Nigerian lawyers are alleging fraud in their ongoing National Officers Elections under the auspices of their Nigeria Bar Association (NBA).
As at 6.30pm on Thursday evening, and less than five hours to the end of voting, many lawyers were stranded and frustrated as they could not access the voting website, which was only made available few hours before voting, a reminisce of how the 2018 NBA elections was rigged.
Also, a visit to the voting portal shows that 15,106 voters have not been able to vote out of the 29,636 registered voters. Those who have voted are 16,619. A simple calculation of the voters; those who have voted plus those that have not gives 31,725. It is 2,089 above the stated number of registered voters on the website.
As at press time, Olumide Akpata is leading in the presidential elections with 8,697 votes. He is trailed behind by Dr Babatunde Ajibade SAN with 3,923 votes. The third candidate, Oladele Adesina SAN, has 3,687 votes.
The curious side however, is that Akpata has maintained a 54 per cent lead consistently since voting started at 11.00pm, Wednesday evening, while the other two candidates have maintained almost the same margin. Lawyers familiar with how algorithms work insist that the pattern is to say the least, curious.
Meanwhile, one of the contestants, Adesina has kicked against the election, alleging several infractions. A statement signed by the National Coordinator of Adesina Support Group, Adesina Adegbite reads:
“STATEMENT BY DELE ADESINA SAN SUPPORT GROUP ON THE CONDUCT OF THE NIGERIAN BAR ASSOCIATION ELECTION, 2020
On behalf of the Dele Adesina Support Group, we write to express our displeasure over the process and conduct of the NBA Election 2020.
The ongoing Election which generated a lot of interest, within and without Nigeria has brought another bad testament to the legal profession in our dear country. In the build up to the election, the Electoral Committee of the Nigerian Bar Association (ECNBA) and the leadership of the bar had promised a free, fair, and credible election that will change the narrative of our recent electoral experience.
Our campaign organization in keeping with the hallowed tradition of the Bar which encourages obeisance to rules and regulations decided to play by the rules and formally complained to the ECNBA when infractions to the Constitution of the NBA were noticed.
Our ICT Consultants have further informed us that though the voting site ostensibly appears credible on the surface, it is apparent that the data uploaded to the site was programmed and preconfigured to achieve a desired result in an obvious case of data diddling.
Consequently, we have every cause to query the data uploaded on the voting platform as same appear to have imprint of a manipulated poll.
Several members of some branches where our candidate enjoys huge support including the Ikeja Branch, Ibadan Branch, Enugu Branch and Ilorin Branch did not receive voting links for election.
It is on record that none of the aspirants was given an opportunity to interrogate the voting portal prior to the election. Surprisingly, the final voters list which was released about 5 hours to the commencement of the poll contrary to the provision of the NBA Constitution (2015) as amended, which provides that same shall be released not later than 28days before the election, contained the names of at least 86 persons alleged to be members of International Diaspora.
We wonder when the NBA established an International Diaspora Branch! There were also over 4000 names without Branch. Several Branches had names of their members uncaptured while several strange names were wrongly added to the lists of some other Branches.
Highlights of some of the noticeable infractions on the final voters list are:
- Failure to release the final voters list within constitutionally prescribed period.
- Over 4000 names were without Branches as required by the NBA constitution.
- 86 lawyers were described as belonging to International Diaspora contrary to the provision of the NBA Constitution.
- Padding of Voters’ list of some Branches, and reduction in the number of published voters’ list of others. An example is Obollo-Afor Branch which has over 661 names on the voters list when the actual voters list is less than 60.
- Several branches had names of hitherto eligible voters removed from the final list.
- Several members had their names listed in Branches other than theirs.
- Many members have reported that they received notification of confirmation of voting when they neither received voting links nor voted.
From the foregoing, there is no doubt that the ongoing NBA Election lacks all features of credibility and transparency. We are therefore by this notice, demanding immediate suspension of the ongoing election process to a later date when a clean list must have been prepared and published. The ongoing process is discredited and does not represent the dignity of our most honourable profession”.
The allegations of Adesina’s Support Group follow the same pattern in which the NBA 2018 elections was rigged.
Gavel International reported last week that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had filed charges against two persons for rigging that 2018 elections.
Commenting on the current crisis, former NBA presidential candidate, Prof. Ernest Ojukwu said: “Nigerian Bar Association 2020 – The Electoral Committee’s final list of accredited voters is a fraud! Names have been included in Branches where such names don’t exist as members. We are ready to vote on a platform of fraud again!!!”