NBA election: Lawyer questions the authenticity of Abuja voters’ list

NBA election: Lawyer questions the authenticity of Abuja voters’ list

Thursday, July 16, 2020 4:20 pm


File: Nigerian lawyers

A lawyer, Joseph Onu Silas and a member of the Nigerian Bar Association, Abuja Branch has written a letter to Chief Tawo Tawo, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria and Chairman, 2020 Electoral Committee of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) about authenticity of the list of qualified voters published by the electoral body, complaining that the figures credited to his Branch were bogus. The letter, dated 7 July, 2020, was published in The Punch 16 July, 2020.

He noted that the Abuja list of qualified voters bounded from 2, 861 in the first publication to 5,799 in the final publication, representing 185% increase in the number of qualified voters. “This, I must say, is unprecedented for my Branch and this has led me to make the following observations:

  • The Abuja Branch has been in crisis for four years unbroken and many members have chosen to pay their Branch Dues with either Bwari or Gwagwalada Branch in the FCT.
  • The faction under Abimbola Kayode can hardly have up to 1,000 members who have paid both BDF and Branch Dues as at when due.
  • I know that the Secretary of that faction wrote a letter to the Army Directorate of Legal Services on the 25th of May 2020, concerning the 2020 election and eventually received cash payments from them and issued receipts which were dated 31st March, 2020 (I have documents to support this).
  • Abuja Branch, even in the crisis, does not accept cash payment for Branch Dues and we do not issue receipts for such payments.
  • Did the ECNBA waive the requirement for the payment of Branch Due for some members of Abuja Branch?
  • What were the supporting evidence given to the ECNBA along with the list submitted from both factions of the Abuja Branch.
  • Did the ECNBA verify the payment of Branch Due from the Bank Accounts Statements of all the accounts, covering January 1st to March 31st 2020, from Abuja Branch to ascertain that the individuals on these list paid their Branch Due as at when due?
  • Did the ECNBA accept payment receipts from a faction in Abuja Branch, instead of Bank Tellers as is our practice?
  • What is the number of those who paid Branch Dues from the official Bar (Ministries, Agencies and Parastatals). These must also reflect in the Bank Statements.”

Oni compained further: “Sir, I am not only in doubt of these astronomical rise in the number of voters from Abuja, I am in shock that it can even be imagined. There in no way the Abuja Branch, combined, will produce such a number of qualified voters if the Branch Due Payment was taken into consideration, I have been and I know how our numbers feel about the lingering crisis which has made many from all activities and even decided not to be pay their Branch Dues to the Branch.

Therefore, I am exercising my right to challenge this list and demand that all the Statements of Account belonging to all factions of the Abuja Branch used in determining the qualification of voters must be made public so as justify this miracle  in Abuja Branch.

It has to be reemphasized that Abuja Branch does not receive Branch Dues in Cash and the Branch does not issue receipts for payments of Branch Dues. The ECNBA cannot rely on receipts from Abuja Branch. Anyone whose name cannot be found in any of our Bank Statements covering the period of January 1st to March 31st 2020, is not qualified and should not be in that list – from the official and unofficial Bars.

Also, the need to carefully edit the list cannot be overemphasized as the duplication of names is legendary in 2020. The Abimbola Faction, in a bid to populate their list, included the names of members who identify with the Folarin led legitimate Branch.

I therefore, call on you to act swiftly by publishing all Statements of Account belonging to Abuja Branch ahead of the slated date for election as a mark of your transparency and willingness to conduct a free, fair and credible election for the Nigerian Bar Association, as anything less, will mean otherwise.

I look forward to a swift response from you.

 

Thank you.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

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