By Dapo Akinrefon
Dele Adesina, a candidate in the ongoing election of the Nigerian Bar Association, NBA, has petitioned the electoral committee of the association, alleging gross manipulation in the polls, just as Olumide Akpata is leading with over 50 percent of the total votes cast.
Other contenders for the office of NBA President are Deacon Dele Adesina(SAN) and Dr. Babatunde Ajibade(SAN).
The NBA election, which commenced at 11pm, on Wednesday, is scheduled to end at 11 pm on Thursday.
In the petition addressed to Taiwo Taiwo, chairman, electoral committee of the NBA, Adesina claimed the ongoing poll is being marred by over-voting, disenfranchisement of some eligible voters and non-compliance with the provisions of the NBA constitution.
He said the verified voters’ list was only published about five hours to the commencement of voting contrary to the provision of the NBA constitution (2015) as amended, which provided that the list be released not later than 28 days before the election.
He also said the list contained 86 “names of lawyers under the subheading international diaspora” which is also a clear violation of association’s constitution.
Adesina said over 4000 names of lawyers on the list were not ascribed to any branch of the NBA while many others found their names in branches they do not belong.
“Inflation of the list of some branches, for instance, Obollo-Afor branch on the final list for verification had only 39 names on the list from serial number 30424 to 30462. Strangely, this increased to 662 on the verified list,” he said.
“Very many members, particularly from the branches in the west, like Ibadan and Ado-Ekiti, did not receive the link to vote and some of those who received the link could not vote.
“The same protest came from several branches in the North, like Gombe, Katsina, Birnin-Kebbi, Yobe, and Kaduna. The same complaint was lodged vehemently by members of NBA Enugu Branch.
“Several cases of reported disenfranchisement by members whose names were not on the list. A senior advocate of Nigeria (SAN) who contacted the helpline line to lodge his complaint was told that it is because he did not have his SAN’s number. Query! Is SAN’s number a requirement?”
Adesina said as of 2pm on Thursday, “the addition of votes recorded plus notices yet undelivered amounted to 29,820 which is 185 votes over and above the total number (29,635)of voters on the register.”
He also questioned the security of the electronic system used for the election, saying it “was said to have been registered the very day the election was to start and MoU was signed on that same day.”
“This was done all alone by the president of the NBA. There was no opportunity to interrogate the System before the commencement of the election in order to determine its vulnerability, security and capacity,” he said.
“I call on you Mr. chairman and members of the electoral committee of the Nigerian Bar Association to cancel this sham election. It is needless to say that if the process is bad, the product cannot be good.”
As at the time of filing this report, Olumide Akpata was leading with 9,384 votes in the presidential election, followed by Babatunde Ajibade with 4105 votes and Adesina, 3815 votes.