VERIFICATION: Odinkalu, Adegboruwa, Ubani, Candidates Shut Out

• Hiccups Mar Exercise
• Lawyers Seek Extension
• Fake Website Casts Pall on Process

The long-awaited verification exercise for the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) National Officers Election got off to a faulty start last night with many lawyers yet to be verified as at press time. Investigations by CITY LAWYER indicated that many lawyers are having sundry challenges in an attempt to verify their details.

Leading human rights activists, Prof. Chidi Odinkalu and Mr. Ebun Adegboruwa told CITY LAWYER that they have been unable to verify at press time. Both NBA Second Vice President, Mr. Monday Ubani and Third Vice President, Mr. Ben Oji have also been unable to verify.

Most of the candidates who spoke to CITY LAWYER said they are yet to be verified. These include Messrs Jonathan Taidi and Kunle Edun as well as Banke Olagbegi-Oloba and Marian Jones. However, former NBA Chief Prosecutor, Mr. Jibrin Okutepa SAN and NBA Assistant Publicity Secretary candidate, Mr. Habeeb Lawal were among the lucky few that have succeeded in verifying.

Meanwhile, CITY LAWYER last night stumbled on a fake verification website, even as ICT experts are reviewing the portal for its potential effects on the election.

Many lawyers as well as candidates are calling for an extension of the exercise due to the hiccups being experienced by many eligible voters.

Below are some of the comments of lawyers who spoke with CITY LAWYER:

Monday Ubani, NBA 2nd Vice President
I have not been verified since last night and all my efforts till this morning have proved abortive. It has been a harrowing experience for me because I desire to elect a new crop of leaders that will succeed us. Let there be extension of time to get these things sorted out and quickly too. The constituency is already restless and unprintable things are being said about the electoral process.

John Odubela, SAN:
Very terrible. I have made over 20 attempts all failed. I think the process is unfair to the members.

Jonathan Taidi:
I have not been able to verify!!!!

Ben Oji, NBA 3rd Vice President
My experience is not different from the generality of members. I have been unable to verify. The system says there is no record matching my enrollment number! It is frustrating. It is necessary to make allowance for as many eligible voters as are prepared to do their verification to do so and not be handicapped by technical challenges with the platform. If it necessitates a further shift in the dates for actual voting, then it should be considered by the ECNBA.

Kunle Edun:
I can confirm that I am still unable to verify. I tried it since 11 PM yesternight and gave up at about 1am today. I will still continue trying. I hope that ECNBA will improve on the VERIFICATION PROCESS and make it easier so that members are not disenfranchised. The challenges encountered by lawyers during the verification process is overwhelming. This is not good enough for the bar. Many lawyers may be disenfranchised if the ECNBA does not quickly intervene. There is need for the verification period to be extended to allow many lawyers to verify. I hope that the process will end well and therefore urge colleagues to exercise patience.

Banke Olagbegi-Oloba:
I’ve not been able to verify myself. Same with my people in my branch. I’m hopeful and positive that all will be well by God’s grace. I learnt it’s being worked on.

Marian Jones:
I have not verified because the code they claim to have sent did not come in to my mail or phone number

Frank Agbedo:
Thanks CITY LAWYER for your good investigative reports. Still trying to verify. Experiencing hiccups with the first step- imputing my SCN. Hope it is cleared soon.

Sammy Etuk:
It’s another sham, I struggled with it last till after 11pm, but it didn’t work. Today I have been on it since 6am and have not been able to verify. I tried using a desktop, still no dice, it’s frustrating and a calculated attempt to disenfranchise us.

J. S. Okutepa SAN
I have been verified. But there are many challenges being faced by lawyers in this verification exercise. The service providers need to up their game to ensure that those who paid their Bar Practising Fees and have had their names sent from their branches to the NBA secretariat be afforded the opportunity to elect their leaders. The leadership of the Bar and ECNBA must do everything possible and within the ambit of NBA constitution to ensure that the election is done transparently and in accordance with due process of law. The way we are going unless time is extended for lawyers to verify we may have many lawyers denied the opportunity to vote. While I commend ECNBA and the leadership of the Bar for given attention and listening ears to the issues of bias raised against the earlier exercise, we must not rush the exercise. But by and large there are myriad of challenges that must be addressed to give our colleagues opportunity to vote.

Habeeb Lawal
I verified this morning. With no hitch.

Fenandez Marcus Obiene:
Mine was easy. But I’ve been getting calls from everyone else that there are serious issues. I’ve tried to help some people but it appears that in trying to solve the problem by Chams, a different problem has been created…

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