NBA IKEJA ELECTION: UBANI QUITS, BLASTS CARETAKER C’TE

BY EMEKA NWADIOKE

Former Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) Second Vice President, Mr. Monday Ubani has resigned his position as a member of the NBA Ikeja Branch Caretaker Committee mandated to conduct election for the branch.

In a letter made available to CITY LAWYER, Ubani cited lack of obedience to NBA Bye-Law on elections as his major reason to throw in the towel, saying the conduct is an affront on his values.

His words: “Hypocrisy of this magnitude is a lethal sin. My nature abhors it. I hereby resign my membership of the Caretaker Committee of NBA Ikeja of 2020 to avoid being part of the persons that will engineer an unnecessary crisis in my beloved Branch. Already I am aware of some members’ plans to drag the Branch into another round of crisis. It is unnecessary.  I had better walk away!”

It is recalled that the immediate past NBA President, Mr. Paul Usoro SAN had dissolved the branch Election Committee following a joint petition by AWLA President and 6 others on the constitution of the Committee.

Usoro appointed a three-man Caretaker Committee to midwife the branch elections. Aside from Ubani, other members of the committee are Messrs Olabisi Ade-ademuwagun and Adebamigbe Omole.

LETTER OF RESIGNATION FROM THE CARETAKER COMMITTEE OF NBA IKEJA.

It is with regret that I tender my letter of resignation from the Caretaker Committee of NBA Ikeja. The main reason for resignation is to avoid my name which I have built over the years to be dragged into the mud by anybody from the branch.

What makes my resignation imperative is the brazen stance of some members of the branch  to go against the National Body despite clear letters written by both the outgone and present National Exco that the Caretaker Committee should toe the line of legality in the conduct of our forthcoming election by adhering to the Resolution of NEC of NBA in Jos  and Benin both in 2016.

The major problem is with Article 6(3) of the 2015 Uniform Bye Law which bars a candidate from contesting for a new office if he or she has not spent the requisite number of years after occupying executive position twice at the Branch or at National office. At the branch level you are required to stay off for five years, while at the national level you are required to stay off for ten years.

The said article 6(3) was resolved at Jos NEC in 2016 to have retrospective effect and reiterated or reaffirmed in Benin NEC of same 2016. It is on record that I was the only person that raised a voice against the retrospective effect of that Article in Jos NEC of 2016 and was overruled.

Since then, the interpretation has been used to disqualify any candidate who has held two executive positions without allowing the requisite number of years to exhaust before seeking for a further office all over the branches and at the national level.

Part of the Caretaker Committee’s mandate is to conduct an election for the Branch for the year 2020. Having cleared and published the voters list, the next task was to clear the contestants. However we had a petition written against one of the candidates seeking for the chairmanship position alleging that he has held two executive positions at the Branch level and has not exhausted the requisite five years before seeking for the new office.

Our findings supported the allegation and to avoid being accused of bias the Committee sought clarifications from both the outgone and present national Secretariat and they in their various letters dated 5th of August, 2020 and 14th of September, 2020 reiterated the fact that Article 6(3) of the Uniform Bye-law be  applied retrospectively and advised the the Committee should not depart from the said application moreso since the interpretation as adopted in JOS NEC has not been reversed in any subsequent NEC, AGM or by the court.

The Committee of the branch met few days ago and on a sad note decided to proceed with the said election by clearing every person including the candidate that was caught up with Article 6(3) of the Uniform Bye Law of 2015  despite the clear clarifications of the National Body that set us up in the first place. I vehemently dissented with this view and insisted that the new National Exco be written seeking clarification to the said Article if we were still in doubt as to the interpretation of that section of the law.

The Committee had to retrace the wrong step they had earlier on taken by complying with the interpretation of the contentious section   after they got a response from the present Secretariat reitering the fact that we should abide with NEC Resolution of Jos 2016.

 The Committee thereby disqualified one of the Candidates who is contesting for the chairmanship position because he has held offices for two times and have not stayed off from contesting from five years as required by the said Bye Law.

The position of the law is that the said candidate stands disqualified from contesting the 2020 NBA Election. That is the status quo ante properly interpreted.

It is regrettably though, that I have to resign the membership of the committee that refused to do the right thing in the first place.  Such behaviour is not in tandem with what I believe and stand for in the NBA. It is improper to undermine the integrity and strength of our national body through our actions at the Branch level whereas everyone in our inner-most heart, desires a very strong and united bar. Hypocrisy of this magnitude is a lethal sin. My nature abhors it. I hereby resign my membership of the Caretaker Committee of NBA Ikeja of 2020 to avoid being part of the persons that will engineer an unnecessary crisis in my beloved Branch. Already I am aware of some members’ plans to drag the Branch into another round of crisis. It is unnecessary.  I had better walk away!

God bless NBA!

Monday O. Ubani (MOU) Esq,
Former Chairman of NBA Ikeja and former 2nd VP of NBA.

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 TRUSTEES TO HEAR ADESINA’S ELECTION PETITION TODAY

EMEKA NWADIOKE

There are strong indications that the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) Board of Trustees (BOT) will today begin hearing in the petition filed by Mr. Dele Adesina SAN against the declaration of Mr. Olumide Akpata as winner of the recent NBA National Officers Elections.

It is expected that the Electoral Committee of the Nigerian Bar Association (ECNBA) will appear before the panel to present its case against Adesina’s petition. A member of the committee told CITY LAWYER at the weekend that the board was scheduled to sit on the petition today, saying: “BOT is meeting on Monday. We are expected to formally adopt our response before them.”

It is recalled that Adesina had petitioned the electoral committee alleging irregularities and demanding a cancellation of the poll. In a letter to ECNBA Chairman 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;
  1. Many Members names found their way to Branches other than their own Branch.

He however queried why it was NBA President, Mr. Paul Usoro SAN that responded to his complaint as against the committee. He then petitioned the trustees.

In a petition dated 2nd August, 2020 and addressed to BOT Chairman, Dr. Olisa Agbakoba SAN, Adesina stated that he “had the privilege of joining others to build the NBA before some of the god-fathers who are plunging the NBA into avoidable crisis today ever became involved in the affairs of the Association.”

Other members of the BOT are former NBA Presidents Joseph Bodunrin Daudu (SAN) and Augustine Alegeh (SAN), a former NBA General Secretary Obafemi Adewale and longstanding Bar Leader, Hajia Fatima Kwaku. Instructively, while Daudu threw his weight behind Adesina in the run-up to the election, Adewale endorsed Dr. Babatunde Ajibade SAN as the best man for the job. On his part, though Alegeh did not openly align with Akpata, he is said to be perhaps his most influential backer, even as he congratulated the NBA President-elect even before he was officially decalred as a winner of the election. 

Citing alleged infractions of the NBA Constitution 2015 (as amended), the erstwhile presidential candidate said: “Our I.C.T. Consultants informed us that though the voting site might have appeared credible on the surface as a decoy, it is apparent to state that the data uploaded to the site was programmed and preconfigured to achieve a premeditated result in an obvious case of data diddling.”

According to Adesina, “it is apparent to state that the data uploaded to the site was programmed and preconfigured to achieve a premeditated result in an obvious case of data diddling.”

In the petition titled “Re: The Nigerian Bar Association 2020 National Officers Election: A case of classical electronic fraud, illegal and unconstitutional process: call for cancellation and a new election conducted for the Nigerian Bar Association (nba)” and copied to all the trustees and NBA past presidents, Adesina warned that “The time has come to regain the integrity of the Nigerian Bar Association by putting an end to unconstitutional and fraudulent elections in our Association.”

It is recalled that the Chairman of the Mr. Tawo Eja Tawo SAN had on July 31, 2020 declared Akpata as winner of the NBA presidential election held on July 29 or 30, 2020.

According to the ECNBA Chairman, Akpata polled 9,891 or 54.3 per cent votes to beat his closest rival, Ajibade who garnered 4,328 (23.8 per cent) votes. Adesina 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 infractions. The election was held via ElectionBuddy, an electronic voting software deployed by Edmonton, Canada based firm.

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.

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.

ELECTION CRISIS: USORO VOWS TO UNITE AKPATA, ADESINA, OTHERS

BY EMEKA NWADIOKE

Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) President, Mr. Paul Usoro SAN has committed to bridge the schism that has attended the just concluded NBA National Officers Elections.

CITY LAWYER recalls that one of the presidential candidates in the race, Mr. Dele Adesina SAN had in a searing petition to the Electoral Committee (ECNBA) carpeted the poll as a “sham election,” demanding its cancellation. Mr. Olumide Akpata was declared winner of the election, polling 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. Adesina polled 3,982 votes (21.9 per cent) to bring up the rear. 

But in a response by Usoro addressed to NBA Past Presidents and Trustees, he stated that the election may have occasioned “wounds and bruises,” and warned against allowing the schism to deepen.

His words: “Now that the Elections are gone and past, I would, with the greatest respect, urge all our members, including the erstwhile contestants – both the winners and the losers – to join hands in healing the wounds and bruises that may have been occasioned by the Elections campaigns and results. It is inevitable that, in contests of this nature, there would be such wounds and bruises; we must however not allow them to fester and become open sores and flashpoints for divisions amongst us.”

Usoro assured that his immediate task is to facilitate the mending of fences between the combatants, saying: “That healing process is the most urgent and pressing assignment that we have, and I intend in the coming days to reach out to all the erstwhile contestants in that regard, notably, the Presidential candidates. I solicit your support and assistance, my dear Presidents and Trustees, in that task. There is much work to be done by all of us in the elevation of our Bar and we need to heal fast and then turn our attention, as a united Bar, to those tasks.”

In a detailed riposte to the allegations raised in Adesina’s petition, the NBA President vowed that neither him nor the ECNBA rigged the poll, saying that not only was the voter turnout unprecedented, the petitioner had adduced no evidence that any alleged infraction adversely impacted the result of the election.

He said it is “strange” that Adesina claimed that there were members “who received the link” but “could not vote,” adding that the “overwhelming evidence” that he received and also read on social media was that the voting process was “seamless” and “very easy for our members. I have so far not received any report from any member claiming that he or she had challenges in voting on the basis of the unique link that were sent to members from and by the Election Platform server. In any case, the ECNBA Statement No. 18 that was referenced in the Committee’s Statement No. 19 afore-referenced provided a helpline for members – 0700 5555 2020 – and I am hoping that those members who may have experienced voting challenges after receiving their unique links had contacted that helpline for assistance.”

Confirming that Adesina discussed his concerns with him before the election, Usoro said: “To reinforce the explanations in the ECNBA Statement No. 19, I further explained to Mr. Adesina that (a) all the names in the Verified Voters’ List were drawn from the Final Voters’ List that was published by the ECNBA on 01 July 2020 and that no new names were added; (b) all the names in the Verified Voters’ List are lawyers and had paid their Bar Practicing Fees and Branch Dues and had therefore met the eligibility qualification to vote in the Elections; and (c) the Elections would be determined, not on the basis of NBA branches but based on universal suffrage of the members which is the voting system enshrined in the Nigerian Bar Association Constitution, 2015 (as amended) and we should therefore not be fixated on the electronic glitches that assigned wrong branches to members. I stand by those explanations that I gave to Mr. Adesina and of course the fuller explanations that are contained in the ECNBA Statement No. 19.” He therefore warned against being “fixated” on the “electronic glitches” that assigned wrong branches to members.

Noting that Adesina has not been “forthcoming” with the details of the Senior Advocate of Nigeria that he mentioned in his petition, Usoro said: “Suffice to state that there were 29,636 verified voters for the 2020 NBA National Officers Election – a number that is far higher than the numbers we had in 2016 and 2018 for the NBA National Officers’ Elections that were held in those years. In my humble opinion, that is an advancement that we should all be proud of and should build on in succeeding Elections.”

The NBA President stated that “the relevant question to ask in regard to the security of the NBA Membership Portal is whether any member’s security was breached or compromised howsoever vis-à-vis the 2020 NBA National Officers’ Election. Prior to the Elections, I had read some non-specific allegations in that regard by a candidate and had requested for specific instance of any such breach to enable investigation by the NBA. Up till date, I have not received any such specific complaint, and none has been made in regard to the 2020 Elections. The NBA however remains open to investigate any such complaint if any is presented by Mr. Adesina or any other person.”

Usoro observed that 18,256 ballots were cast in the Elections consisting of 62% of the verified voters, saying: “That was by far higher than the number of ballots that were cast in the last 2 (two) NBA National Officers’ Elections since universal suffrage was introduced in 2015. Again, that is a feat which, in my very humble opinion, we should all exult and revel in. It reflects an incremental achievement which succeeding Elections can and should build on.”

He said that Adesina fell into error when he mistook the number of undeliverable notices for the number of persons who did not receive notices, saying that the number of notices “represented the aggregate of the undeliverable notices that were sent to each Verified Voter through the two notification channels – sms and e-mails. It also represents the aggregate number of blasts of such notices to each of the affected Verified Voter.” According to Usoro, the number of voters whose notices were previously undeliverable but were eventually able to vote also improved, climbing from 1,886 to 6,500. “That, in my respectful view, was quite commendable and showed an overarching commitment by the ECNBA to deliver on its mandate,” he said.

Alluding to the chequered issue of NBA database, Usoro said that “the inability to deliver those notices was not attributable howsoever to the Election Platform; it had everything to do with the NBA’s poor database (which, in point of fact, has been much improved under the present NBA administration) and the activation of DND in some of our members’ mobile phones.”

Usoro denied signing any Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the election portal vendor, adding that Adesina also got his information wrong on that score. His words: “In regard to the allegations relating to the procurement of the Election Platform, these are all incorrect, to the best of my knowledge. No MoU was signed on the Election Day in regard to the Election Platform. It is not quite clear what Mr. Adesina intends by his assertion that “the System . . . was . . . registered the very day the Election was to start”. As far as I know, the Election Platform, ElectionBuddy, belongs to a foreign company who has provided service such as we had for the NBA 2020 Elections in the past 12 years. Mr. Adesina, with the greatest respect, got his facts in regard to the Election Platform completely wrong. In any case, I would have thought that the more material issue should be whether the Election Platform provided satisfactory service to our members for the Elections. The evidence I have answers that question overwhelmingly in the positive. Mr. Adesina’s letter incidentally did not assert to the contrary. Regardless, the NBA remains open to address any specific queries that Mr. Adesina or any other may have in regard to the Election Platform.”

He said that Adesina left the “most critical” issue unaddressed, namely the integrity of the ballot. His words: “Perhaps I should first comment on the refreshing and complete transparency of the ballot. That is one feature that no one could dispute or quibble over. We were all election monitors, right from the first ballot to the last, using our various devices. It was possible for all our members to track the votes as they were cast. Another unique feature of the Elections was the unique link that was sent to each Verified Voter for him or her to access the platform and cast his/her ballot. That link was unique to the receiver and non-transferable; it was also not possible to use a single link and vote more than once.

“The link was delivered to members both by e-mail and sms and this was to ensure that Verified Voters all received the notification. Upon accessing the Election portal, the unique identifier that enabled voting by members was the Supreme Court Number of each Verified Voter. In effect, even if Mr. Paul Usoro, SAN’s unique link for accessing the Election Portal were to fall into the wrong hands, such wrong hands could not have cast the ballot, using that link except he or they also had Mr. Usoro’s SCN. These were all security measures that were put in place by the ECNBA to ensure the integrity of the ballot and I have not received any report from anyone whomsoever suggesting that these security measures were compromised or breached howsoever.”

Usoro said that he “had consistently committed to a free, fair, credible, transparent and unimpeachable ballot for our members in the 2020 National Officers’ Elections, right from my election in 2018,” adding: “I had also expressly informed each of the Presidential Candidates during my interactions with them that I would not rig the Election for any candidate neither would the ECNBA. The ECNBA were sworn to the same ideals as I was and I feel very comfortable holding my hand to my chest and declaring that we – the ECNBA and the NBA National Officers – lived up to those ideals in the conduct of the 2020 NBA National Officers’ Elections. I affirm solemnly and, in all conviction, that it was the transparent ballot which we all witnessed and nothing else that produced the winners of the Elections.”

PUSAN_LETTER_DASAN

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.

EFCC SET TO ARRAIGN TWO LAWYERS OVER USORO’S ELECTION

BY EMEKA NWADIOKE

  • CONFIRMS CITY LAWYER REPORT

Echoes of the election that brought outgoing Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) President, Mr. Paul Usoro SAN has reverberated as the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) may soon arraign suspects in the controversial election.

Filed as Suit no FHC/L/118c/2020, the EFCC is, according to GAVEL INTERNATIONAL accusing the duo of Sarah Omeigha Ajibola, and John Ozovehe Demide of allegedly rigging the August 2018 NBA Elections in favour of Usoro .

The charge confirms CITY LAWYER exclusive report that “The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) may have swooped on senior lawyer and Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) administrative lynchpin, Sarah Ajijola over an alleged cash payment received from one of the presidential candidates in the last elections.

“An impeccable source who is familiar with the EFCC investigations told CITY LAWYER that Ajijola, NBA’s Director of Membership & Bar Services, was pulled in by the anti-graft agency for questioning over a N25,000 inflow into her bank account in the run-up to the controversial 2018 NBA Elections.

“The EFCC is investigating the outcome of the elections following an alleged petition by Mr. Olumuyiwa Olowokure who was an agent to Chief Arthur Obi Okafor SAN, one of the presidential candidates in the elections. Olowokure is now deceased.”

According to latest report, the charge has been filed at the Federal High Court, though the arraignment has been stalled by the coronavirus pandemic crisis.

The charges were reportedly filed on May 5, 2020 and signed by EFCC prosecutors led by Mr Rotimi Oyedepo Iseoluwa and including Bilikisu Buhari Bala, Usman Umar Buhari, Mohammed Abbas Omeiza, Suleiman I. Suleiman, and Kufre Uduak on behalf of the Executive Chairman of EFCC.

Below are the charges:
COUNT-1

That you, Sarah Omeigha Ajibola and John Ozovehe Demide sometime in August 2018, within the Jurisdiction of this Honourable Court conspired amongst yourselves to knowingly alter the email addresses and phone numbers of about 1004 (One Thousand and Four) eligible voters of the Nigerian Bar Association 2018 elections with the intention that such inauthentic data will be acted upon as genuine during the said election and you think thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 27 (1)(b) of the Cybercrime ( Prohibition, Prevention etc) Act, 2015 and punishable under Section 13 of the same Act.

COUNT-2

That you, Sarah Omeigha Ajibola and John Ozovehe Demide sometime in August 2018, within the Jurisdiction of the Honourable Court aided the commission of an offence to wit: to knowingly alter the email addresses and phone numbers of about 1004(One Thousand and Four) eligible voters of the Nigerian Bar Association 2018 National elections with the intention that such inauthentic data will be acted upon as genuine during the said election and you thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 27 (1)(b)of the Cybercrime (Prohibition, Prevention etc) Act 2015 and punishable under Section 13 of the same Act

COUNT-3
That you, Sarah Omeigha Ajibola and John Ozovehe Demide sometime in August 2018, within the Jurisdiction of this Honourable Court knowingly altered the email addresses and phone numbers of about 1004 (One Thousand and Four) eligible voters of the Nigerian Bar Association 2018 National elections with the intention that such inauthentic data will be acted upon as genuine during the said election and you thereby committed an offence contrary to and punishable under Section 13 of the Cybercrime (Prohibition, Prevention etc) Act,2015.

COUNT-4

That you, John Ozovehe Demide sometime on the 19th of August 2018, within the Jurisdiction of this Court fraudulently used the unique identification features such as Name and Supreme Court Enrolment Number SCN043280 of one Gabriel Abijo Oladipo to vote as the same Gabriel Abijo Oladipo through your Smile modem on IP address 169.159.65.190 to vote with intent of gaining electoral advantage in favour of Mr. Paul Usoro (SAN) who was one of the Presidential Aspirants during the 2018 Nigerian Bar Association elections and you thereby committed an offence contrary to and punishable under Section 22(2) of the Cybercrime (Prohibition, Prevention etc) Act, 2015 under the same section.

COUNT-5

That you, Sarah Omeigha Ajibola and John Ozovehe Demide sometime on the 19th of August 2018, within the Jurisdiction of this Court aided the commission of an offence to wit: fraudulently using the unique identification features such as Name and Supreme Court Enrolment Number SCN043280 of one Gabriel Abijo Oladipo to vote as the same Gabriel Abijo Oladipo through the Smile modem on IP address 169.159.65.190 to vote with the intent of gaining electoral advantage in favour of Mr. Paul Usoro (SAN) who was one of the Presidential Aspirants during the 2018 Nigerian Bar Association National elections and you thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 27 (1)(b) and punishable under Section 22 (2) of the Cybercrime ( Prohibition, Prevention etc) Act, 2015.

COUNT-6

That you, John Ozovehe Demide sometime on the 19th August 2018, within the Jurisdiction of this Honourable Court fraudulently impersonated one Gabriel Abijo Oladipo with Supreme Court Enrolment Number SCN043280 by voting as such through your Smile modem on IP address 169.159.65.190 to vote with the intent of gaining electoral advantage in favour of Mr. Paul Usoro (SAN) who was one of the Presidential Aspirants during the 2018 Nigerian Bar Association National elections and you thereby committed an offence contrary to and punishable under Section 22 (2) of the Cybercrime ( Prohibition, Prevention etc ) Act, 2015.

COUNT-7

That you, Sarah Omeigha Ajibola and John Ozovehe Demide sometime on 19th August 2018, within the Jurisdiction of this Honourable Court aided the commission of an offence to wit: fraudulently use the unique identification features such Name and Supreme Court Enrolment Number SCN088449 of one Uthman Adeleye Oluwaseun to vote as the same Uthman Adeleye Oluwaseun through the Smile Modem on IP address 169.159.65.190 to vote with intent of gaining electoral advantage in favour of Mr. Paul Usoro (SAN) who was one of the Presidential Aspirants during the 2018 Nigerian Bar Association elections and you thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 27 (1)(b) and punishable under Section 22 (2) of the Cybercrime (Prohibition, Prevention etc) Act,2015

COUNT-8
That you, John Ozovehe Demide sometime on 19th August 2018, within the Jurisdiction of this Honourable Court fraudulently impersonated one Uthman Adeleye Oluwaseun with Suu preme Court Enrolment Number SCN088449 by voting as such through your Smile modem on IP address 169.159.65.190 to vote with intent of gaining electoral advantage in favour of Mr. Paul Usoro (SAN) who was one of the Presidential Aspirants during the 2018 Nigerian Bar Association elections and you thereby committed an offence contrary to and punishable under Section 22 (3) of yhe cybercrime ( Prohibition, Prevention etc) Act, 2015.

COUNT-9

That you, Sarah Omeigha Ajibola and John Ozovehe Demide sometime on the 19th day of August 2018, within the Jurisdiction of this Court aided the commission of an offence to wit: fraudulently using the unique identification features such as Name and Supreme Court Enrolment Number SCN015233 of one David Anakor through the Smile modem on IP address 169.159.65.190 to vote with intent of gaining electoral advantage in favour of Mr. Paul Usoro (SAN) who was one of the Presidential Aspirants during the 2018 Nigerian Bar Association elections and you thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 27 (1)(b) and punishable under Section 22 (2) of the Cybercrime ( Prohibition, Prevention etc) Act, 2015.

COUNT-10
That you, John Ozovehe Demide sometime on the 19th day of August 2018, within the Jurisdiction of this Court fraudulently impersonated one David Anakor with Supreme Court Enrolment Number SCN015233 by voting as such through your Smile modem on IP address 169.159.65.190 to vote with intent of gaining electoral advantage in favour of Mr. Paul Usoro (SAN) who was one of the Presidential Aspirants during the 2018 Nigerian Bar Association elections and you thereby committed an offence contrary to and punishable under Section 22(3) of the Cybercrime (Prohibition, Prevention etc) Act,2015

COUNT-11
That you, Sarah Omeigha Ajibola and John Ozovehe Demide sometime on the 20th day of August 2018, within the Jurisdiction of this Court aided the commission of an offence to wit: fraudulently using the unique identification features such as Name and Supreme Court Enrolment Number SCN114439 of one Chiagoziem Bethel Aninilu to vote as the same Chiagoziem Bethel Aninilu through the Smile modem on IP address 197.210.216.226 to vote with intent of gaining electoral advantage in favour of Mr. Paul Usoro (SAN) who was one of the Presidential Aspirants during the 2018 Nigerian Bar Association National elections and you thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 27 (1)(b) and punishable under Section 22 (2) of the cybercrime (Prohibition, Prevention etc) Act, 2015.

COUNT-12
That you, John Ozovehe Demide sometime on the 20th day of August 2018, within the Jurisdiction of this Court fraudulently impersonated one Chiagoziem Bethel Aninilu with Supreme Court Enrolment Number SCN114439 by voting as such through your Smile modem on IP address 197.210.216.226 to vote with intent of gaining electoral advantage in favour of Mr. Paul Usoro (SAN) who was one of the Presidential Aspirants during the 2018 Nigerian Bar Association elections and you thereby committed an offence contrary to and punishable under Section 22 (3) of the cybercrime (Prohibition Prevention etc) Act, 2015.

COUNT-13
That you, Sarah Omeigha Ajibola and John Ozovehe Demide sometime on the 20th day of August 2018, within the Jurisdiction of this Court aided the commission of an offence to wit: fraudulently using the unique identification features such as Name and Supreme Court Enrolment Number SCN024643 of one Bankole Isaac Toyin to vote as the same Bankole Isaac Toyin through the Smile modem on IP address 169.159.65.190 to vote with intent of gaining electoral advantage in favour of Mr. Paul Usoro (SAN) who was one of the Presidential Aspirants during the 2018 Nigerian Bar Association National elections and you thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 27 (1)(b) and punishable under Section 22 (2) of the cybercrime (Prohibition, Prevention etc) Act,2015.

COUNT-14
That you, John Ozovehe Demide sometime on the 20th day of August 2018, within the Jurisdiction of this Court fraudulently impersonated one Bankole Isaac Toyin to vote as the same Bankole Isaac Toyin with Supreme Court Enrolment Number SCN024643 by voting as such through your Smile modem on IP address 169.159.65.190 to vote with intent of gaining electoral advantage in favour of Mr. Paul Usoro (SAN) who was one of the Presidential Aspirants during the 2018 Nigerian Bar Association elections and you thereby committed an offence contrary to and punishable under Section 22 (3) of the cybercrime (Prohibition, Prevention etc) Act, 2015.

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 PALLIATIVES: ANXIETY, AS YOUNG LAWYERS CRY OUT OVER DELAY

BY EMEKA NWADIOKE

Young lawyers have expressed disappointment on delays that have enveloped the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) Palliatives Scheme. The lawyers yesterday tackled NBA National Officers on the issue on the association’s official WhatsApp platform, “BAR CENTRE 4.”

Opening the barrage of complaints, one Victor Eze wrote on the platform: “Victor Eze from Yola Branch. Please when will they give us the NBA National palliative?” This was the tonic other young lawyers engage in another heated and prolonged debate on the palliatives debacle.

Following up on Eze’s poser, one Muhammad Raji Yabaji said: “I like the question, after receiving our particulars nothing we heard from them.”

Apparently disappointed by turn of events, one Count Vladislaus, switching between formal and Broken English, said: “Broda nor just put mind. NBA National may not give any palliative. You see the way this country goes… They wait for an event to cover up an event, all they just do is just postpone and postpone till we all forget, soon it’ll be December and the NBA National will start dropping guidelines for payment of the 2021 BPF.

“50 naira wen tear nobody see, money wen people pay for BPF will not be talked about, na how to collect 2021 own go dey National minds. Worst part is that we go still rush go pay before 31st March and I am bold to say nothing, absolutely nothing will happen because NBA national will sweep it all under the rug, life will go on as usual. Kobo as palliative none of us go see. Mark my words.

“If they like after this they may send me out of this group and any NBA group, it just shows that what I am saying is the truth. And yes; truth be told we all are aware of the politics up there in the National. Left for a ton of young lawyers in the country they would not pay dime to NBA National, because the words, ‘WHAT HAS NBA DONE FOR ME’ is (sic) on the lips of thousands of young lawyers out there. Let us not deny it.”

I believe the delay in disbursement is becoming unduly protracted for our comfort. Yes, the President has spoken on it about two times now providing assurance that the funds are there. But it may be better to tell us why the wait is this prolonged instead of the silence which has capacity to breed rumors. We are entitled to know what is happening.

On Vladislaus’s fears that he may be sanctioned by the platform administrators for his views, one Damilare Ojo assured him otherwise, saying: “The fact is you have made your point. We are all AGITATED!”

On her part, Precious Nwadimuya said: “So we don’t waste the opportunity to get an answer, I will ask the question on our behalf. @Habeeb Lawal @ PRO NBA Asaba @Kunle Edun, What is happening to the monies raised by our learned seniors in the profession meant to provide palliative for lawyers who submitted their particulars? I believe the delay in disbursement is becoming unduly protracted for our comfort. Yes, the President has spoken on it about two times now providing assurance that the funds are there. But it may be better to tell us why the wait is this prolonged instead of the silence which has capacity to breed rumors. We are entitled to know what is happening. Publicity team, if it means going to (Dr. Wale) Babalakin to know what is happening, please go and bring word for us and bring the money on your way coming, that would be better.”

Particularly worried that the tenure of the current NBA Administration is coming to an end, Vladislaus said: “August is fast approaching, the NBA executives will hand over. Nothing, absolutely nothing will happen. We all will pay BPF again in 2021 and nothing will happen. I challenge the NBA to prove me wrong. This is Nigeria, I hope the NBA proves me wrong in everything. I will be glad they did.”

Trying to assuage the persistent complaints, NBA Publicity Secretary, Mr. Kunle Edun: “Your concerns are valid. I can assure you that the issue you raised has been taken up with the Committee. We should be expecting a positive response soon. I appreciate all the patience. Thanks.”

In an earlier intervention when the debate arose on the platform, Count Vladislaus said: “Just wait, by August they will give a report on how they spent billions on palliatives.”

As one Ezenwa Okoli warned that “You can now be sued for allegations of this nature. Let’s watch it pls,” Vladislaus retorted: “Because we are speaking about our pains, they want to silence us like the FG did Sowere, 2Face and others.”

On his part, Rabiu Ibrahim said: “We are all speaking our minds as lawyers, this is an avenue where young lawyers should know that NBA are in existence. It is when something’s happened that another thing happened. We are not trying to put an accusing finger on anybody. If lawyers that are 10 years at the bar will complain, then I wonder what other lawyers will say.”

This again led Edun to wade in to douse the face-off, saying: “Gentlemen, pls while we exercise our right to freedom of speech, let us show mutual respect to each other and be civil. Thanks.”

It is recalled that NBA President, Mr. Paul Usoro SAN had in a Press Statement late May said that “the NBA COVID-19 Relief Fund Account had a credit balance of N84,223,000.00 donated almost entirely by our distinguished colleagues.” CITY LAWYER gathered that the current balance may be in excess of N90 million.

Usoro added that “The Welfare Committee was saddled with a second significant assignment upon its constitution, to wit, ‘work with me in designing the most equitable and integrity-proof model for identifying the genuinely needy beneficiaries of the relief materials. Part of the Committee’s responsibility would also be to determine the form that the reliefs should take e.g. cash or kind (illustratively, food items and the like) or a combination of the two or any other form.’

“That part of the assignment remains outstanding. I have been assured by the Committee that their focus has so far been on ‘baking the cake’, in a manner of speaking, and that they would shortly proceed to and with that follow-through assignment of distributing the funds to the truly needy members of our Association. I would work with them in that regard and would keep our members fully informed and updated.”

The NBA Welfare Committee is headed by top corporate lawyer, Babalakin. Other members are Chief Bolaji Ayorinde (SAN), Vice Chairman; Miannaya Essien (SAN), Yakubu Maikyau (SAN), Solomon Umoh (SAN), Dr. Garba Tertengi (SAN), Mrs. Victoria Awomolo (SAN) and Sylva Ogwemoh (SAN).

Also appointed as members of the committee are Ibrahim Muhammed (SAN), Emeka Etiaba (SAN), Mba Ukweni (SAN), Steven Adehi (SAN), Olabode Olanipekun (SAN), Tuduru Ede (SAN), Theophilus Igba (3rd Vice President), Emeka Anosike (National Financial Secretary), Joshua Usman (National Welfare Secretary) and Ewenode Onoriode (1st National Assistant Secretary)” as the COVID-19 Committee Secretary.

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.

EXCLUSIVE: CRISIS ROCKS NBA LEADERSHIP, AS VP BLASTS USORO

BY EMEKA NWADIOKE

  • ACCUSES NBA PRESIDENT OF BREACHING CONSTITUTION

  • LABELS HIM ‘SOLE ADMINISTRATOR’

  • ‘NATIONAL OFFICERS NEGLECTED, TREATED UNFAIRLY’

  • SAYS APPOINTMENT OF NEC MEMBERS FLAWED

  • RAISES POSERS ON PREPARATIONS FOR NBA ELECTIONS

The crisis of confidence rocking the leadership of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) peaked at the weekend following an unprecedented and scorching indictment of NBA President, Mr. Paul Usoro SAN by the association’s Second Vice President, Dr. Foluke Dada.

In an email last Thursday by Dada to the NBA President obtained by CITY LAWYER, the fiery senior lawyer lampooned Usoro for his leadership style, saying that National Officers have been sidelined from discharging their constitutionally guaranteed roles.

Titled “My concern on the state of the 2020 Elections and the abandonment by the President of the NBA, Paul Usoro SAN of the National Officers in the scheme of NBA affairs,” CITY LAWYER gathered that the email was copied to all the National Officers.

Noting that all efforts to discuss the “burning issues” were rebuffed by the NBA President, Dada, who is also the Chair of Advocacy Committee of NBA Women Forum, stated that Usoro’s style “has been one of pure neglect or shall we say, total abandonment of the key officers of the NBA national Exco,” adding that “In fact, the word is that you, Mr. President, view your officers as ordinary appendages to your office with no usefulness as to the running of the organization against the core provisions of the Constitution of the NBA.”

Assessing Usoro’s leadership style, the NBA Second Vice President scored him poorly on teamwork, adding that National Officers were denied the opportunity to contribute to decision making in their constitutionally mandated roles. Her words: “It is in line with the trust imposed, that as an officer, who observes throughout an almost two -year tenure that the affairs of the National body has been SOLELY stage-managed by you as a “Sole Administrator”, so to speak, and in addition, all affairs have been personally handled to the EXCLUSION of the members of the exco by you to the detriment of all. This is in clear assault to the intentions of the drafters of the Constitution of our great body, the Nigerian Bar Association.”

Dada accused the NBA President of nepotism, noting that she rebuffed Usoro’s attempt to hijack her constitutionally guaranteed role. Her words: “It is on this note that the agenda of neglect/abandonment of officers started from the inception of our tenure when you sought to appoint your kinsman, Victor Etim ESQ. to perform the duties constitutionally granted to the office of the Second Vice President of the Bar! This move was resisted by me but you employed the silent code to avoid your officers to the best of your ability! There are lessons to be learned!!!”

She noted that key decisions were taken “without the input of any member of the executive,” adding that “appointment of members of over 100 Co-Opted NEC has been conducted by you to the detriment of the interests of the majority of your National Officers and the Bar, particularly, those you perceive as having voted for your opposition during the election at the Bar.

Turning to the 2020 NBA National Elections, Dada who declared herself a “woman of honor and integrity,” said that “members from across the Nation have been clamoring for the postponement of the 2020 National Elections for reasons varying from the lack of transparency, lack of a trust-worthy web platform secured to ensure the integrity of the elections, incomplete or unverifiable electoral list, verification difficulties etc.”

She raised many posers on the integrity of the electoral process, and urged Usoro to provide answers to them, saying: “My question to you sir, Are we providing the best possible electoral platform and resources to our members?”

With a tone of finality, Dada, who is also the the Iyalode of Ere Ijesha and Yeye Mofin of Itaji-Ekiti, stated that the National Officers had a raw deal under the Usoro Administration. She said: “Sir, I (and I believe all of us, as national officers) have been unfairly treated by you sir. Let this be on record!”

It is recalled that CITY LAWYER had in a report last May noted concerns by some National Officers that they were not carried along especially in relation to award of contract for the revamp of the NBA Website. The report stated that “At least three National officers who spoke to CITY LAWYER recently vowed that they were in the dark on the NBA website contract, adding that it was never discussed at any of their meetings. They also pleaded ignorance on the identity of the vendor or scope of work contained in the contract. The NBA did not respond to CITY LAWYER enquiries on the subject.”

  • DR. FOLUKE DADA, NBA Second Vice President

Below is the full text of the letter.

MY CONCERN ON THE STATE OF THE 2020 ELECTIONS AND THE ABANDONMENT BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE NBA, PAUL USORO SAN OF THE NATIONAL OFFICERS IN THE SCHEME OF NBA AFFAIRS

Dear Sir,

Greetings!

PREAMBLE:

Permit me to explore this avenue to make known my observations on some of the issues arising from my association with your honourable self and some of the burning issues within the NBA Community on the vital areas of concern that should be discussed.

May I remind you sir, Mr. President, that I have called by phone and sent many messages via WhatsApp and through a phone call 3 weeks ago to your wife, Mrs. Mfon Usoro who called out to you across the room but you responded that you were busy! Since then, I have not had the courtesy of a return call or response to any of my messages or attempt to reach you to discuss some of these vital issues! Hence, my adopting the current medium to hone in some of the points I would have preferred to discuss with you personally.

It is indeed worrisome to me that the trend and path adopted by your honourable self, being the elected President of the Nigerian Bar Association (2018-2020), (just as we all have been elected to serve one constitutional purpose or the other), has been one of pure neglect or shall we say, total abandonment of the key officers of the NBA national Exco. In fact, the word is that you, Mr. President, view your officers as ordinary appendages to your office with no usefulness as to the running of the organization against the core provisions of the Constitution of the NBA. Little did it surprise anyone that you sought to include into the recently amended Constitution of the NBA, the clause (which was honorably expunged by members at the AGM of 2019), that persons seeking an election into offices at the Bar should be men and women of “means!”

ISSUES AT THE CORE

My distinguished President, I humbly and honorably disagree with the above concept formally and do seek your indulgence to state categorically that I am a woman of honor and integrity and of course with means adequate enough to live a honourable lifestyle of a lady at the Bar! I am of the view, that same applies to my other colleagues at the EXCO! Let me state further that;

The Nigerian Bar Association is a body governed by her Constitution (2015 as amended 2019) and several rules of Professional Ethics and behavior that require that the men and indeed women at the Bar serve with utmost dignity and integrity of purpose within and outside the Bar. Hence, the perceived indictment on the person of any national officer who feels alienated from the performance of his or her duties so accorded by the trust and confidence imposed on their election into the various offices of the Bar! This is my belief throughout the tenure!

It is in line with the trust imposed, that as an officer, who observes throughout an almost two -year tenure that the affairs of the National body has been SOLELY stage-managed by you as a “Sole Administrator”, so to speak, and in addition, all affairs have been personally handled to the EXCLUSION of the members of the exco by you to the detriment of all. This is in clear assault to the intentions of the drafters of the Constitution of our great body, the Nigerian Bar Association.

Recall also, that you, as the President of the NBA, has refused totally to engage your officers in the vital decisions affecting the Bar to the detriment of the Constitutionally mandated roles of your executive officers. It is on this note that the agenda of neglect/abandonment of officers started from the inception of our tenure when you sought to appoint your kinsman, Victor Etim ESQ. to perform the duties constitutionally granted to the office of the Second Vice President of the Bar! This move was resisted by me but you employed the silent code to avoid your officers to the best of your ability! There are lessons to be learned!!!

Recall again sir, that prior to and throughout the COVID-19 saga AND TILL DATE, you have refused to call one National Officers Meeting, physically or virtually!

In fact, it is bemusing that throughout the COVID-19 period, I, as your officer, did not receive ONE phone call or message to check the welfare, not to talk of working or suggesting or contributing to any Bar related issue from you!

Recall as well, that even the appointment of members of over 100 Co-Opted NEC has been conducted by you to the detriment of the interests of the majority of your National Officers and the Bar, particularly, those you perceive as having voted for your opposition during the election at the Bar.

Mr. President, vital decisions have been taken without the input of any member of the executive, save yourself sir. We seem to be the administration that thrived on NEC ratifications after the fact. This is no surprise as the bulk of the co-opted membership of NEC was selected by you sir! Would I be right to assume that this was done for a purpose? Why were officers made redundant and despised?

THE ULTIMATE –  NBA 2020 ELECTION

As recently as yesterday, July 6th, 2020, members from across the Nation have been clamoring for the postponement of the 2020 National Elections for reasons varying from the lack of transparency, lack of a trust-worthy web platform secured to ensure the integrity of the elections, incomplete or unverifiable electoral list, verification difficulties etc. An embarrassing example of this is a situation where a name was listed as “Opening Balance” on an electoral list!!! The list goes on and on…

Mr. President, what answer do you have for a concerned electorate at the Bar who seeks to understand:

The veracity of the information contained in the NBA database?

The security measures in place to ensure that the election is not compromised

The identity and the integrity of the organization working on the private data of members

The process or remedial measures in place for possible infractions or even crashes during the election

The improvement in the capacity of the customized NBA web page which to the best of my knowledge or to the best of information available unto me, has failed on the couple of times it was tested even for a Zoom meeting!

My question to you sir, Are we providing the best possible electoral platform and resources to our members? The questions above were posed by members of our great association who are genuinely worried about the level of our preparedness. Please oblige me with answers. We owe them the responsibility.

Again Mr. President, do you really think it is fair on your officers to neglect them or even think possibly that everyone has come to supposedly exploit the Association? Alas, NO! Thirty One (31) YEARS at the Bar for me is nothing to jeopardize for a two-year tenure of service to my great Association!

History will judge all of us as we treat each other in this profession. Our great objective is the promotion and the protection of the Rule of Law. As we seek to do this, we also reflect on our attitudes and the impact of our actions on the people we meet along the way. For me, as an elected National Officer, the little I was able to sternly but respectfully discharge has been nothing but through the grace of GOD. Posterity will judge us all.

Sir, I (and I believe all of us, as national officers) have been unfairly treated by you sir. Let this be on record!

I have a future that GOD only can preserve.

I enjoin you sir, to please endeavor to imbue in the younger people coming after us the sense of dignity as we all owe them that duty! It is not enough to form a platform for them to operate. We should ensure they have as much independence and unity of purpose serving with dignity and integrity.

I continue to serve the Bar in the best of my ability for the remainder of our tenure in office and beyond.

We are all lawyers!

Thank you sir!

Dr. Foluke Dada
2VP NBA (2018-2020)

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 IS CONTROLLING YOU TO RIG ELECTION,’ ONU WARNS ECNBA

  • SAYS VERIFICATION MODEL WILL FOSTER FAKE VOTERS

  • ‘SAFEGUARD YOUR GOOD NAME,’ ONU TELLS TAWO TAWO

BY EMEKA NWADIOKE

The Co-Convener of Open Bar Initiative, Mr. Silas Onu has petitioned the Chairman of the Electoral Committee of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) over the exclusion of his name and that of his colleague from the voters’ register for the forthcoming NBA Elections, CITY LAWYER can authoritatively report.

In a letter dated 6th July, 2020 and titled “Conplaint (sic) against a foreseeable calculated attempt to disenfranchise me and other junior lawyers in the forthcoming national election of the Nigerian Bar Association,” Onu noted that while he has always discharged his financial responsibility to the NBA and is entitled to all benefits deriving from his membership of the association, “I have to make the point here that there is no benefit whatsoever that I have ever enjoyed as a faithful member of this Bar.”

Noting that “the only privilege that I have received by virtue of my membership is the right to vote and be voted for as enshrined in our constitution,” Onu stated that “this right itself has been stolen from me in the past and another concerted effort is underway to steal it from me again.”

Onu alleged that he was disenfranchised in 2018 by the Prof. Auwalu Yadudu-led electoral committee “in the total control of A. B. Mahmoud SAN,” adding that this was “due to my support for a candidate other than their endorsed candidate, even with evidence of all qualifying payments.”

Alleging that the current NBA President, Mr. Paul Usoro SAN “is the main beneficiary of that illegality,” Onu stated that “I fear that he (Usoro) is also controlling your committee to deliver the same outcome as the one that brought him in.”

Warning that he “will have a reason to seek redress and demand damages” if the right to vote is “taken away from me for the second time in a row,” the Abuja based lawyer also said that such “will determine my further need to pay anything to the Bar as the conduct of those running its affairs is gradually becoming a brazen acts (sic) of fraud with no fear for any consequence.”

Onu, who showered encomiums on the ECNBA Chairman, however warned him to steer clear of acts that may impugn his integrity, saying: “Mr. Chairman Sir, I have known you for many years. You have remained one of the few Senior Advocates who I deeply appreciate and respect because of how you have carried yourself with dignity of your station in life and respect for those who are behind you. You have earned yourself a good name by hard work and persevering in integrity. The task that you are currently chairing is one that can broaden your horizon in the path that you have been or completely deplete the good name that you have done for many years. The latter is easily achievable if you do not insist on managing the entire process that will lead up to the election. If you allow the certain regular partisan individuals occupying offices in the Secretariat to manage the process, then we will end up with a disputed election that can bring the NBA to its knee.”

Onu noted that there is a need to ensure that the electoral process “is more credible than the past and as transparent as the voting itself,” adding that the compilation of the voters register was a “shameful exercise” as it reflected a list “a list put together from names sent from various Branches of the Association.”

He alleged that the register is “replete with duplicate names or bogus names,” querying : “Can you sincerely say that a credible election is about to be conducted when thousands of qualified voters are unable to verify for the election?” He stated that many names on the voters register were without email addresses, adding that those assigned to administer the Help Desk “have become professional liars promising so much and delivering nothing to members with verification challenges.”

Providing their personal details, Onu said: “With the information given herein, there is no reason why we should not be able to do our verification before the last day scheduled for it, except if the bid to deny us this right is actually deeper than we thought.”

Onu warned that “lawyers verification should not have anything to do with this election,” and observed that opening the NBA portal for verification by all comers may be a recipe for a flawed election. His words: “This needs to be addressed urgently as allowing it as it is will open a window to all verified lawyers to gain access into the election portal even without having paid BPF for the year.”

The NBA Election is scheduled to hold on July 29 and 30, 2020.

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.

 

EDITORIAL: NBA ELECTIONS 2020 – OF OPPORTUNITIES AND THREATS

The Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) 2020 National Elections will hold barely 28 days from today. In fact, Paragraph 2.3 (d) of the Second Schedule to the NBA Constitution 2015 (as amended) provides that “The full list of all legal practitioners qualified to vote shall be published by ECNBA in conjunction with the National Secretariat of the NBA at least twenty eight (28) days before the date of the election.” The poll is scheduled to hold on July 24 and 25, 2020 via electronic voting. Continue Reading

ELECTIONS: ‘NBA OFFERED US READY-MADE VOTING PORTAL,’ SAYS TAWO TAWO

• CONFIRMS CITY LAWYER REPORT
• SAYS FATE OF PORTAL UNCERTAIN
• VOWS THAT ECNBA IS ‘TOTALLY INDEPENDENT’

The Electoral Committee of the Nigerian Bar Association (ECNBA) has admitted that it was handed over a ready-made election portal for the forthcoming National Elections by the Mr. Paul Usoro SAN-led bar association. This confirms CITY LAWYER exclusive report which hinted that the ECNBA may have been preparing for the elections on the basis of the election portal bequeathed to it by the NBA leadership.

CITY LAWYER had in a recent report stated that “It was unclear at press time whether the vendor’s scope of work included a mandate to deliver an election portal for the forthcoming NBA Elections, given the notice issued by the ECNBA seeking proposals to recruit an ‘Information Technology Specialist.’ Among the work to be done by the IT Specialist/ECNBA Partner is, ‘Analyzing the new NBA Election portal system and infrastructure.’ The successful vendor is also required to train NBA staff ‘to use the new IT system.’ ”

Putting the issue beyond speculation, the ECNBA in a statement personally signed by its Chairman, Mr. Tawo Eja Tawo SAN said: “The Committee was briefed that the NBA has its own e-voting platform/portal for elections developed by TAVIA, an IT firm. TAVIA was invited to brief the Committee in conjunction with the NBA IT Officer Umar Gezawa, on the said NBA election platform/portal.”

He emphasized the critical role of the election portal, saying “the success of the elections would depend to a large extent on the electronic or IT platform that would be deployed for the election.” He added that “The need to procure such a platform has been a priority.”

Giving more insights into the “briefing” received from the NBA leadership on the election portal, the ECNBA Chairman said: “Further to the said briefing, the ECNBA decided that in spite of the advantages of such a portal, exploring the use of other viable e-voting platforms if necessary is not foreclosed. As such there was the need to engage an independent IT Consultant that would examine the NBA portal and critique same, its integrity, functionality and suitability or otherwise for the purpose of the elections as well as advise on other options.”

Highlighting additional roles of the consultant, the ECNBA Chairman said: “The Consultant would also be required to identify avenues for possible threats, and advise on how to contain same. Other issues to be addressed include the training of staff and all those associated with handling any part of the e-voting process by the consultant. They would be expected to verify electronically, the votes cast at the end of the exercise.”

Hinting on the fate of the election portal delivered by the NBA, Tawo who is said to be a born-again Christian noted: “Notwithstanding the above, the platform or portal to deploy for the election by the ECNBA would largely be dependent on the advice and report of the IT Consultant.” The ECNBA is currently sifting through applications received from its advertised request for expression of interest to pick its preferred IT consultant.

While the ECNBA Chairman did not state when the committee received the “briefing” from the NBA leadership, there are strong indications that this must have been before April 4, 2020 when the committee issued a “REQUEST FOR PROPOSAL (RFP): IT CONSULTANCY” which gave the scope of work of the IT Consultant to include “Analyzing the new NBA Election portal system and infrastructure.” CITY LAWYER recalls that the ECNBA was appointed by NBA-NEC on March 12, 2020.

At least three National officers who spoke to CITY LAWYER recently vowed that they were in the dark on the NBA website contract, adding that it was never discussed at any of their meetings. They also pleaded ignorance on the identity of the vendor or scope of work contained in the contract. The NBA did not respond to CITY LAWYER enquiries on the subject.

CITY LAWYER investigation however showed that Usoro informed NBA-NEC during its March 2019 meeting of his plan to “revamp” the verified NBA website to enhance its “functional uses.” He had stated that the websites for the Annual General Conference and NBA sections would be hosted on or linked to the NBA website while online payments and online platform for ordering stamps would be incorporated. However, the address was silent on the incorporation of a voting platform on the portal.

Though there are concerns among some stakeholders on the role of NBA staff in managing the elections, the ECNBA may have decided to give substantial roles to the staff. In its latest statement, the committee said: “Other issues to be addressed include the training of staff and all those associated with handling any part of the e-voting process by the consultant.” This aligns with item “f” of the “Scope of work” set out in the request for proposal which lists “Training staff to use the new IT system” as one of the deliverables of the IT Consultant.

While urging all stakeholders to shun “any activity that would be subversive and counter-productive to this exercise,” the committee however assured that it is “totally independent,” adding that “Mr. Paul Usoro SAN and his elected executive have given the ECNBA the needed liberty to do what is just and proper for the benefit of the profession in Nigeria. All candidates for the 2020 Elections shall be treated equally.”

The committee had published a Preliminary Notice of Elections as well as Election Guidelines in the run-up to the elections. Following its Call for Proposals from IT consultants, the ECNBA in its latest statement noted that it was “disheartening” for branches to shun the request to provide the data of eligible voters as requested by the NBA secretariat, warning that this may disenfranchise branch members. It however noted that it is in the process of compiling the Interim Voters Register as well as screening of IT proposals and interviewing of IT consultancy firms.

Please send emails to citylawyermag@gmail.com. Copyright 2020 CITY LAWYER. 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 DATABASE: OLANIPEKUN, NGIGE, FALANA IN ‘OBOLLO-AFOR’ BRANCH

* Mixed reactions, as errors mar project
* ‘We are in the dark on website contract,’ say EXCO Members

There is palpable anxiety over the current state of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) database as uploaded on the NBA website. While some members have their data correctly inputted, prominent Bar Leaders such as former NBA President, Chief Wole Olanipekun (SAN); former NBA presidential candidate and Chairman of the Council of Legal Education (CLE), Chief Emeka Ngige (SAN) and Mrs. Funmi Falana, wife of fiery human rights activist, Mr. Femi Falana (SAN) are among those whose data have errors. The trio are listed as members of NBA Obollo-Afor Branch. Continue Reading