Lagos lawyer and human rights activist, Mr Femi Falana (SAN) has called on the Chairman of the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA) Electoral Committee, Okey Amechi (SAN), to publish the voters’ register compiled for this year’s election.
The election is scheduled to hold tomorrow in Abuja.
Falana said he had very strong reasons to suspect that the register may contain fictitious names, including the names of dead lawyers, as was the case during the 2012 election of the Bar.
Falana warned that if the oters’ register was not published before the day of the election, he would not hesitate “to approach the appropriate High Court to stop the manipulation of the electoral process by the NBA leadership”.
He added: “Lawyers cannot afford to fix election results as they are entrusted with the responsibility of filing and defending election petitions in the country”.
Falana, who was once president of the West African Bar Association, stated that to ensure transparency in this year’s NBA poll, he was compelled, last week, to apply for a copy of the voters’ register under the Freedom of Information Act, 2011.
He said he was assured that the register would be published ahead of the election “but for some inexplicable reasons, the NBA Electoral Committee has refused to publish the voters register 48 hours to the election”.
The lawyer alleged that “with the connivance of the leadership of the NBA, those lawyers were allowed to vote from the grave! Even though the credibility of the election was called to question, those who were genuinely dissatisfied with the fraudulent results were advised to allow sleeping dogs to lie”.
Falana said: “I have drawn the attention of the Secretary of the NBA Electoral Committee to the evidence at my disposal that the voters’ register compiled for the election contains the names of many lawyers who are not qualified to vote. For instance, some concerned members of the NBA have reliably informed me that the list of the 47 delegates representing the Abuja branch of the NBA was compiled in utter breach of the Constitution of the NBA.
“I have equally confirmed that the list of co-opted members of the National Executive Committee of the NBA contains 135 names, contrary to the clear provisions of the NBA Constitution.
“In a similar situation in August 1992, I had cause to obtain a court order to stop the NBA election when I discovered that the then military junta had concluded plans to hijack the electoral process with a view to installing and imposing its stooges as leaders of the Bar.
“It is hoped that history will not be allowed to repeat itself by the NBA Electoral Committee”.
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