BREAKING: ‘CRENET is Not Ready for Verification ’

• Stakeholders to Meet Today
• Exercise May Commence Soonest
• ‘Clean up’ of Voters’ List Causes Delay

A key member of the team midwifing the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) electoral process has told CITY LAWYER that the verification exercise failed to commence yesterday because CRENET TechLabs Limited, the ICT Partner, was not ready for the exercise. The source said that the delay is due to the inability of the ICT Partner to clean up the database of eligible voters.

Meanwhile, a meeting of the Electoral Committee of the Nigerian Bar Association (ECNBA) with the candidates, their representatives and their technical experts is scheduled for today at 10 am.

“They are not ready,” the source told CITY LAWYER last night. “We are on stand-by with our technical team. If they call us by midnight, we shall be there. We have to test run and certify the system before they go live.”

CITY LAWYER can authoritatively report that the test run has not taken place as at the time of going to press this morning. There are strong indications that, barring any major complaints from stakeholders on the credibility of the verification platform, the meeting will give the green light for its unveiling to eligible voters.

There has been palpable concern in the legal industry on the commencement of the verification exercise, moreso as the ECNBA announced yesterday as the new date for the kick-off. The exercise is scheduled to end tomorrow, paving way for the accreditation exercise and eventual voting.

CITY LAWYER also gathered that unlike the previous exercises, eligible voters will have limited access to the verification portal, as their role will be limited to merely identifying whether their names are on the displayed list. They are also expected to identify any errors in their profiles and escalate same to the help desk that may be provided. Eligible voters may not be allowed to input any data on the platform. This is part of the safeguards devised to protect the integrity of the platform.

According to our source, although the NBA Secretariat may work with the ICT Partner in redressing any complaints arising from the uploaded database, all complaints will be logged to aid auditing.

CITY LAWYER investigation showed that CRENET TechLabs may have experienced serious challenges in cleaning up the raw data supplied by the branches. “There were several duplications on the branch lists,” our source said. “It was an adulterated list. Some names had no emails. We also saw a situation where some branch chairmen simply used their own email address for the other members. Also, you have one telephone number appearing about 40 times, just to fill space.”

It has emerged that the ICT Partner was issued with both the Supreme Court Roll and the Stamp database to extract the details of eligible voters “without duplication.” This has caused delays.

There are strong indications that the clean-up of the database has been completed, as the CRENET team may have left Lagos enroute Abuja for today’s meeting.

The ECNBA had in its latest notice lamented that the delay was caused by the “clean-up” of the database by the ICT Partner, adding: “Consequently, we have rescheduled the commencement of the verification to take place on Friday 27th, Saturday 28th and Sunday 29th July, 2018.”

Given that the verification exercise has not commenced as scheduled, it remains to be seen whether another extension will be made, even as there are strong fears that the entire exercise is seriously threatened by lack of time.

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