For the past few sessions of the Nigerian Association (NBA) elections, there has been controversies surrounding the credibility of the elections.
Background: From the 2016 election which brought in Mahmoud Abubakar (SAN), the electronic voting method adopted for that election had unveiled rifts on outcomes of NBA elections.
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Also, the elections which ushered in the administration of the outgoing executive council led by Paul Usoro (SAN), was alleged to have been rigged. The allegations and suspicions in voting anomalies and fraud hung over the administration like a dark cloud.
The accusations, however, have made a number of young lawyers feel embarrassed by the lack of credibility for such an organization supposed to be a bastion of honesty.
Right from its founding in 1900, the NBA has been one of the foremost pressure groups in the struggle for democracy in Nigeria. A lot of times, the organization has taken positions against junta or even its officials caught in the noose of government operatives looking to devour them.
Around the time that the NBA began to be caught up in the web of political correctness and cozying up to political figures and parties, it began to go down the slippery road of political suicide. Even the primary purpose of the organization which, among other goals, entailed overseeing the well being of the legal community was abandoned with time.
The 2020 NBA elections had 3 candidates vie for the president’s position. While two, Dele Adesina and Babatunde Ajibade are Senior Advocates; Olumide Akpata is a relatively younger lawyer without the exalted badge.
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The initial controversy sprung on June 27 when Adegboyega Awomolo (SAN) went on record to say that the office of the president of the NBA, which has been a preserve of the SAN designates for about 30 years, is about to be snatched by junior lawyers. Many lawyers went on record to denounce his statement.
One of the presidential contestants, Ajibade, was also reported to have been one of the groups of lawyers who spoke publicly in support of the judicial abuse of procedure in the 2019 removal of erstwhile Chief Justice of Nigeria, Hon. Justice Walter Onnoghen (rtd).
On the night elections, on July 29, some lawyers expressed disappointment about the effectiveness of the online voting platform for the elections. They complained that it was being used as another avenue to rig the elections in favour of some candidates.
However, they were eventually able to cast their votes as many others corroborated on main Election Day.
At the end of polling, Olumide Akpata polled a recent record of 9,891 total votes while Ajibade and Adesina polled 4,328 and 3,982 respectively.
There seems to be a general acceptance of the results so far, as there has not yet been any other lingering complaint of infractions in the voting process.
There may be indications, therefore, that the NBA has been able to deliver a free and fair elections which was transparent for all to see – and members of the organization, and Nigerians at large may have the Tawo Tawo (SAN) led electoral committee to thank for the job done and for saving the 120 year-old organization from another round of embarrassment.
The Cable NG
Featured Image Source: ICIR NG
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