ELECTORAL C’TE CITES VOTERS’ REGISTER ISSUES
COMMITTEE HIRES VOTE-NOW, USA VOTING FIRM
The eagerly awaited Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Lagos Branch Election has been postponed due to challenges encountered by the Electoral Committee in producing a valid voters’ register. The influential branch has by far the largest voting bloc in NBA.
Announcing the postponement of the election during the “NBA Lagos Manifesto Day” held last Friday, Chairman of the Electoral Committee, Mr. Wale Akoni SAN said the postponement was to avoid breaching the NBA Uniform Bye Laws which provides that the register must be published 14 days to the election. The election will now hold on June 30, 2021 as against the earlier date of June 28 fixed by the committee.
Akoni bemoaned the state of the branch database, saying that it was “really, really difficult” validating eligible voters for the poll. Noting that “We shouldn’t be here in 2021,” the leading litigator observed that “there is so much technology available” to deal with database challenges, adding that there should be a platform where information on members’ payments and attendance at meetings among others should be readily available.
The Electoral Committee also said that it is “still attending to questions and complaints” from branch members, notwithstanding that it had released the “Final list of eligible voters” containing 885 names, up from 832 provisional voters’ list. Some members have complained that they may be unduly disenfranchised due to the absence of their names on the voters’ register. The final voters’ list has 111 more eligible voters than the 2019 register with 774 voters.
The committee had in a rare email to members stated that “Elections are by electronic voting,” adding that “The link to the secret ballot will be sent electronically to all eligible voters. Eligible voters can vote online from their computers or mobile devices anywhere in the world.” The committee also plans to provide computers in yet-to-be-disclosed designated centres for eligible voters who may wish to cast their ballots there. The candidates’ manifestos have been published on the dysfunctional election website.
Meanwhile, barring any last-minute change of mind, CITY LAWYER can authoritatively reveal that the Electoral Committee has opted for Vote-Now.com LLC as the voting platform for the election. Vote-Now.com was the platform adopted for the 2019 rancour-free poll conducted by the Richard Akintunde-led Electoral Committee. The company prides itself as providing balloting services that “reduce the time, expense, and environmental impact of your election process, while increasing voter turnout and member participation in governance.”
According to the Jacksonville, USA based company, “The VTNW balloting system was specifically designed by University Scientists for use in Professional organization elections. With 23+ years of experience conducting web-based elections, we have assisted hundreds of business and academic professional organizations, HOA’s, non-profit groups, and universities with their balloting needs.” The branch paid about $2300 for the deployment of the platform, Akintunde told CITY LAWYER in an interview to herald the 2019 Elections.
Meanwhile, only two posts will be contested during the elections, as the other positions are unopposed. While Messrs Anthony Atata, Seth Amaefule and Ikechukwu Uwanna will slug it out for the coveted post of Branch Chairman, the race for who becomes the next Branch Secretary is between Miss Nta Ekpiken, Mr. Shola Abiloye and incumbent Publicity Secretary, Mr. James Sonde.
CITY LAWYER recalls that leading corporate lawyer and outgoing Branch Chairman, Mr. Yemi Akangbe had during the 2019 Elections polled 440 (56.8%) of the 774 votes to beat his closest rival, Mr. Adebola Lema who garnered 311 votes or 40.2%.
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