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.

Coming a distant second is Abuja Branch with 2,862. While Ikeja Branch has the third largest number of potential voters with 2,751 members, Port Harcourt Branch places fourth on the voters’ table ranking with 1,847 members.

CITY LAWYER investigations show that other branches with a sizeable number of potential voters are Benin with 1,073 voters, Ibadan Branch with 1,058 voters, Ilorin Branch (720), Jos Branch (697), Uyo Branch (658) and Owerri Branch with 469 voters.

Instructively, aside from Ikole Ekiti which surprisingly upstaged Ikeja Branch to snap the third position during the 2018 NBA Elections, the four branches were equally dominant during the 2018 polls. While the 32,228 eligible voters in the 2018 polls compared favourably with the 34,418 voters in the second provisional list released recently by the ECNBA last Sunday, only 16,825 out of 32,228 eligible voters took part in the 2018 verification exercise, representing 52.21 per cent of the eligible voters.

Post-verification, Lagos Branch again led the pack of voters in the last elections with 2,476 members on the final voters’ register while Port Harcourt followed with 1,184 voters. Abuja followed closely with 1,158 voters while Ikole-Ekiti sensationally posted 917 voters. Ikeja Branch had 850 voters while Benin Branch recorded 548 voters.
In the 400-plus bracket were Ibadan (427) and Ilorin branches (403), while six branches had 300 or more eligible voters on the final verified list. These include Jos (352), Asaba (330), Uyo (324), Kaduna (314) and Makurdi (300). The 200-plus category comprised Calabar (263), Owerri (256), Maiduguri (222), Warri (218), Awka (216), Enugu (215) and Lokoja (202) branches.

Unlike the 2018 Elections when they had no members on the final verified list of voters, Ikot Ekpene and Ilaro have redeemed themselves this year with their members on the register.

Meanwhile, the ECNBA has sworn not to reopen the voters’ compilation process, stating that “only names of their members verified using the stamp and seal lists will be utilized for the elections.” As a result, the following branches have only members who have applied for stamps on the current list as published by the ECNBA, namely Ungogo, Mubi, Jalingo, Mbano-Etiti, Ugwuashi-Ukwu (sic), Owerri, Bukuru, Afikpo, Epe and Ikirun branches. According to the electoral umpire, the branch leaderships “either did not submit their lists in the prescribed form or failed to send evidence of payment as directed.” Although Iwo Branch was listed among these branches, it has no eligible voter on the current list, while Ogwashi-Uku has only one eligible voter.

As the cat and mouse game between the electoral committee and some branches refuses to abate, the electoral umpire has stated that “some branches submitted lists containing names of some of their members without proof of payments of their branch dues,” adding that “the affected names were accordingly extracted and omitted from the second provisional lists appearing hereunder.”

Apparently constrained by time, the Mr. Tawo Tawo SAN-led electoral committee has also modified its communication model, asking potential voters to now deal directly with it by sending complaints to its verified email address. Its June 21, 2020 press statement titled “NBA National Elections 2020 – Publication of second interim/provisional voters register” and signed by the ECNBA Chairman read: “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.”

Warning that some names may have crept into the voters register erroneously, the electoral umpire said: “NOTE that this provisional list is still undergoing screening and scrutiny therefore any name wrongly listed will be delisted in the final voters register.”

The all-important verification exercise has also commenced, with the ECNBA urging all eligible voters “to immediately verify their details on the NBA Website to be able to vote in the elections.”

Outlining the verification process, the electoral umpire said: “To be verified means that the entire 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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