and other elected officers. It noted some lapses that bedeviled the poll, but described the election as “free, fair and credible.”

Copyright 2020 CITY LAWYER. Please send emails to citylawyermag@gmail.com. Join us on Facebook at https://web.facebook.com/City-Lawyer-Magazine-434937936684320 and on TWITTER at https://twitter.com/CityLawyerMag All materials available on this Website are protected by copyright, trade mark and other proprietary and intellectual property laws. You may not use any of our intellectual property rights without our express written consent or attribution to www.citylawyermag.com. However, you are permitted to print or save to your individual PC, tablet or storage extracts from this Website for your own personal non-commercial use.

NBA ELECTION CRISIS: AUDIT TO THE RESCUE?

BY EMEKA NWADIOKE

As the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) 2020 Election inches to a close, the much anticipated inaugural audit of the election may be the elixir needed to calm frayed nerves and pull the poll away from the usual rancour that has bedeviled previous exercises.

Signs that the election may walk the troubled part of past polls emerged today when one of the presidential candidates, Mr. Dele Adesina SAN wrote to the Electoral Committee of the NBA (ECNBA) demanding cancellation of the election.

In a petition to the electoral committee, Adesina alleged that the election is fraught with irregularities, saying that the voters’ list “contained grave errors of omission and commission.” He listed some of the errors to include:

  1. Names of purported lawyers without branches ascribed to them from Serial Number 25171 to 29635;
  2. Names of Lawyers under the subheading “International Diaspora” from Serial Number 12182 to 12268. A clear violation of the provisions of the Constitution of the NBA;
  3. Inflation of the List of some Branches. For instance, Obollo-Afor Branch on the Final List for Verification had only 39 names on the List from Serial Number 30424 to 30462. Strangely, this increased to 662 on the Verified List;
  4. Deletion of Names of Members removed from the Final List;
  5. Many Members names found their way to Branches other than their own Branch.

Adesina stated that though he took up the matter with NBA President, Mr. Paul Usoro SAN as well as with a member of the Electoral Committee, “Some explanations were made though unsatisfactory by which time voting had actually started.” He stated that the Electoral Committee “admitted this error” in their Statement No. 019 when they stated that “the situation is regretted but arose because members in the course of Verification did not fully update information on their current Branches and/or sex.” He however noted that “nothing was done to rectify the situation.”

The presidential candidate also alleged that the voters’ register was padded with over 180 voters, saying: “The Addition of Votes Recorded plus Notices yet undelivered amounted to 29,820 which is 185 votes over and above the total number of voters on the Voters Register.”

He also alleged that “the System used for this Election was said to have been registered the very day the Election was to start and MoU was signed on that same day. This was done all alone by the President of the NBA.” He added that “There was no opportunity to interrogate the System before the commencement of the Election in order to determine its vulnerability, security and capacity.”

Adesina has practically rejected the outcome of the election, calling it a “sham.” His words: “I call on you Mr. Chairman and Members of the Electoral Committee of the Nigerian Bar Association to cancel this sham Election. It is needless to say that if the process is bad, the product cannot be good.”

A similar statement by the Dele Adesina Support Group is fundamentally on all fours with Adesina’s petition. Its list of alleged infractions includes the following:

  1. Failure to release the final voters list within constitutionally prescribed period.
  2. Over 4000 names were without Branches as required by the NBA Constitution.
  3. 86 lawyers were described as belonging to International Diaspora contrary to the provision of the NBA Constitution.
  4. Padding of Voters’ list of some Branches, and reduction in the number of published voters’ list of others. An example is Obollo-Afor Branch which has over 661 names on the voters list when the actual voters list is less than 60.
  5. Several branches had names of hitherto eligible voters removed from the final list.
  6. Several members had their names listed in Branches other than theirs.
  7. Many members have reported that they received notification of confirmation of voting when they neither received voting links nor voted.

At least one candidate for the post of General Secretary also complained bitterly to CITY LAWYER on what is generally perceived as a highly jaundiced voters’ list.

There is no gainsaying that the verified voters’ list as released by the electoral committee was seemingly an anti-climax, as it failed to build on the more robust “final list” released by the ECNBA. Apparently, the “clean up” of the final voters’ list was largely unsuccessful. It also does not seem that the electoral committee’s explanation on the issue fully exonerates it from blame. For example, how does it explain the increase in the number of voters for Obollo Afor by about 600 among sundry gaps.

Also, it is yet to be determined the number of eager and eligible voters who were disenfranchised by non-receipt of voting links either via email or short messaging service. While some of the affected voters contacted CITY LAWYER on the subject, subsequent feedback was not quite satisfactory.

There is no gainsaying that the electoral committee got it right with its appointment of ELECTIONBUDDY, a world class voting management software for the election. The Help Desk was also generally functional.

However, it is instructive that the voters’ list is not only central to any election, but is especially critical for electronic voting given the garbage in-garbage out concept.

It is refreshing that the ECNBA has promised an audit of the election. Hopefully, a comprehensive audit will answer all the posers raised by the stakeholders and pull the association back from another tumultuous era.

 

ADESINA ASKS ECNBA TO CANCEL ONGOING NBA ELECTION

BY EMEKA NWADIOKE

Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) presidential candidate, Mr. Dele Adesina SAN has asked the Electoral Committee of the NBA (ECNBA) to cancel the ongoing National Officers Election, saying it is fraught with irregularities.

In a letter to ECNBA Chairman, Mr. Tawo Tawo SAN dated 30th July, 2020 and personally signed by him, Adesina stated that the voters’ list “contained grave errors of omission and commission,” listing some of the errors as:

1. Names of purported Lawyers without Branches ascribed to them from Serial Number 25171 to 29635;
2. Names of Lawyers under the subheading “International Diaspora” from Serial Number 12182 to 12268. A clear violation of the provisions of the Constitution of the NBA;

3. Inflation of the List of some Branches. For instance, Obollo-Afor Branch on the Final List for Verification had only 39 names on the List from Serial Number 30424 to 30462. Strangely, this increased to 662 on the Verified List;
4. Deletion of Names of Members removed from the Final List;
5. Many Members names found their way to Branches other than their own Branch.

According to Adesina, “I took this matter up in a telephone discussion with the other two Presidential Candidates, Dr. Babatunde Ajibade SAN and Olumide Akpata Esq. and a preferred suggestion was made that the matter be taken up informally with the Committee Members in the interest of the integrity of the Association. In furtherance of this, I raised the above issues with the President of the NBA and a member of the Electoral Committee. Some explanations were made though unsatisfactory by which time voting had actually started. The Electoral Committee admitted this error in their Statement No. 019 when they said among other things that “the situation is regretted but arose because members in the course of Verification did not fully update information on their current Branches and/ or sex.” Yet, nothing was done to rectify the situation.”

He also alleged that the voters’ register was padded with over 180 voters, saying: “The Addition of Votes Recorded plus Notices yet undelivered amounted to 29,820 which is 185 votes over and above the total number of voters on the Voters Register.”

He also alleged that “the System used for this Election was said to have been registered the very day the Election was to start and MoU was signed on that same day. This was done all alone by the President of the NBA.” He added that “There was no opportunity to interrogate the System before the commencement of the Election in order to determine its vulnerability, security and capacity.”

Delivering his verdict, Adesina said: “I call on you Mr. Chairman and Members of the Electoral Committee of the Nigerian Bar Association to cancel this sham Election. It is needless to say that if the process is bad, the product cannot be good.”

In a similar statement sent to CITY LAWYER and signed by Mr. Adesina Adegbite, National Coordinator of Dele Adesina Support Group, the group listed several infractions which it alleged marred the poll, saying: “From the foregoing, there is no doubt that the ongoing NBA Election lacks all features of credibility and transparency. We are therefore by this notice demanding immediate suspension of the ongoing election process to a later date when a clean list must have been prepared and published. The ongoing process is discredited and does not represent the dignity of our most honourable profession.”

Titled “RE: THE NIGERIAN BAR ASSOCIATION 2020 NATIONAL OFFICERS ELECTION: PETITION AGAINST THE MANAGEMENT OF THE ELECTORAL PROCESS,” the statement also listed some of the alleged infractions to include:

1. Failure to release the final voters list within constitutionally prescribed period.
2. Over 4000 names were without Branches as required by the NBA Constitution.

3. 86 lawyers were described as belonging to International Diaspora contrary to the provision of the NBA Constitution.
4. Padding of Voters’ list of some Branches, and reduction in the number of published voters’ list of others. An example is Obollo-Afor Branch which
has over 661 names on the voters list when the actual voters list is less than 60.
5. Several branches had names of hitherto eligible voters removed from the final list.
6. Several members had their names listed in Branches other than theirs.
7. Many members have reported that they received notification of confirmation of voting when they neither received voting links nor voted.

DASAN PETITION

ADESINA STATEMENT

ECNBA SAYS 13,000 VOTERS HAVE CAST BALLOTS

The Electoral Committee of the Nigerian Bar Association (ECNBA) has stated that over 13,000 lawyers have voted in the ongoing NBA National Officers Election, even as the electoral umpire is worried that many eligible voters may not receive their voting links due to telecommunication challenges.

Below is the full text of the ECNBA statement:

The ECNBA can confirm that over 13,000 individuals have voted in the ongoing NBA National Officers elections so far.

The ECNBA however clarifies that, Notices observed on the live voting platform as undeliverable can be attributable to any of the following 5 reasons:

  1. Voter has an inactive Phone Number
  2. Voter has invalid Phone Number (does not exist or is too short or too long)
  3. Voter has invalid Email Address (Wrongly spelt and does not exist OR their Domain has expired)
  4. Spam Filter on Voter’s email blocking direct delivery of emails. Voter can check Spam folder.
  5. DND is active on Voter’s phone and the message has been blocked by Telecommunication company.

 To deactivate DND take the following action:

  • 9mobile (Etisalat) numbers, Text START to 2442.
  • MTN numbers, Text ALLOW to 2442.
  • Glo numbers, Text CANCEL to 2442.
  • Airtel numbers, Text ALLOW to 2442.

Note also that the election server makes 5 attempts to deliver to each phone number/email and all those failed attempts are reflected as undeliverable. A subsequent attempt could still be successful if the challenge is resolved.

The ECNBA can confirm at the last check that at least 1,886 individuals of the Undeliverable Notices displayed on the live monitoring platform have since voted, because they got the message through one of the two channels used – Email or SMS.  The committee also confirms that messages have been sent using local networks to up to 8,000 numbers with active DND advising them to deactivate same.

Voters yet to view the election link through their email or SMS, are advised to ensure that DND is deactivated on their phones and check Spam folder in their emails.

The ECNBA continues to monitor and troubleshoot and will provide updates as necessary and required.

The ECNBA election hotline 070055552020 is still available for support to voters.

Dated this 30th day of July, 2020

Cordelia U. Eke(Mrs.)

Secretary, ECNBA

EXCLUSIVE: US VENDOR TO CONDUCT NBA ELECTIONS, AS COMPLAINTS MAR VOTERS’ LIST

BY EMEKA NWADIOKE

  • OJUKWU CALLS NEW VOTERS’ LIST A ‘FRAUD’

  • ‘INTERNATIONAL DIASPORA’ LISTED AS NBA BRANCH

  • OBOLLO AFOR JUMPS FROM 39 TO 662 MEMBERS

  • ECNBA ASSURES VOTERS AGAIN

A United States based electronic voting company will conduct the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) Elections, CITY LAWYER can authoritatively report.

This puts to rest all speculations regarding whether the Electoral Committee of the NBA (ECNBA) will deploy the controversial NBA Election Portal for the election. The NBA portal is alleged to be fraught with many gaps that can be exploited to rig the election.

CITY LAWYER gathered that though there were pressures on the electoral committee to deploy the NBA Portal, the members opted for a vendor with proven track record in e-voting, emphasizing that their reputations were at stake.

Meanwhile, it is not yet uhuru for the final list of verified voters released today by the electoral committee, as cases of missing names and padding still ravage the latest list. This is notwithstanding that 9, 686 names were purged from the “final list” of 39, 321 eligible voters to bring the current verified figure to 29, 635.

A case in point is Obollo Afor Branch which jumped from a meager 39 members on the previous list to a whopping 662 on the latest list. An amorphous branch called “International Diaspora” has no less than 87 names on the voters’ list, while over 4, 500 names had no branches listed against them.

Commenting on the current crisis, former NBA presidential candidate, Prof. Ernest Ojukwu said: “Nigerian Bar Association 2020 – The Electoral Committee’s final list of accredited voters is a fraud! Names have been included in Branches where such names don’t exist as members. We are ready to vote on a platform of fraud again!!!”

But in its latest statement on the complaints, the ECNBA said: 

On this 29/7/2020, the ECNBA circulated the list of accredited voters for the NBA National Officers election 2020 slated to commence at 11:00PM of Wednesday, 29/7/2020.

Members are assured that the unique identifier of each voter to be able to vote remains the enrollment number which is peculiar to each voter.

The ECNBA received complaints of members being placed in branches other than their own. This situation is regretted, but arose because members in the course of verification did not fully update information on their current branches and or sex and consequently were assigned the default positions (place holder) on the verification platform.

Members are advised to proceed to vote and disregard any such branches and or sex assigned to them as these do not bear on eligibility, convenience or result of the elections.

Members may wish to update their details on the membership portal of the NBA after the elections. In respect of omitted names, please see the ECNBA previous statements, more particularly ECNBA Statement No.018

Remember ballot opens at 11.00pm today, happy voting.

One Odufa itemized some of the issues that bedevil the voters list as follows:
1. Uromi Branch which had 45 eligible voters on the final lost after the verification only 20 names were released out of which only 9 are actual members while the other 11 are unknown Yoruba names.

2. A branch Called “International Diaspora ” has 87 fictitious names. From number 12182 – number 12268 on the just released Verified List.

3. One Mr. Iredia Osifo who didn’t pay his practicing fees or Branch dues found his name on the just released Verified List. See No 5793.

4. Miss. Yat Ulan Amos didn’t pay her branch dues but her name appeared on the Verified List. See Number 3535.
5. The Aba branch had 435 names on the final list but now have over 471 names on the Verified List.

6. Members of the Isiokpo Branch discovered only 48 names of their members were released on the Verified List as against the 84 names that were previously published on the Final voter’s list.

7. Ikorodu Branch which had about 233 names on the previously released voter’s list now has only 132 names. Leaving over 100 members disenfranchised.

8. Sapele branch was formerly 100 names now 70 names out of which 20 are not branch members.

THE HANKY-PANKY OF ECNBA 2020
My attention has been drawn to the last and most recent provisional list of eligible voters published this afternoon by the ECNBA 2020 in preparation for voting which will commence by 11:00pm today. As expected, it behooves on me to check and confirm that my name and that of my colleagues in the Uyo Branch are included.

To my greatest chagrin, my name was not found in the list, and some of my colleagues who also did not find their names have called me to question why their names are omitted when they conspicuously made it to the first and second provisional list earlier published by the ECNBA 2020.

This unfortunate development raises a very serious requisition as to the competence and credibility of the ECNBA 2020 in conducting a free and fair election in the face of abundant malpractices and omissions observed by some members of our Association.

My observations are as follows:

1. Majority of members of Uyo Branch of NBA who were conspicuously listed in the first and second provisional list earlier published, who also ensured they were verified in preparation to participate in the election today, are not found in the third but last provisional list published this afternoon.

2. The names of colleagues and members who did not make it to the first or second provisional list, who as at the 31st day of March, 2020, did not pay their BPF and Branch dues, talk more of being verified, are rather miraculously included in the third but last provisional list published this afternoon.

3. As the Assistant Secretary of Uyo Branch of NBA who has knowledge of members of the Branch, it is also very shocking that some of the names allotted by the ECNBA to form the list of eligible voters from Uyo Branch are strange and unknown to our secretariat.

4. Finally, the names and branches of eligible voters in the first and second provisional list earlier published by the ECNBA were arranged alphabetically for easy readability and identification of members, compared to the third but last provisional list published this afternoon, wherein names are scattered randomly with no orderly compilation, and thousands of other names are just mentioned on the list without alloting them to their various registered Branches for easy identification and confirmation.

In the face of these unfortunate and worrisome observations, more so in consideration of voting which will commence by 11:00pm today, one will ponder on the kind of hanky-panky the ECNBA 2020 is displaying. It is unfortunate that the would be eligible voters have been disenfranchised and non-eligible and strange names have been enfranchised to vote today starting from 11:00pm.

My confidence in the ECNBA 2020 is bleak.

Udeme Rivers
Assistant Secretary
NBA, Uyo

Which one is “international diaspora “. I thought to be eligible to vote, a person must belong to a Bar Branch in Nigeria.

IMPORTANT NOTICE!!!

Dear All,

The ECNBA has just released a list of Accredited Voters of 29,635 names, which is attached below for ease of reference.

Kindly go through the list and ascertain that you name is contained therein. If your name had previously been on the Fnal Voters List as released by the ECNBA and now omitted from this newly released one, kindly send me an email urgently at: nbalagoschairman@gmail.com.

Please note that by the newly released statement from the ECNBA, campaigns are hereby suspended forthwith. Therefore, all members are urged not further post any campaign material on the platforms.

Kind regards
Yemi Akangbe
Chairman, NBA Lagos.

U. Emiri

This list is riddled with errors, most oleh branch lawyers are listed under ughelli branch. This is so disheartening, that ECNBA is not able to get it right this time again.

Caleb Adebayo

Just like we suspected, the ECNBA has repeatedly revealed its incompetence. And to think they kept acting like they had everything under control. So many errors in the list!

Good evening, Tawo Tawo (SAN), Chairman, ECNBA.

I am Samuel Chukwuemeka Odoh Esq, chairman of Sapele Branch, and I am writing you, for and on behalf of the entire members of the Sapele Branch of the NBA.

We hereby, unequivocally register the *PROTEST of the entire members of our branch on the monumental travesty done to our branch. Our members have just gone through the so-called final list of voters published by you a few hours ago.

After a very thorough perusal of the list of indicated for Sapele Branch, we were shocked to find that only 70 (seventy) names were published out over 100 (one hundred) names published in the provisional names! Our members who successfully verified are over 100 (one hundred)!

To make matters doubly worse, the 70 (seventy) names published this evening contains 20 (twenty) names who are neither known to us nor our members! We believe they are fictitious names added under our column to perpetrate fraud in this elections!

We therefore protest vehemently and demand that the situation be resolved immediately.

If our above demand cannot be granted, we hereby call for an outright CANCELATION or POSTPONEMENT of the election to a future date, as it is obvious that you are ill prepared to carry out this sacred for which you were appointed!

Thanks.

S. C. Odoh Esq.
Chairman, NBA Sapele Branch.

A PLOY TO DISENFRANCHISE MEMBERS OF THE NBA, SAPELE BRANCH FROM EXERCISING THE RIGHT TO VOTE IN THE NBA, 2020 ELECTION.
I am OKE ODINDE, ESQ, the YLF Chairman, Ex-Publicity Secretary of NBA, Sapele Branch and the “I.T Man” of NBA, Sapele Branch. I worked with the immediate past Chairman of the Branch to prepare eligible names of Branch Members and same was sent to ECNBA.

When the ECNBA released the provisional list containing the names of our eligible voters, we had 115 eligible voters from our Branch.

It is very unfortunate to state that the numbers of eligible voters of our Branch has been reduced in the just published ACCREDITED LIST.

On the said accredited list are 70 supposed names of Sapele Branch Members but the reality is that 20 names stated on the list are not members of the Sapele Branch.

Names of Persons stated to be Sapele Baranch Members on the ECNBA ACCREDITED LIST (but in actual sense are not Members); are listed hereunder.
1. BABADIDI, MELE JASCO
2. OMORDIA, NGOZI OBIAGELI
3. SAKA, RASAK AYODEJI
4. DUROSINMI, ETTI LOOKMAN
5. CHIGBO, CHINONSO FESTUS
6. AKPORHONOR, EMILY ONOME
7. ADENIRAN, ABAYOMI ADEYEMI
8. ADEJOH, JIBRIN YUSUF
9. OJIAKU, STANLEY ARINZECHUKWU
10. OBAWEYA, TAIWO FOLUKE
11. ANAENUGWU, ANTHONY CHUKWUEMEKA
12. EKWALE, SARAH OCHUKO
13. OVEDHE, NATHAN TIMOTHY
14. MARTINOS, FRANCIS OLUYOMI
15. AKEREDOLU, YEWANDE YINKA
16. CHEGWE, WEYIMI ANITA
17. AKEREDOLU, YEWANDE YINKA
18. GESE, IORSE SIMON
19. OKWUAGBALA, UCHE IRUOMA
20. GOLD, KHADIJAT KUBURA

This is a ploy to disenfranchise our Branch Members.
Our questions are
1. What happened to the Provisional List that contains the complete names of eligible voters.
2. Why would the ECNBA add names not in the Sapele Branch to the Sapele Branch List?
3. Why would the ECNBA reduce the Sapele Branch Members from 115 to 52 Members?
This is unacceptable…
OKE ODINDE ESQ.
NBA, SAPELE BRANCH, YLF CHAIRMAN

THE YLF CHAIRMAN, NWABAA CLINTON AMONG OVER A HUNDRED VOTERS FROM IKORODU BRANCH, DECRIES HIS RUTHLESS DISENFRANCHISEMENT BY THE ECNBA 3 HOURS TO NBA NATIONAL ELECTIONS; CALLS FOR RECTIFICATION OF THE ACCREDITED VOTERS LIST BEFORE THE VOTING EXERCISE.

“My name is Nwabaa Clinton O. I’m a lawyer and an active member of NBA Ikorodu branch and also the present chairman young lawyers forum, Ikorodu branch.

The NBA Ikorodu falls within 11507-11639 that means that the only accredited voters of my branch are 132 leaving well over 100 active voters disenfranchised.

I hereby raised objection to this election and as well put NBA on notice to show cause why the election should be held as I’m disenfranchised.

Shola Abiloye

Something to keep us busy until 11pm tonight. Collating the list of accredited voters in alphabetical order should be the simplest of things for the ECNBA. Why punish people because they want to vote?

Uche Ogwo

I have zoomed and zoomed and peered into and around this list, i have checked for my name and maiden name and both are not there!!!!!. I did all including the verification and got a mail saying I was verified and I CAN’T SEE MY NAME!!!. Let me not be hasty please if anyone sees Uchenna Chinyere Ogwo or Uchenna Chinyere Nweke, kindly notify me because I MUST VOTE!!!. Why my name must always be omitted is totally beyond my understanding 🤷♀️🤦

Raqeebah Oloko

Thank you so much. I have seen it. They didn’t put it under Lagos Branch and when you type search it wont come up.

Thank you yinka for saving me the trouble as I have started writing to ecnba. No time to waste when election is just less than 3hrs away

SIMPLE I. DIOHA

Good evening Sir.

I have gone through the Isiokpo Branch list and discovered that out of the original about 84 names published in all the previous lists, we now have only 48 names published.

I suspect serious mischief in the exercise because many of those whose names were omitted did their verification in my presence.

For example one IZEOMA ORLU-AKWU did her verification in my presence. Now she could not find her name in this present list despite her name had appeared in all the previous lists.

Please urgent attention is needed.

Thanks.

SIMPLE I. DIOHA, ESQ.
NBA, ISIOKPO BRANCH, RIVERS STATE.

EDITORIAL: NBA ELECTIONS 2020 – WHY WE MUST GET IT RIGHT

In a matter of hours, the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) 2020 National Elections will get underway. Unsurprisingly, the election has attracted frenzied interest from key stakeholders. The campaigns have been electrifying.

The run-up to the election has been thorny, occasionally uncertain. The compilation of the voters’ list was a near nightmare. Even on the eve of the election, the Electoral Committee of the NBA (ECNBA) is battling to deliver a clean copy of the voters’ list. Although the Electoral Committee, mindful of the provisions of the NBA Constitution (as amended), had hurriedly published a voters’ list, it soon walked into expected controversies, given the surfeit of duplications and a few strange names on the list.

The Electoral Committee has reported a record 29,635 verified voters in excess of the 39, 321 eligible voters. Given that the 2018 NBA Election posted only 16,825 or less than 50 per cent verified voters out of the 32,228 eligible voters, this is highly commendable. In fact, there are strong indications that this number would have been higher if the verification process was more seamless. What is more, CITY LAWYER reliably gathered that the Electoral Committee members went beyond the call of duty in compilation of the voters’ list. We owe the Electoral Committee members a debt of gratitude for their sacrifice.

Equally refreshing is that the Tawo Eja Tawo SAN-led committee has been especially conscious of meeting the electoral timelines set by the NBA Constitution (as amended), notwithstanding significant challenges posed especially by the coronavirus pandemic.

Accordingly, delivering a clean voters’ list is one solemn duty and commitment the Electoral Committee must not shirk. It is the foundation on which every election rises or falls.

Another issue that has gained currency among key stakeholders is the integrity of the voting portal for the election. While the NBA leadership had incorporated an election portal in the revamped NBA website and offered same to the committee as an option for the election, some key stakeholders have poked holes on the integrity of the NBA Election portal. This has not been helped by the alleged opacity that attended the building of the voting portal.

Some stakeholders have contended that the committee’s reluctance to disclose key elements of the electoral process – including its Information Technology Consultant, the voting portal and its vendor – detracts from the high level of transparency that ought to attend the entire electoral process. On its part, the electoral committee contends that its warehousing of information on the critical election elements is a deliberate strategy to safeguard the integrity of the process. It has also stated that it is speculative that the committee would deploy the NBA Election portal for the poll.

However, aside from the alleged porous nature of the ‘voting portal,’ what is perhaps more worrisome is the speculated tampering with the NBA portal by unknown persons. In a petition to the electoral committee, one of the presidential candidates had alleged that “the NBA portal on which the verification exercise is being conducted appears not to be secure and can be easily manipulated.”

Even more damning is the allegation vide a technical report by the candidate’s ICT experts that Cross-Site Request Forgery (CSRF), an attack that tricks the victim into loading a page that contains a malicious request, “was exploited few weeks ago on the NBA portal where many users made complaints of their password being changed without their taking such actions personally.” Given several complaints by eligible voters on the subject, we urge the electoral committee to thoroughly investigate this charge in order to ensure that it does not imperil the election. This is moreso as the ECNBA has not rebutted the allegation till date.

It is noteworthy that more recent NBA Elections have been strewn with controversies and allegations of rigging. Both have ended up in court, while the 2018 Election led to the filing of a petition at the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). It behoves on the electoral committee to do all within its power to obviate a recurrence and save the noble profession the odium that invariably attends a contentious poll.

There is also the pressing need to activate a functional internal dispute resolution mechanism. As stated in our inaugural editorial, although Section 16 of the NBA Constitution provides that “No aggrieved member shall resort to the court unless his/her complaint must have been considered and disposed of by the Dispute Resolution Committee; provided that such complaint of member shall be decided by the Committee within sixty (60) days of receipt of the complaint,” this has been observed more in breach. Given that the Trustees are the soul of unions such as the NBA, the association’s Trustees are expected to play a crucial role in mediating any dispute that may arise from the elections. However, given that perhaps most of the Trustees have inexplicably thrown their hats into the ring, it remains to be seen whether potential combatants will still repose requisite confidence in them to do justice.

On the other hand, the candidates must not see the election as a do-or-die combat. The spirit of sportsmanship must pervade the entire space. This is increasingly possible where the electoral process is seen to be free, fair, transparent and credible. Winners must also be magnanimous in victory. This will engender the much needed rapprochement at the Bar.

It has been said that electronic voting is no longer rocket science. Not only has many associations in Nigeria deployed it repeatedly for rancour-free elections, technological advancements have made it sufficiently safe, with many reputable and world class e-voting companies pervading the space. Accordingly, everything turns on the political will to deliver a free, fair and credible poll. That will undoubtedly be the best legacy of the Usoro Administration.

29,635 VOTERS TO ELECT NEXT NBA PRESIDENT

BY EMEKA NWADIOKE

  • ECNBA PURGES 1604 NAMES FROM VOTERS’ LIST

  • BARS FURTHER CAMPAIGNS

  • WARNS AGAINST PARALLEL ‘HELP DESKS’

The Electoral Committee of the Nigerian Bar Association (ECNBA) has finally released the full list of verified voters for the NBA Elections commencing at 11 pm today.

In its Statement No. 018, the Electoral Committee has barred further campaigns as well as Help Desks except the one set up by the committee. 

Below is the full text of the statement:

Further to the publication of the full list of legal practitioners qualified to vote, the ECNBA now presents a total of 29,635 verified and duly accredited members who have fulfilled all requirements for voting in the NBA National Officers elections 2020. This figure excludes 1604 names with duplicated phone numbers and/or email addresses.

As the voting commences by 11:00 PM today, 29th July, 2020, we urge all members to conduct themselves in the respectable manner for which the legal profession is known. All Candidates and their supporters are also advised to desist from any form of campaigns forthwith.

The ECNBA reiterates that private helpdesks for the purpose of this election by Candidates, their supporters and NBA Branches are not allowed.

The ECNBA Support helpline for purpose of the election is: 0700 5555 2020. The helpdesk will be open from 10.00PM on the 29th of July 2020.

Voters who desire to observe this election real time from the comfort of their locations can do so using the unique link provided for the voting.

Happy Voting!

Dated this 29th day of July, 2020

TAWO E. TAWO, SAN                    CORDELIA U. EKE

CHAIRMAN, ECNBA                            SECRETARY

Click to the link below for the accredited list

https://nigerianbar.org.ng/sites/default/files/inline-files/ACCREDITED%20LIST.pdf