A group of Yoruba lawyers, Egbe Amofin, has called for the cancellation of the just concluded Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) election.
This was contained in a statement by its Chairman and Secretary, Chief Adeniyi Akintola (SAN) and Oluwole Akintayo.
The group said the election, which produced Olumide Akpata as president, was riddled with electronic fraud while the electoral server was loaded with predetermined data.
Alleging threat to the integrity of the profession, Egbe Amofin called on the Body of Benchers to cancel the election and constitute a caretaker committee to conduct fresh elections within six months.
The statement reads, “The 2020 election of national officers was conducted in breach and flagrant violation of the mandatory provisions of the NBA constitution and its electoral guidelines in several material particulars, including, but not limited to the following: creation of a Diaspora branch of the NBA for voting – a phenomenon that is strange and unknown to the NBA constitution.
“Over 4000 ‘voters’ appeared on the emergency voters’ list used for the election and these ghost voters have no identifiable branches or are not linked or traceable to any branch. From time immemorial, every member of the NBA is attached or linked or registered with a particular branch and this is very sacrosanct. It is also mandatory that any member of the NBA must not only pay the annual practising fee to the national association through the Supreme Court of Nigeria, but also pay the local branch dues and other charges; otherwise such member can neither enjoy any facility or privilege in the Association nor apply for or occupy statutory position, including applying for the rank of Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) or seeking to go the Bench. Again, this appears to be the first time the NBA is witnessing this / these miracle/ miracles.
“Failure to make available the final voters’ list 28 days before the election as mandatorily prescribed by the constitution; Whereas, the NBA constitution mandates the ECNBA to engage the service provider for the e-voting, after clearance from NBA NEC, and also, allow both NEC and candidates to interrogate the said service provider, the engagement of the service provider, its name, address, antecedents etc were shrouded in secrecy, and it has now been revealed that it was the NBA President who engaged the service provider and virtually made and dictated every arrangement for the election.
“Large scale disenfranchisement of a significant number of lawyers who underwent the verification process; As at the time election results were purportedly declared, not less than 13,000 verified / accredited voters had not voted; they were precluded access to the link; yet the total number of verified / accredited voters was 29,000. Removal from the final voters’ list of the names of voters without lawful justification which led to their disenfranchisement.
“The unlawful inflation of the number of voters assigned to some Branches. The unlawful return of candidates as winners of the election notwithstanding the fact that the number of verified voters who were unlawfully disenfranchised was significant to affect the final outcome of the election. Despite the random criticism of INEC in the conduct of national elections, the Egbe Amofin believes that the national electoral umpire could and would not have returned any candidate under the circumstances that the NBA foisted on itself in the last election.”