The Masterstroke of Olumide Akpata’s Election Reforms Committee -By Raymond Nkannebe
If there have been any doubts about Mr. Olumide Akpata’s marketing campaign promise of hitting the bottom working from the primary day of his administration, they had been cleared final Friday, twenty eighth August, 2020 as he took to the podium to ship his inaugural deal with because the thirtieth President of the Nigerian Bar Affiliation.
By all accounts, it was not the standard sort of deal with. It was in lots of respects, a press release of motion. Nothing vindicates this greater than his announcement of the Election Audit and Reforms Committee to audit the final three elections performed within the present regime of digital voting, and to advise suggestions on how the Nigerian Bar Affiliation can elevate the standard of her elections to the extent humanly attainable to keep away from the glitches that characterised the latest elections of the Affiliation. In fact, together with the election that introduced him to energy.
“One main criticism in regards to the final election was the problem of the database of attorneys and resultant difficulties in arising with a reputable voters’ register. To handle this, my administration will enhance upon the membership portal launched by the President Paul Usoro administration. Moreover, I’m instantly constituting an Electoral Audit and Reforms Committee, comprising distinguished practitioners of the very best requirements to audit our 2016, 2018 and 2020 elections and suggest reforms for our electoral techniques and processes” the deal with learn.
After the ugly end result of the referenced elections manifesting within the polarization of senior members of the Affiliation and by the way, the unity of the Bar, the well timed structure of the Election Audit and Reform Committee is a daring step in direction of an improved election administration template befitting a company just like the NBA, as a mannequin for different skilled Associations. However that isn’t all. The mind set that informs the choice deserves our collective credit score. If something, it proves that the brand new management of the NBA below Akpata, shouldn’t be occupied with pointless sanctimony or self adulation, however institutional reforms of the group in order that it may ship extra worth for its teeming membership.
It reminds considered one of an analogous resolution taken by former President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua (of blessed reminiscence) whom after he took over the ship of the Nigerian State, acknowledged the deficiencies within the elections that introduced him to energy, and pledged a dedication to electoral reforms as one of many planks of his well-known Transformational Agenda. A strategic transfer that will give start to the well-known Justice Muhammed Uwais Report that is still a mannequin for election administration in Nigeria.
With eminent members drawn from totally different branches of the NBA in addition to curiosity teams inside the Affiliation resembling Ayo Ayotunde, SAN reputed for overseeing the extremely acclaimed elections that introduced within the present excos of the Lagos Department of the NBA led by Yemi Akangbe; Ama Etuwewe, SAN; Andrew Odum, a famend supporter of Deacon Adesina, SAN over the past elections and Ibrahim Altine, a preferred supporter of Dr. Babatunde Ajibade, SAN and the Chairperson of the Federation of Worldwide Ladies Legal professionals (FIDA) to call just a few, it’s secure to say that the Committee is a bi-partisan and inclusive one whose work wouldn’t be influenced from any quarters opposite to the insinuations of some commentators.
Maybe, greater than the rest, the dedication of Akpata to implement “no matter suggestions they provide you with properly forward of time to make sure that the 2022 election is devoid of these glitches that we observed within the 2020 election” is reassuring to the extent that it demonstrates thorough understanding of the issue with a transparent imaginative and prescient and roadmap of enacting the wanted change which has eluded the NBA for too lengthy.
If democracy has taught us something, it’s that the standard of the electoral course of to an amazing extent informs the legitimacy of any authorities that proceeds from it. Examples abound of how nations snowballed into theaters of battle arising from controversial elections. Thus, whereas periodic elections matter, how they’re performed matter most.
For the NBA as a foremost skilled group, sadly, the story of her elections each on the department and nationwide ranges, through the years depart a lot to be desired. Nonetheless, it’s inside this context that the masterstroke of Akpata’s Election Audit and Reforms Committee resonates. God forbid that in 2022 the NBA can be seen reinveting the wheel within the conduct of her elections. And within the context of Akpata’s marketing campaign mantra, maybe it must be mentioned that the Bar can not work for All, if her management shouldn’t be reflective of the emotions of her membership.
Raymond Nkannebe, a authorized practitioner writes from Lagos.
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