Sunday, 5 July, 2020

AKPATA SETS UP ELECTION VERIFICATION HELP DESK

One of the leading aspirants for the forthcoming Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) election, Mr. Olumide Akpata has set up a Help Desk for the ongoing verification exercise to enable eligible voters participate in the election.

In an email sent early today, Akpata restated the publication of the final voters list by the Electoral Committee of the Nigerian Bar Association (“ECNBA”) for the elections scheduled for 29th and 30th July, 2020.

Outlining the verification procedure, he urged eligible voters who may have challenges with the verification process to “contact the NBA support team using support@nigerianbar.org.ng” or call the ECNBA verification hotlines.

“Feel free to contact my help desk via helpmeverifynow@gmail.com or on 08122778151, 07055115282, 08025875099, and 08037003654 to assist you in following up with the ECNBA,” he added.

The full text of the email is below:

Dear (surname)

I hope that this meets you well.

I am writing to notify you that the Electoral Committee of the Nigerian Bar Association (“ECNBA”) has now published the final voters list that would be used in the forthcoming elections into national offices of the NBA scheduled to hold on 29th and 30th July 2020 (the “Final Voters List”).

With the Final Voters List now in circulation, I encourage you to kindly do the following:

1.Go through the Final Voters List to confirm that you name is on it. You can view a copy of the Final Voters List by clicking on the ‘View Register’ button at the end of this email;

2.If your name is on the Final Voters List, do take steps to ensure that you “Verify” on the NBA website in order to be eligible to vote. This “verification” entails creating or updating your individual portal on the NBA website. The verification process is set out under the heading “How to Verify” below; and

3.If your name has been omitted from the Final Voters List, or if you have any other complaints about the Final Voters List, the verification process or any related issue, use the information under the heading “NBA Eligibility Complaints” below.

How to Verify
A. If you have never been verified:
I. click on the’Visit Portal’ button at the end of this email to create your own portal on the NBA website;
II. while there, click on the “Get Verified Option” and complete the simple verification form;
III. upload a copy of your call to bar certificate;
IV. afterwards, a confirmation email (containing a
temporary password and other details) will be sent to the email
address that you provided. In some cases, the email might be in your junk or spam folder or might take some time to deliver to
you;
V. follow the instructions in the confirmation email and go back to
the NBA membership portal;
VI. while on the NBA membership portal, enter your Supreme
Court Number (without any space between the alphabet and the numbers) and input the temporary password provided in your
confirmation email; and
VII. once you log in, update your profile by correcting any errors
in your details or supplying any missing information. That would be the end of the verification process.

B. If you had been verified but no longer remember the password
with which to access your portal
then:
I. click on the ‘Visit Portal’ button at the end of this email;
II. while on the portal, click Forgot Password; and
III. enter your Supreme Court Number (without any space
between the alphabet and the numbers) and follow the
instructions.

NBA Eligibility Complaints
If you have any complaints about the process or the Final Voters List, please contact the NBA support team using support@nigerianbar.org.ng or call 08165037594; 08168011579; 08165374194; 08167181605.

Feel free to contact my help desk via helpmeverifynow@gmail.com or on 08122778151, 07055115282, 08025875099, and 08037003654 to assist you in following up with the ECNBA.

Participating in the electoral process is key to achieving our collective objective of making the Bar work for all and creating a profession that we all will be proud of and happy to identify with.

I thank you for your attention and look forward to staying in touch.

Best Regards,
OLUMIDE AKPATA

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NBA ELECTION: ‘DON’T USE NIGERIAN ICT PARTNER,’ ADEKOYA WARNS ECNBA

• ‘THIS IS OUR LAST CHANCE’

Former Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) presidential candidate, Mrs. Funke Adekoya SAN has warned the Electoral Committee of the NBA (ECNBA) to steer clear of Nigerian information technology specialists if it plans to deliver free, fair and credible elections.

In an exclusive interview with CITY LAWYER, Adekoya warned that the forthcoming NBA National Officers Elections would be doomed if local ICT specialists are deployed for the elections, adding that “this is our last chance” to restore credibility to NBA’s electoral process given the rancour that has attended previous NBA elections.

She also noted that Nigerian ICT firms have been reportedly unreliable in previous elections. Her words: “Don’t use a Nigerian based entity or system; there are allegations that those used in the past have been hacked into and the voting was compromised.”

Instead, the foremost litigator who is also listed as a “thought leader” by the influential “Who is Who Legal” urged the Mr. Tawo Tawo SAN-led ECNBA to look beyond Nigeria’s shores for established electronic voting entities to conduct a rancour-free poll. She said: “The Committee does not need to re-invent the wheel; there are accredited international election conducting platforms that various Nigerian associations have used to conduct elections for their members for the past few years. Examples are https://www.eballot.com/, https://electionrunner.com/, https://electionbuddy.com/ and https://nvotes.com.”

On concerns that the bidding process may favour a pre-determined bidder, Adekoya said: “If they do that, it will be the death knell for the electoral process in the NBA. The IT platform must be agreed to by all the candidates.”

The former NBA presidential candidate warned that very minimal role must be given to NBA staff in the electoral management process to avoid compromising the poll. Her words: “Their (staff) only involvement should be to provide the election platform with access to the list of accredited voters. This list is all the lawyers who paid their practising fees by 31 March. Their email addresses should be accessible on the ‘Find a Lawyer’ portal of the NBA website.”

The ECNBA seems to have followed previous tradition where NBA staff are deployed as the committee’s clearinghouse. Both ECNBA notices seeking bids from information technology specialists as well as the committee’s preliminary notice on the elections give roles to NBA staff. This has raised doubts on the committee’s resolve not to be tied to the apron strings of the NBA but rather to keep an arm’s length relationship with NBA HOUSE.

On ways for the Electoral Committee to guarantee transparent and rancour-free elections, the highly decorated Founding Partner at AELEX said: “The Committee members must be IT savvy; they must have presided over, organised or been involved in online voting systems before now so they can understand the proposals presented, identify any areas where the system could be corrupted if a locally based provider is used and block all loopholes. In a properly run system, the results should be available within 24 hours.

“For transparency purposes, a delegate of each candidate should be a member of the Election Committee and participate in all decision making processes. Finally, keep Nigerian IT specialists out of the process. With the rancour generated over the last two elections in the NBA and the NMA, we must restore credibility to the system. It’s our last chance.”

Adekoya was in 2014 adopted by the Chief Bandele Aiku SAN-led Egbe Amofin O’odua as its sole candidate for the NBA presidential election. However, a split within the zone saw to the emergence of Mr. Dele Adesina SAN and Chief Niyi Akintola SAN as presidential candidates. Analysts argue that the inability of the Yoruba bloc to present a sole presidential candidate gifted the race to Mr. Augustine Alegeh SAN.

Adekoya heads the Dispute Resolution Practice Group at AELEX. Appointed Notary Public in 1986 and elevated to the rank of Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) in 2001, Adekoya has over 45 years experience in litigation and arbitration. She has acted in numerous disputes as either party appointed Arbitrator, Sole Arbitrator or Presiding Arbitrator. A Life Bencher, she is a member of the International Bar Association (IBA), International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA), LCIA African Users Council and a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (UK).

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N5M COVID-19 PALLIATIVE: SANs, OTHERS CARPET, HAIL AKPATA

A N5 million relief package funded by Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) presidential aspirant, Mr. Olumide Akpata and “his friends” and administered by the NBA Lagos Branch has raised a firestorm within the Bar, pitching many lawyers against their colleagues.

The fiery debate on the propriety of the palliatives was set off by a notice by NBA Lagos Branch Chairman, Mr. Yemi Akangbe when he urged “members of the Branch that genuinely need this support” to email him and other named branch Executive Committee members.

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Ojukwu Raps Usoro, Says ‘Only Truth Will Heal NBA’

A presidential candidate in the just concluded Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) National Officers Elections, Prof. Ernest Ojukwu SAN has carpeted NBA President-elect, Mr. Paul Usoro over his olive branch to the law teacher.

In a response to recent a letter by Usoro urging Ojukwu to put the controversies arising from the NBA Elections behind him, the former Nigerian Law School chieftain stated that senior lawyers were the problem bedevilling NBA governance.

Ojukwu, in the letter made available to CITY LAWYER, also warned that only truth will save the Bar from extinction.

The letter reads:

Dear PAUL,

YOUR LETTER IS IN BAD FAITH

I regret to state that your letter written jointly to me and Mr Okafor was written in bad faith.

You commenced your letter with a claim that you called me and that I did not take your call. When I refuted this claim, you posted a WhatsApp log where you stated that you called and that my telephone was switched off. If this was true that my telephone was switched off, on what basis did you then claim that I did not take your call? If you had made an honest mistake, the natural thing would be to apologise for that but instead in trying to defend the defenseless, you posted a WhatsApp log and intentionally included an unrelated private chat we had early in the year. In character you did not also show the entire discussion of that unrelated chat.

On 23rd August 2018 my telephone was on and assuming that you had called once and you could not connect, would it not have been a natural thing to make further attempts to call? But instead you wrote your email letter on 24th August at 1.59pm stating that you called me and I did not take your call.

In addition you published the letter on the media within 30 minutes of sending the email, and copied past NBA Presidents within 1.5 hours.

May I reiterate that the NBA elections and governance is not a personal issue to me. I have dedicated most of my adult life outside my mainstay to the development of the legal profession and the bar. I did not do those works as the leader of the Association. There is nothing that will prevent me from contributing as much as I can while I exist. It is a passion and calling for me. NBA is not an employment or political thing for me. There is therefore no reason to “appeal” to me “to sheath swords and join hands in reshaping the NBA into an institution that we all can take pride in.” Paul, you owe me no duty or responsibility for what happened at that elections. Mr Arthur Okafor, President AB Mahmoud, Prof Yadudu and ENCBA owe me no duty or responsibility. You all owe that duty and responsibility to the entire bar, the legal profession, Nigeria and God. I moved on an hour after and I publicly stated that I will not contest the outcome of that charade and I am sure you read it.

I have said it before and I repeated it at the SLP Port Harcourt this year that the problem with the Bar and the legal profession in Nigeria is not laws, rules, constitution, systems and so. Our problems are our lawyers and our governance problems are mostly senior lawyers. The day our leaders decide to be honest with us, that would be the day of transformation for the bar and the profession. “One of the truest tests of integrity is its blunt refusal to be compromised” (Chinua Achebe). True integrity knows no form of derogation. Only honesty and the truth will save the BAR!

Ernest Ojukwu (TEACHER)

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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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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