‘WE WILL DISQUALIFY ANY CANDIDATE IF ….,’ SAYS ECNBA CHAIR
‘WE HAVE NO ANOINTED CANDIDATE’
The Chairman of the Electoral Committee of the Nigerian Bar Association (ECNBA), Mr. Ayodele Akintunde SAN has warned that the committee will not hesitate to disqualify any candidate who breaches the guidelines for the forthcoming NBA Elections.
Meanwhile, the ECNBA Chairman has vowed that the committee is not under any pressure to favour any candidate during the election, saying: “We have no anointed candidate and nobody can thrust any candidate on us.”
Speaking at the maiden hybrid “Stakeholders Briefing and Press Conference” for the elections, Akintunde urged the candidates to abide by the electoral rules set out in the NBA Constitution, adding that “If the Constitution prohibits any act, we will apply sanctions.”
Emphasizing that “this is a clarion call” to all candidates especially as the electoral committee had restated the guidelines in letters and notices to the candidates, the ECNBA helmsman said: “Don’t look for loopholes to exploit.”
Akintunde also said that voters may be able to watch the voting process online real-time via the ECNBA dashboard, adding that the electoral umpire would make the dashboard “open to the public” as well as the candidates or their representatives. This would however depend on the guidance to be provided by the ICT service provider.
Responding to a question on the appointment of Finesse Integrated Technologies Limited as the Technical Support Consultant (TSC) to the electoral committee given that the company performed the same function in the controversial 2018 NBA Elections, Akintunde revealed that the technology company played a minimal role in the election, adding that it was brought in after the original ICT company was disengaged by the electoral umpire.
The ECNBA Chairman stated that in line with the NBA Constitution, petitioners do not have a right of audience with the Election Appeals Committee, even as he assured that the committee “attended to each and every petition. We are not court or LPDC or LPPC. But we deliberated as a committee and unanimously agreed on the decisions we took.”
Akintunde assured that there would be verification of the election results before publication, though he said that an audit could only be done in line with the NBA Constitution and after release of election results.
Adding his voice to the issue, ICT expert and ECNBA member, Mr. Basil Udotai noted that authentication of ballots has become a part and parcel of modern electronic voting, adding that post-election reports would be produced by the ICT service provider.
On his part, fiery human rights activist and former Chairman of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), Prof. Chidi Odinkalu chided those who sought to impugn the electoral committee on disqualification of some aspirants. He warned candidates to desist from acts that may breach the electoral guidelines, saying: “If you breach the rules, we will disqualify you. People should seek to do what is proper.”
Other members of the electoral committee who participated in the parley include Ms. Mabel Ekeke and Ms. Aisha Ado Ibrahim, ECNBA Secretary and member respectively. The NBA Election is scheduled to hold on July 16, 2022.
CITY LAWYER also noted that many candidates attended the briefing. These include 2nd Vice President candidate, Mr. Cement Ugo Chukwuemeka, Amanda Asagba (3rd Vice President), Funmilola Adeogun (Treasurer), Caroline Ande-Bishop (Treasurer), Mr. Churchil Aniekwena, Mr. Habeeb Lawal (Publicity Secretary), Mr. Daniel Kip and Mr. Dhikrullah Balogun.
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