Posted by Adeyinka Akintunde, Lagos | 16 July 2016 | 2,267 times
Outgoing President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Augustine Alegeh (SAN), has been accused of favouring one of the candidates in the race to select his successor during the association’s election slated for July 30/31, 2016. The allegation is contained in a petition by the J.K Gadzama Campaign Organization, which was sighted by News Express. Signed by the DG, Mr. Garba Gajam, and the Secretary, Mr. Steve Abar, the petition was dated June 26, 2016. It was addressed to Alegeh and copied past NBA President and the Chairman of the Body of Benchers.
In the petition, the J.K Gadzama Campaign Organization accused Alegeh of openly showing support for a candidate, and sponsoring junior lawyers to aggressively campaign for the unnamed candidate. It declared that “no president, in the history of the NBA has openly showed support for any presidential candidate in the manner that you are doing.”
The J.K Gadzama Campaign Organization told Alegeh: “While as a member of the NBA you are free to have a preferred candidate, your position as President certainly calls for restraint. Your concern should be that elections are free, fair and credible, not that a particular candidate emerges by all means.” It further stated: “We have also learned reliably, that you are not only actively encouraging, but you are fully sponsoring some young lawyers to aggressively campaign for some candidates.”
On Alegeh’s “Thank You” tour, the J.K Gadzama Campaign Organization feared that he was using the resources of NBA to support his candidate, “hence travelling round to campaign for the said candidate. “Given the fact that you have now taken to openly drumming up support for a particular candidate, our fears should be understandable. It cannot be just or proper that resources of the NBA are deployed to support a particular candidate,” the petition said.
The J.K Gadzama Campaign Organization questioned the electronic voting that Alegeh intends to use during the election, doubting its reliability. It accused Alegeh of responding to questions asked about the machine himself, “and then of course inadequately”, instead of allowing the computer engineers to answer the questions.
Still on the electoral process, the J.K Gadzama Campaign Organization said it found it troubling that Alegeh insists that the votes will be collated at the center, and not at the branch level. “It makes it easier for the integrity of the system to be compromised,” the petition said.
Mr. Alegeh did not pick his calls or reply to text messages sent to him by News Express urging him to state his own side of the story.
•Photo shows NBA President Augustine Alegeh (SAN).
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