VERIFICATION: ECNBA EXTENDS DEADLINE, CITES MASSIVE LAWYERS’ INTEREST

The Electoral Committee of the Nigerian Bar Association (ECNBA) has extended the deadline for lawyers verify their profiles for the forthcoming NBA Elections.

In an ECNBA Statement No. 015 titled “Extension of verification exercise” and signed by the committee Secretary, Mrs. Cordelia Eke, the electoral body stated that the verification exercise will now end barely three days to the election on Sunday, July 26, 2020.

Though the electoral committee had initially extended the deadline to yesterday, it stated that the latest extension was informed by “a huge increase in the number of Lawyers seeking to carry out their verification on the NBA Portal.”

According to the ECNBA, “The deadline for verification of Voters is now extended to 6.00PM on Sunday 26th July 2020. Eligible Voters are advised to take advantage of this further extension to get verified. Previously verified voters are required to log in to their portals and update their information, especially their contact details to ensure they have smooth access to the portal and are able to receive important information pertaining to the Voting exercise.”

Though the NBA Constitution (as amended) mandates the ECNBA to publish the voters’ register and deliver same to branches latest 28 days to the election, the register has been beset by several challenges, even as some names were duplicated. This has necessitated a clean-up of the register alongside the verification exercise.

While the committee had earlier set a deadline to end the verification exercise, this became untenable due to several complaints regarding the cumbersome nature of the process.

Below is the full text of the ECNBA statement.

EXTENSION OF VERIFICATION EXERCISE

The ECNBA has observed that in the wake of the publication of its Statement No.14 extending the date of verification of Voters, there has been a huge increase in the number of Lawyers seeking to carry out their verification on the NBA Portal. The ECNBA has therefore decided to give a further extension of the date for verification of Voters.

The deadline for verification of Voters is now extended to 6.00PM on Sunday 26th July 2020. Eligible Voters are advised to take advantage of this further extension to get verified. Previously verified voters are required to log in to their portals and update their information, especially their contact details to ensure they have smooth access to the portal and are able to receive important information pertaining to the Voting exercise.

The NBA Help desks are still available to provide support for the verification exercise for those who require same.

Thank you all for your continued cooperation.

Dated this 20th day of July 2020.

Cordelia U. Eke (Mrs.)
Secretary, ECNBA

 

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AKPATA CARPETS ECNBA, SAYS ELECTIONS WON’T BE FREE, FAIR

BY EMEKA NWADIOKE

* SAYS NBA PORTAL IS ‘EXTREMELY POROUS,’ BEING MANIPULATED

* ‘YOUR OPACITY IS A SOURCE OF CONCERN’

* WARNS THAT MANY ELIGIBLE VOTERS MAY BE SHUT OUT

A leading presidential candidate in the forthcoming Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) Elections, Mr. Olumide Akpata has raised alarm over what he called “looming disenfranchisement of voters and possible manipulation” of the elections, saying the operations of the Electoral Committee of the NBA (ECNBA) is bedeviled by “general opacity.” In a three-page letter to the electoral committee, the former NBA Section on Business Law (NBA-SBL) Chairman urged the electoral body to urgently address these concerns to reassure stakeholders.

In the three-page letter titled “Urgent need to avert the looming disenfranchisement of voters and possible manipulation of the forthcoming NBA 2020 elections,” Akpata who is a Founding Partner at TEMPLARS, a tier-1 law firm, commended the electoral committee “for its good intent and efforts towards conducting credible 2020 elections into the national offices of the NBA.”

He however said he was constrained “to register respectfully my reservations concerning the persistent issues affecting the voters’ register and verification process.” He identified three major factors that may imperil the elections, including “seriously flawed final voters’ list,” “frustrating and cumbersome verification process,” and “opacity regarding the technology and modalities for the elections.”

In a damning rebuke of the electoral body, Akpata frowned on what he termed the “general opacity regarding the conduct of the forth-coming elections,” adding that while he is keen to see that the elections are free, fair and transparent, “The realities surrounding the electoral process presently, with respect, do not suggest that this would be the case, as I explain below.”

According to him, the final voters register as published by the ECNBA is fraught with “tell-tale duplicity of names,” adding that “whilst the final voters’ list contains both duplicated and apparently non-existent names, I am informed that it omits a significant number of NBA members who paid their BPF and Branch Dues on time.”

On the verification exercise, Akpata stated that it “appears to have the effect of preventing prospective voters from exercising their franchise,” adding that “In many cases, it takes days for verification emails to be sent whilst some members simply do not get verified no matter how many times they try.”

Akpata stated that it is “more distressing” that the NBA portal on which the verification exercise is to be conducted appears not to be secure and can be easily manipulated.” He said that a report from an IT consultancy firm recruited by him to assess the vulnerability of the NBA portal “shows clearly that the portal is extremely porous,” adding that the portal “has serious vulnerabilities which could be exploited by anyone to manipulate the process in favour of or against particular candidates.”

He noted that lack of information on specific modalities for the elections is “quite disturbing,” adding that “the ECNBA needs to address the point publicly now.” Noting that the 2018 election “raised many valid concerns which must be avoided this time around,” Akpata warned that “Anything short of a fully transparent, free, fair, credible and user-friendly electoral process in the forthcoming elections would thoroughly offend the collective sensibilities of the members of the NBA which the ECNBA was constituted to serve.”

He demanded that the electoral body should publish “a complete and accurate list of eligible voters in the forthcoming elections” as well as release the statement of account from Access Bank Plc evidencing NBA members who met the March 31 deadline for payment of Bar Practising Fee.

Akpata also asked the ECNBA to “simplify and secure” the verification process and disclose the technology to be deployed for the elections, the IT vendor and measures put in place to secure the voting portal.

Suggesting that the electoral committee jettison its insistence on  a Nigeria registered IT company as vendor for the elections, Akpata stated that most professional associations including NBA Lagos Branch had deployed “technology service providers that specialize in electronic voting.” He urged the ECNBA to “adopt this standard” to ensure free and credible elections.

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.

 

 

 

ECNBA SET TO ROLL OUT VOTING GUIDELINES, MEET CANDIDATES

BY EMEKA NWADIOKE

• BARS ELECTION DEBATE PLATFORMS
• EXTENDS VERIFICATION DEADLINE
• MAY VARY VOTING FRAMEWORK
• WARNS CANDIDATES AGAINST FLOUTING CAMPAIGN RULES

The Electoral Committee of the Nigerian Bar Association (ECNBA) will soon issue guidelines for voting in the forthcoming NBA National Officers Elections.

In a statement today titled “On the march” and made available to CITY LAWYER, the ECNBA also allayed concerns that it is not carrying along some key stakeholders in the electoral process, saying it would soon meet candidates in the elections.

Apart from extending the deadline for the troubled verification exercise, the electoral committee also warned candidates to “take down all help desks, debate platforms (virtual or physical), and or voting desks set up for the purpose of the elections and which are capable of compromising the integrity of the process,” adding that “The Committee will not hesitate to sanction any candidate who deliberately flouts the provisions of the Constitution and the ECNBA Guidelines for the elections.”

In an indication that it may depart from the previous voting framework adopted in two previous elections, the electoral committee said in the statement signed by the electoral committee Chairman, Mr. Tawo Eja Tawo SAN that the voting guidelines “shall amongst other things provide for a place, time and platform to be utilized for electronic voting for the elections to enable our members to vote without difficulty.”

Paragraph 2.4(c) of the Second Schedule to the NBA Constitution (as amended) provides that “The ECNBA shall issue guidelines for conduct of electronic voting, which shall amongst other things provide for verification of voters, place, time and platform to be utilised for electronic voting for each particular election year taking into consideration the state of available technology and Information Technology infrastructure of the branches in order to afford all registered voters the opportunity to vote.”

The committee also warned candidates against breaching the electoral guidelines, saying: “The candidates, their supporters, as well as NBA Branches, are advised to take down all help desks, debate platforms (virtual or physical), and or voting desks set up for the purpose of the elections and which are capable of compromising the integrity of the process. The Committee will not hesitate to sanction any candidate who deliberately flouts the provisions of the Constitution and the ECNBA Guidelines for the elections.”

Below if the full text of the statement.

ON THE MARCH

1.0 Preamble

As we gradually approach the NBA National Officers elections slated for July 29, 2020, we deem it imperative that we keep our esteemed members informed and clarified on salient issues that may impact on the electoral process.

2.0 Qualification of Aspirants & Publication of Lists of Voters

Following the call for nominations and expression of interests, the ECNBA determined the qualifications of the Candidates and circulated a full list of properly nominated candidates for the 2020 National Officers elections after exhausting all constitutional processes.

3.0 Verification.

The ongoing verification exercise is a very important stage in the election process primarily to ensure smooth access to one’s portal on the NBA website and verify or update one’s details and password (where necessary) before the 2020 elections. While verification has been an ongoing exercise for all members of the Association, it is more critical for eligible voters to ensure a hitch-free log-in for the elections. All voters who have successfully completed the process will be notified of same before the elections. Furthermore, the exercise shall also take care of the observations made on the published eligible voter’s list. We commend all who have duly verified in readiness for the elections and those yet to do so are advised to proceed without delay. Members are also advised to utilize the NBA help desks for the purpose of verification support and refrain from disclosing their log in details and passwords to others in order to avoid the danger of proxy voting.

In response to the commendable upsurge in verification of members, the ECNBA has decided to extend the deadline for verification of Voters to Monday 20th July 2020. The number of verification support lines will also be increased.

4.0 Going Forward.

The Committee frowns at activities that detract from the objectives of an inclusive free, fair, and credible poll for our Association. The Constitution has prescribed the manner of and mode for campaigns for the elections; as such, any electioneering campaign activity outside of this is unacceptable to the Committee. The candidates, their supporters, as well as NBA Branches, are advised to take down all help desks, debate platforms (virtual or physical), and or voting desks set up for the purpose of the elections and which are capable of compromising the integrity of the process. The Committee will not hesitate to sanction any candidate who deliberately flouts the provisions of the Constitution and the ECNBA Guidelines for the elections.

In the coming days, the Committee will put forward the Guidelines for electronic voting which shall amongst other things provide for a place, time and platform to be utilized for electronic voting for the elections to enable our members to vote without difficulty. Further education in the process will also be made available to Voters.

The ECNBA in the coming days will also interact with stakeholders within the limits of the Presidential Task Force Covid-19 Protocols and with due regard for the safety of our members and the need to obey the laws of the land. Participants to the interactive sessions will be communicated in due course.

5.0 Conclusion

The Committee remains committed to inclusive free fair and credible elections and solicits the cooperation of our highly respected members in our march to 29th July, 2020.

Dated this 14th day of July 2020.
Tawo E. Tawo, SAN
Chairman, ECNBA

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.

‘POSTPONE NBA ELECTIONS NOW,’ BAR LEADERS, SBL, EX-YLF CHAIR TELL ECNBA

  • SAY NBA ICT TEAM IS MANIPULATING VERIFICATION PROCESS

  • ASK ELECTORAL C’TE TO WAIVE VERIFICATION, BRANCH DUES

  • WORRY ABOUT NON-DISCLOSURE OF VOTING FRAMEWORK

BY EMEKA NWADIOKE

A major twist has emerged in the run-up to the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) National Officers Elections as some Bar leaders and the NBA Section on Business Law have asked the Electoral Committee of the NBA (ECNBA) to postpone the elections in order to secure its credibility.

In a letter to the ECNBA Chairman, Mr. Tawo Tawo SAN dated 6th July, 2020 and obtained by CITY LAWYER, the Bar Leaders listed several challenges besetting preparations for the elections, warning that unless these issues are tackled, the NBA may witness another controversial election as was the case in 2016 and 2018.
Titled “Urgent concerns regarding the upcoming 2020 NBA Elections,” the letter was personally signed by frontline Bar Leader, Mr. Ade Okeaya-Inneh, SAN; Mr. Ayuli Jemide, Vice-Chairman, NBA Section on Business Law; Professor Chidi Anselm Odinkalu, Co-Convener, Open Bar Initiative, and Ms. Barbara Omosun, Chairman, NBA Young Lawyers Forum (2014-2016).

Noting that the ECNBA has “a sacred duty which may have been marred by faulty starts,” the Bar leaders said: “We think with all sense of responsibility and to the extent that the NBA constitution allows, the ECNBA may consider requesting the NBA for a short postponement of elections to enable it to discharge its duties creditably.”

They urged the electoral committee to “take these issues raised very seriously to avoid a dent on the image of the ECNBA, the NBA, and all Nigerian lawyers,” adding: “We are rested in the fact that you understand that if the NBA which is a known bastion of governance fails to conduct credible elections, it will be a travesty of untold proportions unfolding under your watch.”

ECNBA_LETTER

The petitioners hinged their quest for a postponement on several factors, listing the issues under headings such as ‘Missing Names on Voters List,’ ‘Voters List Verification,’ ‘Voter Eligibility,’ ‘Verification and Transparent Process for Voting.’

Noting that “It is with all sense of responsibility as lawyers and members of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) that we have decided to formally record our concerns about the upcoming NBA elections,” the Bar Leaders chronicled the background to their request for a postponement, adding that “The NBA elections in 2018 was fraught with electoral glitches that raised questions for many members of the profession and interested Nigerians as to its credibility, rightly or wrongly.”

Stating that the ECNBA “must consider it a sacred duty to ensure that the 2020 elections redeem the dent on the NBA’s image arising from the questions raised about the conduct of the 2018 elections,” the Bar Leaders said that the call is for the ECNBA to “ensure that the playing field is level and the NBA can on the back of the 2020 elections regain its pride of place as a credible voice for governance and rule of law in Nigeria.”

They warned that disenfranchisement of any voter “due to technical glitches or administrative errors on the part of ECNBA cannot be excused. A technical disenfranchisement is still a disenfranchisement,” noting that “Thousands of members have complained that despite having paid their Bar Practising Fees and Branch Dues and armed with receipts, their names are still not on the voters list.”

According to them, the ECNBA “must create a fast track process that addresses these voters as a matter of urgency,” adding that “If these names are on the list of paid members provided by any of the banks, they should be allowed to vote. Some other lawyers have complained that their names had appeared on the list and disappeared at a later date. If these persons have their receipts of payment of Bar Practising Fees, they should not be disenfranchised.”

Turning to the thorny issue of verification, the Bar Leaders observed that “a list of credible voters needs to be obtained with greater simplicity and that every candidate should exercise their rights to review the voters list and its source well ahead of elections. The most credible way to achieve this in our view is to simply procure a bank certified print out of the names of NBA members who have paid their Bar Practising Fees which the candidates may then verify and compare with voters list already circulated by ECNBA.”

In a damning indictment of the verification process, the Bar Leaders said: “The unfortunate news going around on social media about names like ‘Opening Balance’’ being on the Voters List can only be refuted by a transparent process verified by all the candidates as we now suggest.”

On voter eligibility, the petitioners said: “To avoid disenfranchising many eligible voters and to create further simplicity, we suggest to ECNBA that for the 2020 elections the ECBNA should waive the pre-condition that voters must have paid their NBA branch dues. Our reasons are that that it is public knowledge that COVID19 occasioned lifestyle changes in the month of March in many cities (Lagos was most affected) that deterred many NBA members from paying their branch dues before 31st March 2020. Your Committee may wish to note that the first confirmed case of COVID19 in Nigeria was reported on 27th February 2020, and Punch Newspapers of 9th March 2020 reported that Nigeria had its second case of COVID19 and by 24th of March Nigeria had 44 cases, and the lockdown in Lagos and FCT commenced March 29 – which means the 30th and 31st being working days fell into the lock down period. As the ECNBA would know, the payment of branch dues for most branches entails members commuting to branch offices to present tellers to officers and it is characteristic with members to pay within the month of March particularly the last 2 days of the 30th and 31st of March.”

The Bar Leaders noted that the process for online accreditation “is semi manual, cumbersome, and akin to a technical disenfranchisement of thousands of voters. For example, we do not see why a member who has a Supreme Court Number (SCN) should also be required to upload a Call to Bar Certificate.”

Worried that the verification process is allegedly being programmed to rig the polls, the Bar Leaders said: “More so, it takes an average of three days for one to get the email of temporary log-in password instead of an automated process. This has raised suspicions, and rightly so, that persons behind the scenes use these three days to vet and calculatedly refuse certain voters from certain branches accreditation for the benefit of certain candidates.”

They urged the electoral committee to take a “brave decision in the interest of inclusiveness to drop the verification part of the eligibility process. In our view, anybody who has paid his or her Bar Practising Fees is an eligible voter and should not be put through rigours that are reminiscent of the nightmares millions of Nigerians went through to obtain PVC’s during the 2019 general elections. Technology is so advanced that simple algorithms can void a person whose name is not on the bank certified list who happens to gain unlawful access to the voting platform.”

Speaking on what they termed “Transparent Process for Voting,” the Bar Leaders described as “fearsome” the fact that barely three weeks to the elections “the voters and candidates do not know how the election technology works,” saying: “The ECNBA should know that any credible elections include a public briefing of candidates and the electorate on the process for voting. Questions that are being asked by members include: Is there an automatic process for collation of votes? Is that process transparent? What are the transparency features in the server? Which systems are in place to ensure that this server cannot be hacked? Any election that is not transparent is subject to manipulations and consequently subject to slanders which cannot be rebutted. This is the reason why votes are counted in public at polling booths during the Nigerian general elections. All voters are involved in the counting and go home knowing the results.”

The NBA Elections are scheduled to hold on July 29 and 30, 2020 via electronic voting.

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.

 

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

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 ELECTIONS: VERIFICATION ‘HOT LINES’ GO COLD

BY EMEKA NWADIOKE

Doubts were yesterday cast on the functionality of the Help Desk set up by the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) to facilitate the verification exercise for the forthcoming NBA Elections, as the hot lines were unavailable. The elections are scheduled to hold on July 29 and 30, 2020 to elect new national officers for the association.

The NBA had in an online post by its Assistant National Publicity Secretary, Mr. Akorede Habeeb Lawal titled “NBA VERIFICATION SUPPORT” unveiled some telephone numbers to assist lawyers having challenges with the verification exercise.

The statement read: “In order to afford support for our members going through the verification process or having issues with accessing their personal portals on the NBA website, the NBA has introduced the following support lines which shall be available from 8:00 am to 8:00 pm every day of the week.” He also added that “Complaints may also be sent to support@nigerianbar.org.ng.”

However, when CITY LAWYER dialed all the four numbers between 7:33 pm and 7:35 pm yesterday, none of the numbers connected. Instead, each telephone number returned the message that “The MTN number you are trying to call is currently switched off. Please try again later.” The numbers are 08168011579, 08165374194, 08165037594 and 08167181605. It was unclear at press time how this will impact the verification exercise.

It is recalled that the Electoral Committee of the NBA (ECNBA) had in its ECNBA STATEMENT NO 009 at the weekend announced the same numbers as help lines for the verification exercise.

In the statement signed by its Chairman, Mr. Tawo Eja Tawo SAN, the electoral committee stated that “Members who are yet to undertake the verification of their particulars on the NBA website are advised to do so without further delay. Members are required to activate their personal portal on the website upon verification not later than the 15th day of July 2020.

“A support system which will become operational from Monday the 29th day of June 2020 is being set up with the following dedicated lines 08168011579, 08165374194, 08165037594 and 08167181605 email: support@nigerianbar.org.ng.”

In an earlier statement dated June 21, 2020 the electoral committee announced commencement of the verification exercise, a critical part of the electioneering process, saying: “The ECNBA hereby request all eligible voters to immediately verify their details on the NBA Website to be able to vote in the elections.

VERIFICATION PROCESS
To be verified means that all the member’s necessary and relevant data (particularly phone numbers, email address, postal and home address) are with the Nigerian Bar Association. For you to vote, you are required to maintain an active portal on the NBA website:

(a) For members who have not previously been verified:
1. Visit https://nigerianbar.org.ng/membership-portal
2. Click on the Get Verified Option and do the following:

Enter your email address correctly and complete the verification form;
Upload a soft copy of your call to bar certificate;
Patiently wait for a confirmation email from the NBA, which will contain your Supreme Court enrolment number and a temporary password (that you can always change at your convenience).

3. Upon receiving a confirmation email from the NBA indicating that you have been successfully verified, do the following:

Go back to the NBA Membership Portal page;
Copy your enrolment number and password from the confirmation email and enter same on the portal as login details to avoid errors;
Ensure you type both the alphabets and figures of your Supreme Court Number together without space (E.G.: SCN111111).

(b) For members who have previously been verified but unable to login:

1. Visit https://nigerianbar.org.ng/membership-portal

2. Click Forgot Password

3. Enter Your Supreme Court Number and follow the instructions.”

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ELECTIONS: ‘WE WILL BAN ASPIRANTS IF ….,’ SAYS ECNBA

The Electoral Committee of the Nigerian Bar Association (ECNBA) has warned that it will not hesitate to ban aspirants who infringe the electoral guidelines issued for the forthcoming NBA Elections.

In a statement issued yesterday and signed by ECNBA Chairman, Mr. Tawo Eja Tawo SAN, the electoral committee stated that it “is closely monitoring and observing the activities and conduct of the aspirants and their supporters” regarding the constitutional prohibition of certain forms of campaigns, warning them to desist from acts that infringe the guidelines.

In an ominous note, the committee noted that “no aspirant or candidate has been granted final clearance to contest the elections,” adding that “any violation shall attract appropriate sanctions.”

The committee has also shifted the date for opening of the ballot by almost one week from July 24 to July 30 to enable it conclude a clean-up of the troubled voters register.

Following complaints on the hardships being experienced by eligible voters in participating in the verification exercise, the ECNBA has also provided some hotlines to assist voters.

CITY LAWYER had in an inaugural editorial warned that many eligible voters may be disenfranchised due to the complex verification model, urging the electoral committee to closely monitor the process and provide a Help Desk to assist lawyers who are eager to exercise their voting right.

The full text of the ECNBA statement reads:

VOTERS REGISTER, CAMPAIGNS AND ELECTION DATE.

1.0 PREAMBLE.

By the Preliminary Notice of Election dated April 15, 2020 and the Guidelines and Timeliness for the 2020 NBA National Officers Elections issued pursuant to Paragraph 1.5 of the 2nd schedule to the Constitution of the Nigerian Bar association, 2015 (as amended), the ECNBA fixed Friday the 24th day of July 2020 and Saturday the 25th day of July 2020 for the elections.

With that date in view, the Committee worked assiduously by keeping members informed of its activities, began the compilation of the register of voters to be deployed for the elections, invited and rigorously screened nominations for the offices to be contested in the 2020 NBA Election.

1.1 VOTERS REGISTER
There is no gainsaying the fact that correct voters register is very critical to free, fair and credible elections. For this purpose, the ECNBA by its correspondence (ECNBA Statements No.003 & 004) solicited the cooperation of the NBA branches in sending the list of their members and in the prescribed format to enable the Committee compile a comprehensive voters’ register to be used for the elections to ensure that our members are not disenfranchised. Surprisingly, the list of some branches contained names of members without proof of payments or whose names were not on the statement of accounts sent as proof of payments of branch dues. Notwithstanding the efforts of the Committee, some branches were either not forthcoming or their responses were inordinately delayed thus putting their members at risk of not being included in the compilation of the voters register for these important elections. The ECNBA granted extensions of time to ensure compliance by the defaulting branches and to have their members captured in the compilation. Unfortunately this opportunity was not leveraged upon; instead, the Committee has been inundated with several complaints by members that should ordinarily be addressed by the branches. The Committee has had to bend over backward within the confines of the NBA Constitution to attend to as many of the complaints as it possibly can. This, no doubt has affected the initial timeliness set by the Committee for the elections of the National Officers of the Association.

CAMPAIGNS.
The ECNBA is closely monitoring and observing the activities and conduct of the aspirants and their supporters regarding the constitutional prohibition of certain forms of campaigns as contained in the ECNBA Guidelines for the 2020 NBA Elections. We advise the aspirants and their supporters to desist from any form of unwholesome desperation and the seeming penchant to deride or disregard the election guidelines as any violation shall attract appropriate sanctions. NOTE no aspirant or candidate has been granted final clearance to contest the elections.

1.3. ELECTION DATE.
In exercise of the powers conferred on the ECNBA by Paragraphs 1.1(b) and 1.3(a), of the 2nd schedule to the Constitution of the Nigerian Bar Association, 2015 (as amended) the Committee has now fixed another date for the elections of national officers of the Association. Elections shall commence at 00:00 hours of Wednesday the 29th day of July 2020 and end at 11:59 hours of Thursday the 30th day of July 2020.

Members who are yet to undertake the verification of their particulars on the NBA website are advised to do so without further delay. Members are required to activate their personal portal on the website upon verification not later than the 15th day of July 2020.

A support system which will become operational from Monday the 29th day of June 2020 is being set up with the following dedicated lines 08168011579, 08165374194, 08165037594 and 08167181605 email: support@nigerianbar.org.ng

1.4 CONCLUSION.
The ECNBA is committed to all-inclusive, free, fair, and credible elections. The adjustment in the date for the elections by this notice is to enable our members participate in the choice of the leadership of their association. The Committee expresses profound appreciation to all who have assisted in the discharge of its mandate in one way or the other and solicits the cooperation of all our esteemed members for the success of this democratic process.

Dated this 27th day of June 2020.
Tawo E. Tawo
Chairman, ECNBA

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‘WE’VE NOT SET VOTER VERIFICATION DEADLINE,’ SAYS TAWO TAWO

• …. MIXED REACTIONS GREET EXERCISE
• “MY EXPERIENCE HAS BEEN TERRIBLE,” SAYS FUNKE ADEKOYA
• … WARNS THAT MANY ELIGIBLE VOTERS WILL BE DISENFRANCHISED

The Electoral Committee of the Nigerian Bar Association (ECNBA) has declared that it has not set any deadline for the ongoing verification exercise, contrary to speculations that verification was billed to end yesterday.

ECNBA Chairman, Mr. Tawo Eja Tawo SAN told CITY LAWYER that the committee has not decided on when to draw the curtains on the exercise.

Speaking on whether a deadline has been set to conclude the verification process, he said pointedly: “There is none yet.” The electoral umpire was also at a loss as to the source of the speculation, saying: “I wonder the origin of the confusion.”

The frenzy may not be unconnected with certain posts on social media platforms suggesting that yesterday was the deadline for the verification exercise.

A post trended on several social media platforms yesterday urging lawyers to make haste to verify their personal details on the NBA website. It stated that only 48 hours was allowed for the exercise, adding that it would end by 6 pm. The post read: “Today is the deadline for all eligible lawyers to verify their details on the NBA Website. Visit https://nigerianbar.org.ng/membership-portal. #Securethefuture.”

Another version of the post which was sent to lawyers via short messaging service (SMS) read: “Dear (name of receiver), The ECNBA has released the 2nd List of Voters. Kindly verify that your details are correct. If they are not, send the correct details with proof of payment to ecnba2020@nigerianbar.ng not later than 6pm on 23/06/20. You can verify via https://nigerianbar.org.ng/membership-portal.” The message came under the “BULK SMS” banner.

The information caused anxiety among lawyers, leading to many making frantic efforts to verify their details.

CITY LAWYER investigations show that the speculation may also not be unconnected with the ECNBA press statement unveiling its second provisional voters list where it stated that “Those whose names are omitted are expected to send their details with proof of payment of Branch Dues within 48 hours of this publication to the account ecnba2020@nigerianbar.ng. Please note that any mails or messages sent after 6PM on Tuesday 23rd June 2020 will not be attended to.”

Given that the verification process was heralded by the press statement, many stakeholders may have assumed that the deadline was for both the compilation and verification exercises.

Meanwhile, there has been mixed reactions regarding the verification exercise. While some lawyers said that the process was stress-free, others seem to have had a herculean task navigating the verification process on the NBA website.

One of those who had a tough time engaging the process is former NBA presidential candidate, Mrs. Funke Adekoya SAN. She told CITY LAWYER that her experience was “terrible.” Her words: “My experience has been terrible. I was verified before but forgot password; so I sent ‘forgot password’ message. I have been waiting for password reset email since yesterday (Monday). I received email this (Tuesday) morning and accessed link – it says password cannot be reset. I sent email to NBA Secretariat 4 hours ago – still no response!”

In an early morning SOS to CITY LAWYER, Mr. Augustine Ogbodo said: “I don’t know if you have any clue on verification of membership on the NBA portal. I have been trying to log in to the portal to verify my membership but have not been successful. I tried reaching NBA via telephone but wasn’t successful.”

Immediately CITY LAWYER escalated the SOS on some social media platforms, there was a flurry of responses both from the ECNBA and the NBA leadership. While the NBA publicity team uploaded several versions of the verification process on sundry social media platforms, the ECNBA Secretary, Mrs. Cordelia Eke advised eligible voters who have challenges with the verification process to “contact the NBA IT staff in charge.”

She added: “A lot of phone calls (are) coming (in). They may not be able to take all. We advise people to send emails. It’s easier to track and treat complaints that way.” She assured that she “will ask the IT staff to look into this (complaint).” She later stated that “Members’ complaints about the website have been forwarded to NBA IT to handle.”

When CITY LAWYER asked Ogbodo to provide more details on his challenges with the verification process, he said: “I was prompted to supply new password and to confirm same. I did so but was again prompted to insert the correct format.” He then requested the “contact or email of the IT staff?” adding: “Thanks so much for your efforts. I have sent them an email. Waiting for their response. I sent the email to support@nigerianbar.org.ng as indicated.”

Unlike NBA Lagos Branch Welfare Secretary, Anthonia Eke who stated that “I had a seamless process updating my data on the verification portal of the NBA,” both Adekoya and Ogbodo eventually surmounted the verification hurdles.

Said Adekoya: “(I) Have finally been verified! A 24 hour process. With WFH (working from home), even if you have been verified (as I have) if you do not have an ‘active’ profile on the NBA website, you are unlikely to be able to vote. An ‘active’ profile means you interact with the NBA through your portal on the NBA website. (It is) Not the same as being verified.”

On his part, Ogbodo told CITY LAWYER that “This is what I have been missing. I have been trying to put the password without inserting figures and special number. (I) Have just done the needful and Password successfully reset. Thanks for your assistance.”

Worried that many lawyers may be disenfranchised by the verification model adopted by the ECNBA, Adekoya predicted a very low voter turnout in the 2020 NBA Elections. her words: “(I) Will be surprised if up to 3000 voters receive voting link from NBA website.”

CITY LAWYER also observed that the ECNBA press statement was silent on the details of any Help Desk or help lines for eligible voters who may have challenges with the verification process.

It is recalled that while 32, 228 eligible voters were on the provisional voters register for the 2018 NBA Elections, only 16,825 or 52.21 per cent of the eligible voters were able to scale the verification hurdle. Analysts have observed that the 2018 verification process is more straightforward than the current exercise, leading to fears that even fewer eligible voters may get their names on the final voters register.

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 ELECTIONS: LAGOS, ABUJA, IKEJA, PH ARE BATTLE-GROUND BRANCHES

• 34, 418 ELIGIBLE VOTERS MAKE SECOND LIST
• ECNBA OKAYS VOTER VERIFICATION EXERCISE

Some Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) branches have maintained their rating as battle-ground branches in NBA National Elections, given the latest voter registration list published by the Electoral Committee of the NBA (ECNBA) in the run-up to the 2020 polls.

Following release of the second provisional voters’ list for the elections by the electoral umpire, Lagos Branch maintains its pole-vault position as by far the branch with the largest number of voters in NBA circles. It has 6,722 members on the voters’ register. Continue Reading