VERIFICATION: We are Ready –Yadudu

There are strong indications that the Electoral Committee of the Nigerian Bar Association (ECNBA) will restart the suspended verification process at 12 noon today.

ECNBA Chairman, Prof. Auwalu Yadudu told CITY LAWYER today that the committee ‘plans’ to commence the verification process as scheduled.

According to the professor of law, “We have worked on the new portal to reopen for all those who could not verify to access it and complete a form to supply the details needed.”

On the readiness of the ICT Partner to reopen the portal as 12 noon as earlier announced by the electoral committee, Yadudu said: “We plan to open this (portal) by 12.00 noon today.”

Asked to comment on a trending notice purportedly emanating from ECNBA urging eligible voters to key into the verification exercise, the electoral committee chairman said that the notice “must have been notification sent by the service providers to all those voters who successfully verified and are not required to do so again.”

When CITY LAWYER however pointed out that the notice was purportedly signed by ECNBA, Yadudu said: “Yes, we are responsible for the content and authority to release information.”

The trending notice stated as follows: “VERIFICATION begins Today 8/8/18: Hello, please be informed that your status of VERIFIED from the previous application on still stands. You do not need to use the new verification app. Thank you, ECNBA.”

When CITY LAWYER visited the verification site today, it was realized that it had been shut down in compliance with the latest ECNBA directive for the ICT Partner to remodel the portal to enable eligible voters input their details. A notice on the portal read: “2018 Election Verification Exercise: Please be informed that the Verification Exercise has not ended, we have just closed the portal temporarily to implement an easier approach of verification for our members. The portal will open by 12 noon on Wednesday, August 8, 2018.”

The new model where eligible voters are allowed to input their critical details is a departure from the earlier system where voters are not permitted to input key details such as telephone number and email addresses.

It remains to be seen how this will impact the integrity of the verification exercise, moreso as many campaign directorates have been harvesting the data of eligible voters through help desks and online forms.

The troubled verification process has been modified on several occasions. The earlier exercise conducted by CHAMS Plc was cancelled based on accusations that it was fraught with irregularities. CRENET Techlabs Limited was then recruited to handle the verification exercise, leading to several adjustments in the timeline. CRENET had in a statement stated that it was hampered by time in instituting a hitch-free process.

CITY LAWYER recalls that though the exercise was originally slated to commence on July 26, 2018 it was initially shifted to July 27 and ultimately commenced at 8 pm on July 31, 2018. It is recalled that while the ECNBA had stated that “Verification will end at 10.00am on Thursday 2nd August, 2018,” the timeline could not be sustained due to hiccups. The electoral committee then shifted the deadline to August 5 at 10 o’clock.

Due to protests from several branches and eligible voters, a new timetable was again rolled out, with the verification exercise slated to restart today at noon and end on August 11 at noon. Voting will hold on August 19 and 20, 2018.

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