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
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.
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.
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
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