From: Godwin Tsa, Abuja
Justice Olukayode Adeniyi of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), yesterday washed his hands off the lawsuit challenging the outcome of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) elections.
He has returned the case file to the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN).
The suit filed by one of the top contenders for the presidential slot of the association, Joe-Kyari Gadzama (SAN) is seeking an order restraining Abubakar Mahmoud (SAN) from parading himself as the NBA President.
In the suit filed by a team of eleven Senior Advocates, including Chief Emeka Ngige, Sabastine Hon, Chief Mobolaji Ayorinde, the plaintiff told the court that he polled 2,963 votes in the said election and not the 2,384 announced by the electoral committee.
He is seeking an order nullifying and setting aside the 2016 Nigerian Bar Association Election as it relates to the office/ position of the President held on the 30th and 31st July, 2016 which purportedly returned the 15th Defendant as the President.
He also wants an order directing the first to seventh defendants to set up a newly constituted Electoral Committee of the Nigerian Bar Association (ECNBA) which will issue Guidelines and conduct a fresh 2016 Nigerian Bar Association Election as it relates to the office/position of the President.
He said the 15th defendant (Abubakar Mahmoud) who was said to have won the election with 3,055 votes, actually polled 2,465.
Gadzama is also praying for an order that the election as it relates to the office/ position of the President should be held through Electronic voting in all branches of the NBA or at least at the three (3) zonal levels established by the NBA Constitution, 2015 and that results should be collated at branch or zonal levels and transmitted to the ECNBA Secretariat for final announcement.
When the matter came up yesterday, Justice Adeniyi said in view of the fact that the court’s annual vacation was fast coming to a close (on September 9, 2016),it was better to remit the case file to the Chief Judge, Justice Ishaq Bello for re-assignment in the new legal year.
Before that counsel to all parties to the suit including those for the defendants; Paul Erokoro(SAN), Jibrin Okutepa (SAN) for Grace Info tech Ltd and Abubakar Mahmoud (SAN) confirmed service of the court processes.
In his statement of claim, Gadzama said: “The Plaintiff avers that contrary to the result declared by the 8th Defendant ( Mr. Kenneth Mozia (SAN), Chairman, Electoral Committee of the NBA ( ECNBA) , at the close of voting, at 12:00 midnight on Sunday, 31st July, 2016, the result of the 2016 Nigerian Bar Association Election as it relates to the office/position of the President, as collated from and contained on the official voting domain/platform was as follows: Joe-Kyari Gadzama, 2,963; Abubakar B. Mahmoud, 2,465.”
He said it was discovered that the election portal was set up on more than one domain, contrary to established standards and international best practices.
Besides, he said there were multiple administrators/webmasters who accessed the backend of the portal and remained active throughout the period the voting lasted, contrary to established standards and international best practices.
Gadzama alleged that there was continuous manipulation of data on the system throughout the period the voting lasted contrary to established standards and international best practices and which compromised the integrity of the outcome.
The plaintiff said the process was “completely compromised” by the deployment of two voting platforms – https://election. nba-agc.org, which was the official portal, and ttp://www.nigerianbar.org.ng.
“Voters were casting their votes on two different portals/domains, contrary to the Election Guidelines released by the ECNBA and international best practices. It amounts to, if voting was to be by manual ballot, different voters casting their ballots in two different ballot boxes but for the same office,” Gazdama said.
Defendants are the Incorporated Trustees of the NBA , including Abdullahi Ibrahim (SAN), Chief Wole Olanipekun (SAN), Thompson Joseph Onomigho Okpoko (SAN), Chief Priscilla Kuye, Alhaji Murtala Aminu And Chief Anthony O. Mogbo (SAN).
Others are the Chairman, NBA Electoral Committee Mr. Ken Mozia (SAN), Mr. Oluwaseun Ajoba (Secretary, NBA Electoral Committee) electoral committee members Hajia Safiya Balarabe, Mrs ng was online, the original laptop which was hooked online to the LG Television/Monitor ought to have automatically transmitted signals to the said Television/Monitor and the results ought to have been displayed automatically.
“The display screen shut down and became darkened when the laptops were being swapped and started coming up with a revolving LG logo/sign when the new laptop had been put on and connected to it.
“The LG lomised by undue influence, overbearing, biased conduct and utterances of the 14th Defendant (Mr Augustine Alegeh SAN, President, Nigerian Bar Association) through the media and at Bar meetings before and during the Election and thereby robbed the conduct of the election of every element of impartiality, independence and transparency as required by established standards and international best practices.”