Go to court if you are dissatisfied, Akpata tells candidates who lost NBA election
By Vincent UFUOMA
OLUMIDE Akpata, president-elect, Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), has asked members of the association who are dissatisfied with the outcome of the election to go to court.
He stated this in an interview with the Punch newspapers on Sunday.
Akpata said he expected that those who were dissatisfied with the outcome of the election should have approached a court by now if they have enough evidence of malpractices and disenfranchisement as they have alleged.
“These are respected, smart and very intelligent lawyers, these are very knowledgeable people. I am of the view that if there is any substance whatsoever in their allegations, they would go to court,” he said.
“And the fact that they have chosen not to go to court tells me that these are unsubstantiated allegations. We are lawyers; we operate by the rule of law. So, I think that if they feel so strongly, they will go to court,” he added.
According to him, he participated in the election and did not conduct it, noting that he also pointed out what he thought were the shortcomings.
“Those who ask me about the process, I keep saying to them, I didn’t conduct an election; I participated in an election and at various points in that journey, I identified to those who were conducting the process, what I thought the shortcomings were and I am on record as the only one who essentially did that.
“So, those who are coming out now (with rigging allegations), they are the ones who do election petitions, I don’t. These are post-election issues. If, indeed, they feel so strongly and they think there was something that was fundamentally flawed, they should challenge it.
“I repeat, it is one thing to have conversations and grant interviews as Mr Okutepa or Mr Falana have done. What I think is important that they must do, if they think indeed that the process was as flawed as they have alleged, they should go to court,” Akpata said.
The ICIR reported how Dele Adesina, one of the presidential aspirants in the election called for the total cancelation of the election citing over-voting, disenfranchisement of eligible candidates and non-compliance with the provisions of the NBA constitution.
In a petition to Paul Usoro, the Chairman, NBA Board of Trustees, Adesina noted that “If the election process is wrongful and unconstitutional, the outcome must suffer the same fate and be cancelled.”
“I urge the members of the Board of Trustees of the NBA to intervene and right these wrongs and save the NBA from condemnation and destruction. I believe that leaders must do things right and/or ensure that things are done right,” he said.
Adesina faulted the adoption of the electronic process of voting in the NBA since 2016 saying that there have been consistent allegations of system manipulations and rigging.
Similarly, Egbe Amofin (South West Lawyers’ Forum), in a communique signed by Adeniyi Akintola, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) and Oluwole Akintayo, Chairman, Steering Committee and Secretary of the Forum, has also announced its rejection of the election results.
The Forum posited that the 2020 NBA election breached and violated the mandatory provisions of the NBA Constitution and its Electoral Guidelines, saying that over 4000 ‘voters’ appeared on the emergency voters’ list in the concluded elections
It called for electoral reforms within the NBA.