A former Chairman of the Nigerian Bar Association Section on Business Law (NBA-SBL), Olumide Akpata, won the association’s national election which ended at 11 p.m on Thursday.
The poll got underway at 11 p.m on Wednesday.
Akpata, the only non-Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) among three candidates, had polled 9,851 votes (54.3 per cent) as at 11 p.m on Thursday.
His closest challenger was Dr. Babatunde Ajibade (SAN) who polled 4,310 votes (23.8 per cent).
A former NBA General Secretary, Dele Adesina (SAN), scored 3,968 (21.9 per cent) of the votes cast.
Akpata maintained a 54.3 per cent lead consistently since voting started, while the other two candidates maintained almost the same margin.
A total of 29,636 lawyers were expected to vote nationwide in the electronic poll, according to NBA’s Electoral Committee, chaired by Mr. Tawo Tawo (SAN).
Other positions were First Vice-President, Second Vice-President, General Secretary, Assistant Secretary, Treasurer, Welfare Secretary, Financial Secretary, Publicity Secretary and Assistant Publicity Secretary.
John Aikpokpo-Martins was leading five others in the race for the First Vice-President office with 5,825 votes.
Some lawyers had expressed frustration about their inability to access the website for the electronic voting.
Also, Adesina’s supporters faulted the election, alleging several infractions.
They claimed that the poll lacked “all features of credibility and transparency,” and demanded its “immediate suspension… to a later date when a clean list must have been prepared and published. The ongoing process is discredited and does not represent the dignity of our most honourable profession”.
A statement by the National Coordinator of Adesina Support Group, Adesina Adegbite reads:
“On behalf of the Dele Adesina Support Group, we write to express our displeasure over the process and conduct of the NBA Election 2020.
“The ongoing election, which generated a lot of interest within and without Nigeria, has brought another bad testament to the legal profession in our dear country.
“In the build-up to the election, the Electoral Committee of the Nigerian Bar Association (ECNBA) and the leadership of the Bar had promised a free, fair, and credible election that will change the narrative of our recent electoral experience…”
“Our campaign organisation, in keeping with the hallowed tradition of the Bar, which encourages obeisance to rules and regulations, decided to play by the rules and formally complained to the ECNBA when infractions to the Constitution of the NBA were noticed.
“Our ICT consultants have further informed us that though the voting site ostensibly appears credible on the surface, it is apparent that the data uploaded to the site was programmed and pre-configured to achieve a desired result in an obvious case of data diddling.
“Consequently, we have every cause to query the data uploaded on the voting platform as same appear to have the imprint of a manipulated poll.
“Several members of some branches where our candidate enjoys huge support including the Ikeja Branch, Ibadan Branch, Enugu Branch and Ilorin Branch did not receive voting links for election.
“It is on record that none of the aspirants was given an opportunity to interrogate the voting portal prior to the election. Surprisingly, the final voters list which was released about 5 hours to the commencement of the poll contrary to the provision of the NBA Constitution (2015) as amended, which provides that same shall be released not later than 28days before the election, contained the names of at least 86 persons alleged to be members of International Diaspora.
“We wonder when the NBA established an International Diaspora Branch! There were also over 4,000 names without Branch. Several Branches had names of their members uncaptured while several strange names were wrongly added to the lists of some other branches.