NBA ELECTIONS: ELECTORAL C’TE CLEARS ADESINA, AJIBADE, AKPATA, BARS 15 OTHERS

BY EMEKA NWADIOKE

• WITHDRAWS CLEARANCE TO GENERAL SECRETARY ASPIRANT
• DISQUALIFIES 2 INCUMBENT NATIONAL OFFICERS
• SETS JULY 15 DEADLINE FOR VERIFICATION
• VOWS TO DISQUALIFY CANDIDATES WHO FLOUT CAMPAIGN RULES
• SETS MONDAY DEADLINE FOR SUBMISSION OF MANIFESTOS
• ASKS CANDIDATES TO DISMANTLE PARALLEL HELP DESKS

The Electoral Committee of the Nigerian Bar Association (ECNBA) has released the list of candidates to contest the forthcoming NBA National Officers Elections.

While 28 candidates – including three presidential candidates – made the final list, 15 aspirants could not pass through the crucible of the screening process, including two incumbent national officers.

While 19 aspirants were initially disqualified by the electoral committee, 18 filed appeals while one opted not to file any appeal. The ECNBA withdrew the initial provisional clearance granted an aspirant for the post of General Secretary, Barth Okoye-Aniche following a petition, while five aspirants succeeded with their appeals.

CITY LAWYER had in an exclusive report noted concerns among some disqualified aspirants over the delay in the screening process and the promise by the electoral committee to fast-track the appeals process.

In its ECNBA Statement No. 13 titled “Full List of properly nominated candidates for the NBA National Elections 2020 and verification of members,” the electoral committee stated that “Having concluded the Appeals process, the ECNBA now presents a list of 28 candidates cleared to contest various offices in the NBA National Officers Elections 2020.” The statement was dated July 3, 2020 and jointly signed by Mr. Tawo Eja Tawo SAN and Mrs. Cordelia Eke, ECNBA Chairman and Secretary respectively.

CANDIDATES LIST

It urged the candidates to “submit an A4 size copy of his/her curriculum vitae (of not more than 4 pages), a comprehensive manifesto and other campaign materials (all in electronic form) on or before 6:00PM on Monday 6th July 2020, for upload on the NBA website.”

The committee emphasized that “campaigns can only be carried out by publication of campaign materials supplied to the ECNBA to be hoisted on the NBA website,” warning specifically that “Travelling across the country to solicit for votes is prohibited.” The committee warned candidates to abide by the NBA Constitution 2015 (as amended) and the ECNBA Guidelines in their electioneering campaigns, vowing that “Any violation of these will be severely sanctioned including disqualification from contesting the elections.”

On the controversial final voters register, the committee emphasized “the need for members to verify and update their details on the NBA website on or before the 15th day of July, 2020. This is to ensure that everyone can access the voting portal during the elections as only those who are verified can vote.”

Leading human rights activist and former Chairman of National Human Rights Commission, Prof. Chidi Odinkalu had poked holes in the voters register, saying: “After 2 #RiggedElections, @NigBarAssoc seems well on its way to a 3rd. The voters list produced by#ECNBA appears riddled wth some impressive non-persons. Voter No. 5500 is a person called “Opening Balance”?! There’s a way to stop this: verify the names with reference to receipts.”

Turning to the issue of parallel help desks set up by some candidates, the electoral committee frowned on the practice, describing it as “unacceptable.” “We advise that such efforts be dismantled immediately not to interfere with the mandate of the Committee, confuse our members or be interpreted as attempts to harvest members’ details for use at the elections,” it said. It urged eligible voters to rely instead on the Help Desk set up by the NBA to assist members having challenges with the verification process.

Among those cleared to run for the elections are Mr. Dele Adesina SAN, Dr. Babatunde Ajibade SAN and Mr. Olumide Akpata who will battle for the coveted NBA Presidency slot. The position of First Vice President remains the most crowded field, with six candidates cleared for the race. They include John Aikpokpo-Martins, Oluwaseun Ajoba, Adebayo Akinlade, Adedotun Adetunji, Ganiat Siyonbola and Dawud Sulayman. Siyonbola was not in the list of aspirants provisionally cleared for the election.

While the race for Second Vice President is a straight fight between Adesola Abimbola and Kazeem Adeyemo, both aspirants for the position of Third Vice President – Promise Wobo Iwezor and Gerald Abonyi – failed to scale the screening hurdle.

With Barth Okoye-Aniche haven fallen by the way-side, the race for the influential post of General Secretary is now between Alex Muoka, Joyce Oduah, Okey Ohagba and Christopher Yakemewerigha. The battle for the post of Assistant Secretary remains unchanged, with three combatants – Anne Agi, Uche Nwadialo and Aigbokhai Osagie – cleared for the race.

Returnee candidate Mercy Ijato Agada and Raphael Anagor have clinched the positions of Treasurer and Financial Secretary respectively without a fight. While Caroline Ibharuneafe who sought the post of Treasurer fell under the disqualification hammer, Anagor seemed the solitary applicant for the post of Financial Secretary.

With incumbent Second Assistant Secretary Chinyere Obasi and Osahon Irehovbude having been disqualified by the electoral committee, the race for the post of Welfare Secretary promises to be a fierce battle between incumbent National Publicity Secretary, Kunle Edun and returnee candidate, Sabastine Anyia.

Following a successful appeal and the reinstatement of his name on the ballot, Olayinka Sokoya will slug it out with Rapuluchukwu Nduka for the post of Publicity Secretary while four candidates – President Aigbokhan, Charles Ajiboye, Ferdinand Naza and Dominic Ochenehi – will battle for the position of Assistant Publicity Secretary. While Ajiboye and Ochenehi had appealed their disqualification by the electoral committee, leading to their reinstatement in the race, Henry Chibuike Ugwu of Ihiala Branch and Oladotun Hassan of Epe Branch did not succeed with their appeals.

Among those who were also disqualified are controversial former Ikeja Branch Chairman, Adesina Ogunlana; S. O. K. Shillings, and incumbent Assistant Publicity Secretary, Akorede Habeeb Lawal who sought the substantive post of Publicity Secretary.

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