NBA election flawed but we won’t cancel, BoT tells Adesina

Dele Adesina SAN challenged the result of the NBA election
Dele Adesina (SAN) challenged the result of the NBA election

The Board of Trustees of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) has admitted the elections that produced Olumide Akpata as President were not perfect but cannot be cancelled “in the overall interest of the Bar”.

A presidential candidate Dele Adesina (SAN), who came a distant third, had petitioned NBA BoT to cancel the election, citing several infractions.

Adesina alleged “classical electronic fraud, illegal and unconstitutional process” and called on the NBA BoT to cancel the election.

He further alleged the appointment of the service provider for the NBA 2020 election was done solely by the NBA president and the voter list was not released by ECNBA until five hours to the election, in violation of the NBA Constitution.

According to him, there was also “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.”

But NBA BoT, in a reply to Adesina, noted his petition dated August 2, 2020 raised issues of serious concerns about the conduct of the election which held electronically between July 29 and 30, 2020 but urged him to overlook the failings of the poll in the spirit of cohesion of the body of lawyers.

The BoT’s reply dated August 19, 2020 by its chairman, Dr. Olisa Agbakoba (SAN), a former President of the NBA, said: “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.”