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Uncertainty trails 2016 NBA elections

There was uncertainty at the weekend over the fate of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) elections scheduled to hold on July 23 – 24 as…

There was uncertainty at the weekend over the fate of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) elections scheduled to hold on July 23 – 24 as the electoral bodies failed to deliver on their self-imposed timelines for the polls.
While Law Pavilion owned by Grace Infotech Limited is the ICT Partner and Administrator for the elections, the Electoral Committee of the NBA (ECNBA) headed by Mr. Ken Mozia, SAN is saddled with the mandate of conducting the poll.
Though the electoral committee had issued both preliminary and final guidelines towards the conduct of the elections, it has been unable to meet the timelines it set for the elections, raising questions on possible postponement of the exercise. Stakeholders are also in the dark as to the reasons for non-publication of the voters’ register and the new date to deliver on the mandate.
The final voters’ register for the elections had not been made public as at press time, notwithstanding that the ECNBA stated that the register would be published on June 24. The final processes leading to its publication are yet to commence.
The election guidelines stipulate that “pre-voting” entails collating member verification, Bar practicing fee and branch dues lists from registered branches. The administrator will then publish the voters’ register across all branches, while members are expected to review the voters’ register to confirm that their names, email addresses and phone numbers are error-free.
 “Those who have issues their credentials are advised to visit their local branches to fill an amendment form with their current details, and append their signature confirming their request to edit their details,” states the guidelines.
It also said: “The editing of details will be opened for a period of one week, after which the branch chairman is required to send a signed collated verification list of members’ details to the electoral committee, so that members’ details can be updated, and a new voters register hence published finally on 24th June, 2016.”
The ECNBA failed to publish the final list on June 24, 2016, as stipulated, while the provisional list of voters has not been dispatched to branches or published for viewing and complaints.
Meanwhile, fresh facts have emerged on how the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) selected Ezenwa Anunmnu as the new chairman of the Abuja branch.
Sources that spoke on the issue, said the NEC of the NBA, as the highest organ of the NBA, settled for Anunmnu because he was the only qualified candidate after other aspirants were disqualified by the Unity Bar Electoral Committee.
“Under the constitution, NEC is the second highest decision making organ of the NBA after the Annual General Meeting (AGM). The NEC considered the issues and recognised Ezenwa Anunmnu as the chairman of the Abuja branch and voided the purported election of Victor Ekim,” the source said.
According to the NBA by-law, a monitoring committee by NEC is set up for all branch elections to ensure adherence to the rules.
“Afam Okeke and Dan Nwobodo, were initially favoured to emerge as successors to Agada Elachi, but were affected by the rules.
“Okeke on the grounds of the clause that said you have to wait for five years to contest if you have held executive office on two occasions. Nwobodo on the grounds that those who nominated him had not attended the last five meetings of the association,” the source said.
Also, Barrister Chukwudi Igwe, who monitored the development, said NEC as the highest organ of the NBA, settled for Anunmnu because he was the only candidate who complied with the standard and responded to its letter.
He expressed hope that the dispute would be amicably resolved with Victor Ekim, who was also sworn in after Anunmnu’s inauguration, in order to move the association forward.

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