WORLD EXCLUSIVE: Audit Will Not Alter Election Results – Yadudu

Any hopes by defeated candidates in the recent Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) National Officers Elections that an audit will upturn the outcome of the elections has been dashed by the Electoral Committee of NBA (ECNBA) Chairman, Prof. Auwalu Yadudu.

It is recalled that a presidential candidate in the elections, Chief Arthur Obi Okafor SAN had specifically requested an audit of the elections as a pre-condition to cooperate with NBA President-elect, Mr. Paul Usoro SAN.

But Yadudu while responding to enquiries by CITY LAWYER, foreclosed any possibility that the audit will reverse the election results as declared by the ECNBA.

His words: “A post election audit will be carried out as promised. However, it is not to validate or invalidate the result announced.”

This is bound to rattle some of the candidates who are hoping that the planned audit may void some of the results declared by the ECNBA.

Asked to respond to allegations by Okafor and Prof. Ernest Ojukwu SAN, the two other presidential candidates, that the elections were riddled with rigging among other infractions, the ECNBA Chairman declined comment, saying: “Sorry l cannot comment on views by others about or in any matter pertaining to (the) election.”

When CITY LAWYER asked the veteran law teacher for suggestions on electoral reforms, he also side-stepped the issue, saying: “These are matters that will go into (our) report. So it will not be proper to address (same) in the press.”

He however noted that the NBA National Executive Committee meeting which held yesterday did not ratify the outcome of the elections but merely the change in date. His words: “NEC did not ratify the election. It ratified the timing by which the ECNBA held the election in August instead of July.”

It is recalled that CITY LAWYER had in an exclusive report revealed that Usoro is a co-director at Access Bank Plc with Dr. (Mrs.) Ajoritsedere Josephine Awosika, the first female Chairman of CHAMS Plc. CHAMS was originally hired by the ECNBA as its sole ICT Partner for the elections. It eventually deployed its voting portal for the elections.

The CITY LAWYER report had raised concerns on the integrity of NBA’s electoral process and the ability of the ECNBA to deliver free, fair and credible elections.

Following petitions by candidates and a flurry of meetings, outgoing NBA President, Mr. Abubakar Mahmoud SAN had initiated several electoral reforms to reassure stakeholders.

In a press statement dated July 21, 2018 Mahmoud had promised that an audit of the elections will be carried out.

His words: “The ECNBA will develop a post-election audit framework and process and may engage an independent entity for that purpose.”

Usoro was declared winner of the hotly contested poll on August 20, three weeks after the initial date set for the conclusion of the elections.

Both Okafor and Ojukwu rejected the results, alleging rigging and other electoral infractions.

Though the elections were conducted in August as against July specified in the NBA Constitution, the NBA-NEC yesterday ratified the shift in date, clearing the way for Usoro to be sworn-in as the 29th NBA President.

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BREAKING: How NBA Election Was Rigged, by Arthur Obi Okafor

* Election a ‘Robbery’

* ECNBA Ignored our Inputs

* Unveils 4000 Fake Phone Numbers

A presidential candidate in the just concluded Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) National Officers Elections, Chief Arthur Obi Okafor SAN has detailed how the election was allegedly rigged.

In a “preliminary release” by Mr. Olumuyiwa Olowokure, Leader of the Arthur Obi Okafor SAN Technical Team, the campaign directorate described the elections as a “robbery,” adding that it had identified no less than 4000 fake telephone numbers and 1004 fake emails deployed to rig the elections.

The statement reads:

PRELIMINARY RELEASE ON IRREGULARITIES IDENTIFIED IN THE JUST CONCLUDED NBA ELECTIONS

One can confidently say the alleged victory of Paul Usoro SAN at the recently conducted NBA elections is the biggest embarrassment and robbery that members of NBA have ever experienced since the formation of NBA.

You would recall that there were serious reservations in some quarters about permitting Chams to participate in providing services in this election in any form or manner. As a result of these reservations a company known as CRENET was brought in to repeat the vilified verification exercise previously conducted by Chams. For some inexplicable reason Chams was retained to provide the voting platform despite it being established that the Chairman of Chams Plc and Paul Usoro SAN are co-directors of Access Bank and are members of same committees of Access Bank. Trusting in the assurances given by the President of NBA A.B Mahmoud SAN and the Electoral Committee of the Nigerian Bar Association (ECNBA) the other candidates decided to participate in the election with Chams involved.

ECNBA to its credit leading up to the elections adopted a somewhat participatory approach with the Presidential candidates and often sought their opinions before implementing decisions. Even then, the first danger signal and sign that there was a deliberate attempt to rig this election came when we discovered that close to 4000 names had telephone numbers assigned to them that were not the stated owners numbers but belonged to other persons. An example of this was in the list of eligible voters submitted by Abuja branch, the telephone number of one Blossom Barrakah Esq (2017 call set) was repeated as the valid telephone number of 41 other lawyers on the eligible voters list. Likewise the telephone number of Noah Ajare Esq a known and ardent supporter of Paul Usoro SAN appeared 15 times against different lawyers names. What made the danger signals more frightening was that Noah Ajare was the caretaker secretary of Abuja branch at the time of the submission of the Abuja branch list of eligible voters and he was the person that compiled and submitted the Abuja Branch list to ECNBA.

We have a comprehensive list of the nearly 4000 instances of duplicate telephone numbers that appeared in ECNBA’s original voter’s list and have attached same for ease of reference (Annex A ). We also have strong reason to believe that there were far more than 4000 of such instances. Rather than treat this occurrence as a deliberate attempt to compromise the integrity of the Elections and move decisively against the perpetrators, ECNBA for some reason chose to allow the perpetrators to still participate in the election, eg. our records show the said Noah Ajare despite his actions aforesaid was verified and cleared to vote in this election.

As the elections drew closer things started to go terribly wrong;

The first problem was that CRENET was not given enough time to perfect the excellent security procedures that they had put in place to ensure that members’ votes were not hijacked. The verification process became laboured and extremely difficult for members and as a result of extreme pressure from many quarters, especially from the President of NBA, ECNBA in consultation with the President of the NBA took a decision to relax the security procedures put in place by CRENET to make the verification process ‘faster’. This decision was fatal because it became the very reason why this election was so badly rigged.

The relaxing of the security procedures meant members were now allowed to go straight to the verification portal and enter any details they liked without restriction. It also meant that unscrupulous persons would also now be able to verify for other lawyers without them knowing and hijack their votes by inserting different email addresses and telephone numbers ; this is precisely what happened in this election. This is precisely what we had continually warned against but our warnings fell on deaf ears.

We eventually agreed to the relaxing of the security protocols by CRENET but we did so on the following conditions;

i. Any change effected in a lawyer’s details must be in line with data already in NBA’s database. i.e genuine mistakes can be changed but other changes should be cleared through bar services after satisfying itself that the rationale for such changes was genuine.

ii. The comprehensive list of verified voters to be uploaded on to the CHAMS voting platform by CRENET shall be given to candidates to peruse to enable them comment and give observations before uploading and before the commencement of the elections.

iii. All names associated with any form of duplication of telephone numbers and email addresses would be quarantined and only included in the final verification list if the lawyers concerned came forward and gave their true and correct phone numbers and email addresses which should conform with records already contained in the NBA database.

Conditions i) and iii) above were totally disregarded by ECNBA, while the verified voters list as specified in condition ii) above was not given to candidates until after the election had already started. This in effect meant that candidates’ agreement to remove the security protocols was obtained on false pretences and candidates were actually being led like lambs into a slaughterhouse.

A day before the election we discovered from the verification portal the incidences of some strange looking email addresses that surfaced as lawyers alleged email addresses for the first time. These email addresses predominantly came from three domains “Openmailbox.org”, “firemail.cc” and “airmail.cc”. We alerted ECNBA to the sudden existence of these strange email addresses in a meeting which took place between the Presidential Candidates representatives and ECNBA on 17th August 2018. We also suggested at the same meeting after watching Chams demonstration of the voting process that passwords to vote should be sent automatically to both emails and telephone numbers so that if a prospective voter’s email had been tampered with he/she would still know through SMS if somebody was attempting to vote on his/her behalf.

When we realised our concerns above were not being addressed by ECNBA we sent an email to ECNBA at about 1:53pm on Saturday 18th August 2018 reiterating our concerns and requesting that emails from such domains should be disallowed as our investigations had shown the email addresses did not belong to the lawyers indicated in the verified voter’s list (Annex B).When we still did not receive any response from ECNBA we sent another email on 19th August 2018 at about 7.54am giving full details of the suspected emails and the lawyers affected, (Annex C) . Details of the lawyers affected and the offending emails is attached. (Annex D)

The breakdown of the details of our initial investigations sent to ECNBA well before the conclusion of the elections shows that;

Openmailbox.org email addresses were fraudulently used to replace the email addresses of 196 Lawyers without their consent
Firemail.cc email addresses were fraudulently used to replace the email addresses of 203 Lawyers without their consent.
Airmail.cc email addresses were fraudulently used to replace the email addresses of 605 Lawyers without their consent.

The implication of the above is that there were a total of 1004 of these bogus email addresses used to harvest the votes of unsuspecting members. Further investigation has shown that two of the above mentioned domain names belong to closed user groups, whose members can only obtain email addresses in such domains if they are specifically invited to the group. The real owners cannot be traced, in fact a common feature of these closed user groups is that they are associated with scams, hacking, malware and ransomware. Did ECNBA not have technical advice? Why was this development not addressed or arrested when it came to the committees notice?

Abdullahi Karaye Musa Esq of Ungogo branch (No 213 on the Airmail.CC list) and Emmanuel Yokpe Nenmasha of Jos Branch (No 579 on the Airmail.CC list) have detailed their ordeals of having their right to vote hijacked (Kindly find attached Annexes E and F). A similar experience of hijacked voting was specifically documented by the following three members of Ahoada branch; Ogbobula Isaac Abbot (No 4 on the Firemail.cc list), Okpara Uchevenotu Ezor (No 1 on the firemail.cc list) and Lauretta U. Nwokaeze (No. 68 on the Firemail.cc list). All 1004 on the said list have a story to tell and we will soon release a branch by branch account of members whose votes were hijacked using the fraudulent emails above. We have so far identified the precise branches of 656 of the lawyers already mentioned in the list of 1004 (Annex G) and will identify the branches of at least 348 other cheated voters shortly.

We are also gathering information that shows that even email addresses from regular domain names were used to hijack votes and will release same soonest. Needless to say the 1004 incidences of glaring malpractice already identified are enough to show that in an Election that ECNBA claims was won by 80 something votes cannot stand. I have only stated facts in this report there is no conjecture or guessing there are just plain facts.

We still expect the current leadership of NBA to act and cancel this fault laden process that declared Paul Usoro SAN the winner of the election.

Kind regards

O.O. Olowokure Esq.
Leader AOOSAN Technical Team

BREAKING: Usoro Wins, Obi Okafor ‘Withdraws’

Mr. Paul Usoro SAN may be declared winner of the hotly contested NBA Elections, even as his closest rival, Chief Arthur Obi Okafor SAN may have withdrawn from the race, citing “surges of votes in favour of Paul Usoro SAN.”

Sources close to the ECNBA Situation Room said Usoro may coast to victory with less than one hundred votes.

Meanwhile, there are strong indications that Mr. Jonathan Taidi has won the post of General Secretary with a wide margin.

The petition by Arthur Obi Okafor Campaign Directorate reads:

20th August 2018
The Chairman
ECNBA
NBA Secretariat
Abuja

Dear Sir

This is to inform you that having reviewed the events leading up to and during the elections Arthur Obi Okafor SAN states categorically that he withdraws from this election and cannot accept the outcome of the result.

Inexplicable and strange surges of votes in favour of Paul Usoro SAN and the glaring incidences of hijacked votes makes it clear the result of this election cannot stand.

An acceptable participatory post election Audit of International standard will bear out our grievances in this regard.

Thank you

O.O.Olowokure Esq
For Arthur Obi Okafor SAN

 

NBA Election Records Massive Turn-Out

Less than five minutes to the end of the 2018 Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) National Officers Elections, CITY LAWYER can authoritatively report that no less than 75 per cent of registered voters participated in the election.

About 12, 184 of the registered 16, 115 voters had already cast their ballots to herald a new NBA Executive Committee, with about 3931 voters yet to vote.

There were strong indications that the hiccups that beset the elections had eased off towards the close of ballot, even as several campaign teams continued to call eligible voters to get out the vote.

The Electoral Committee of the NBA (ECNBA) had stated that the result of the election will be declared immediately after close of ballot.

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How NBA Election Will be Won and Lost

By Our Correspondent

As the curtains are gradually drawn on the hotly contested Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) National Officers Elections, there are strong indications that some crucial factors may determine the outcome of the poll.

Aside from the hiccups that had necessitated several shifts in the election timelines, controversies have also trailed the election, not least alleged attempts by some persons to rig the process. CITY LAWYER investigations show that some may have attempted to compromise the electoral process through identity theft. Several accounts of hijacked personal profiles abound.

Although the Electoral Committee of the NBA (ECNBA) had initially attempted to ward of identity theft through a stringent verification process, this was torpedoed when the model threatened to disenfranchise many eligible voters, leading to a more pliable model. Arising from this, there are strong indications that hackers may have hijacked the profiles of some voters, moreso as significant personal information such as the enrollment number through which detailed information on each voter could be gleaned was in full glare. CITY LAWYER was however unable to determine at press time the extent to which the hackers were able to compromise the electoral process.

Meanwhile, following the contentious disqualification of former NBA General Secretary, Mr. Afam Osigwe who was adjudged to wield a major political influence among young lawyers, the battle for the NBA Presidency became a tripodal face-off between Mr. Paul Usoro SAN, Chief Arthur Obi Okafor SAN and Prof. Ernest Ojukwu SAN.

The battle for the control of the secretariat is between Messrs Mas’ud Alabelewe, Bolaji Ojibara, Rafiu Balogun and Jonathan Taidi. Meanwhile, the full list of combatants have been uploaded by the ECNBA in its Election Magazine.

While the election has been coloured by the controversies surrounding the disqualification and adoption or otherwise of some candidates, and lately the choice of ICT partners for the election, there are strong indications that only candidates who work the hardest will coast home to victory. While the regional and voting blocs are seemingly intact, it is left to be seen how they will impact the elections in light of the amorphous electronic voting model which affords near total anonymity for voters.

However, aside from endorsements from influencers which ignited the political landscape afresh in the twilight of the campaigns, the branches remain veritable battle grounds for the mining of votes. CITY LAWYER analysis showed that while some branches with dominant voting populations may sway the elections, others are so negligible that they may be conveniently ignored by the combatants in the exacting heat of the campaigns.

The ECNBA had in a statement dated August 16, 2018 announced that of the total 32,228 eligible voters submitted by the branches, 3,571 participated in the controversial verification exercise conducted by CRENET Techlabs between July 31 and August 2, 2018 while 13,254 voters were verified between August 8 and August 11, 2018. This brought the total number of eligible voters on the voters’ register to 16,825.

CITY LAWYER analysis shows that while Lagos remains the branch with the highest number of eligible voters totaling 2476, at least two branches – Ikot Ekpene and Ilaro – have no eligible voters on the final verified list of voters. Lagos branch is trailed by Port Harcourt Branch (1184), Abuja Branch (1158), and the emergent Ikole-Ekiti Branch (917 voters) which sensationally upstaged the usually boisterous Ikeja Branch at 850 voters. Aside from these five branches, the only other branch with 500+ registered voters is Benin Branch (548).

In the 400-plus bracket are Ibadan (427) and Ilorin branches (403), the latter being the home and adopted branches of three of the gladiators for the post of General Secretary. Six branches have 300 or more eligible voters on the final verified list. These include Jos (352), Asaba (330), Uyo (324), Kaduna (314) and Makurdi (300).

The 200-plus category comprises of Calabar (263), Owerri (256), Maiduguri (222), Warri (218), Awka (216), Enugu (215) and Lokoja (202).

Split among the three zones recognized by Section 9(3) of the 2015 NBA Constitution, the Western Zone has the dominant 3290 voters, followed closely by the Northern Zone at 2951 and the Eastern Zone at 2458 voters. Given that especially all the presidential aspirants are from the Eastern Zone, there are strong indications that both the Northern and Western zones will be battle grounds for all the candidates. Aside from seemingly having an upper hand in their home branches, the ‘diaspora factor’ may also come into play in supposedly giving the presidential candidates an edge in their respective ‘adopted’ branches.

Among the fringe branches with 100-plus voters are Yenagoa (197), Akure (180), Barnawa (179), Damaturu (169), Ughelli (168), Ungogo (165), and Onitsha (168). Others include Lafia (145), Minna (143), Effurun (140), Bauchi (130), Ikorodu (124), Yola (120), Abeokuta (119), Kano (119), Bwari (104), Orlu (104) and Uromi (103) branches.

It is left to be seen how this will impact the outcome of the elections. All said, this is perhaps one of the fiercest elections in the history of the NBA. While litigations by Osigwe and Chief Jor Kyari Gadzama SAN relating to the 2016 NBA presidential election still however like a Frankenstein monster over the fate of the elections, there is no gainsaying that those who emerge victorious from the energy-sapping elections aggressively fought both through leg-work and the social media will pat themselves on the back for a job well done.

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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’ Continue Reading

BREAKING: Missing Names – ECNBA Gives Deadline

The Electoral Committee of the Nigerian Bar Association (ECNBA) has directed all eligible voters with genuine cases of missing names on the voters’ list to submit their complaints latest by 9 o’clock today.

The statement which was issued early this morning was signed by ECNBA Secretary, Mr. Bolaji Agoro.

Details soon.

 

Why You May Not Vote Now – ECNBA

The Electoral Committee of the Nigerian Bar Association (ECNBA) has explained the hiccups being experienced by most voters in the ongoing NBA National Officers Elections.
Continue Reading

BREAKING: ECNBA Flags Off Voting

The Electoral Committee of the Nigerian Bar Association (ECNBA) has announced commencement of the long-awaited voting in the NBA National Officers Elections. Continue Reading

BREAKING: ECNBA Unveils Voting Manual

The Electoral Committee of the Nigerian Bar Association (ECNBA) has unveiled the manual for accreditation and voting for the NBA National Officers Elections. Continue Reading