Friday, August 21, 2020 2:06 pm
…Advises Akpata to carry out electoral reforms in NBA
After the Nigerian Bar Association concluded its July 2020 election and Olumide Akpata was declared winner, one of the candidates, Mr. Dele Adesina, fired a protest letter on 2 August to the Associatio’s Board of Trustees (BoT) demanding the cancellation of the exercise. He alleged the loading of “predetermined data on the election site and disenfranchisement of about 14,000 prospective voters,” “manipulation and padding of voters list in that it contained 4,464 names of purported lawyers without branches;” erroneous tagging of 86 names of lawyers under the category ‘International Diaspora’, inflation of list at some branches, among others.
However, the BoT has said it could not do that, despite the imperfections in the election.
Dr. Olisa Agbakoba, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, who chairs the NBA BoT was quoted by The Punch that although the election was not perfect, the BoT could not advise that the election be cancelled “in the overall interest of the Bar.”
His 19 August letter reads: “The Trustees have given careful consideration and deeply reflected on your petition and all the responses, in particular that of ECNBA (Election Committee of the Nigerian Bar Association).
“We note that the elections were not perfect. We reviewed your petition and note that it raises serious issues. Nonetheless, our advice will be the overall interest of the Bar should be paramount on the mind of every Nigerian lawyer and to that extent, we urge that all lawyers and no less the candidates be mindful of the need to promote a cohesive. united and strong Bar.
“We regret that we are unable to advise that the election should be cancelled in the overall interest of the Bar.”
The Punch reported further that in the reply to Adesina, which was also copied the ECNBA led by Mr. Tawo Tawo (SAN), the president-elect, Olumide Akpata, and the third presidential candidate in the poll, Dr. Babatunde Ajibade (SAN), said the NBA elections “had continued to present challenges since 2016 when the electronic voting system was introduced.”
The BoT noted that it therefore “strongly recommend that a major transformation of our electoral process and framework must be undertaken.”
Noting that it would be ready to support any move by Akpata’s incoming NBA leadership to reposition the association’s electoral process, the BoT said it would be “happy to be assigned this very important responsibility at ensuring that the incoming administration acts accordingly.”