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.
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.
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: firstname.lastname@example.org
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
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