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Olumide, non-SAN emerges NBA president amid controversy


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OLUMIDE Akpata on Thursday emerged as the new president of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) in an election conducted through electronic voting by members of the association across the country.

Akpata, the only non-Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) among the three presidential candidates and former chairman of the NBA Section on Business Law polled 9,384 votes to defeat his closest rival Babatunde Ajibade, SAN, who received 4,105 votes.

Dele Adesina, also a SAN and a  former NBA General Secretary, was the second runner up with 3,815 of the total vote cast in the election that started at about 11 pm Wednesday.

Akpata takes the reins of NBA leadership from Paul Usoro as the 35th president of Nigeria’s umbrella association of professional lawyers.

A total of 29,636 lawyers were accredited for voting across the country in the electronic poll, according to the Electoral Committee of the NBA but 17,437 ballots were submitted at the close of voting which accounts for 59 per cent of voters representation.

Both Mercy Agada and Anagor Raphael were returned unopposed as Treasurer and Financial Secretary of the association respectively.

Oduah Joyce defeated Muoka Alexander to the post of General Secretary while John Aikpokpo-Martins, Adeyemo Kazeem, Nwadialo Esther, and Edun Olukunle, emerged First Vice President, Second Vice President, Assistant Secretary, and Welfare Secretary respectively.

Nduka Rapuluchukwu polled 11,527 votes to defeat Sokoya Olayinka for the position of Publicity Secretary while Naza Ferdinand clinched the position of Assistant Publicity Secretary.

US-based website ElectionBuddy was the service provider for the e-voting which was hosted by Godaddy, but controversy still trailed the process.

Dele Adesina, a frontline Presidential aspirant in the elections alongside his campaign group, Dele Adesina Support Group (DASAN) in a statement said the election lacked transparency and failed to pass the litmus test of credibility.

“There is no doubt that the ongoing NBA Election lacks all features of credibility and transparency. We are therefore by this notice demanding immediate suspension of the ongoing election process to a later date when a clean list must have been prepared and published,” a section of the statement read.

He also wrote a letter to the ECNBA requesting for immediate cancellation of the election for failing to be credible, transparent, free and fair, and for failing to comply with the provisions of the NBA Constitution and the Electoral Guidelines.

Adesina cited several discrepancies ranging from inflation of voters list to deletion of names of valid members removed from the final list among other electoral infractions.

“Inflation of the List of some Branches. For instance, Obollo-Afor Branch on the Final List for Verification had only 39 names on the List from Serial Number 30424 to 30462. Strangely, this increased to 662 on the verified list,”he said.

He called for the conduct of fresh elections saying “it is needless to say that if the process is bad, the product cannot be good”.


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