A Human Right Activist, S.O. Akobe has reacted to the comment recently made by the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) President when he appeared on Channels Television on Saturday, March 4.
The NBA President, Yakubu Maikyau, had during the interview said the February 25 presidential and national assembly elections “went well”.
“I will say that the elections went well. Those who came out were happy to express their franchise.
“There were challenges, definitely. There were some infractions, some of which actually constituted electoral offences but on the whole, I will score INEC as having performed maybe about 78 or 80 percent in the delivery of these elections.
“That will be an A for every exam. Notwithstanding, all the things that happened which we are not ignoring,” the NBA President said.
Reacting to the above comment, Kogi-based S.O. Akobe, Esq. questioned the ‘barometers’ with which the NBA President reached such assessment, grading and conclusion.
He stated that, “It is very unfortunate that while there is obvious non-compliance with the provisions of the Electoral Act, 2022 by INEC especially as it relates to the ignoble act of INEC which jettisoned electronic transmission of election results from Polling Units, the NBA President chose to close his eyes to these unpardonable transgression on the part of INEC and proceeded to rate or grade INEC’s woeful outing as an excellent performance.
“Election should not appear to be free and fair only at the stage of voting; it must be free, fair and very transparent at the stages of collation of results, transmission of results, and announcement of an eventual winner of the contest.
“The question is, did INEC comply with the requirement for electronic transmission of results from Polling Units? The answer is no. Can it be said that the election process was transparent when there was non-compliance with the provisions of the Electoral Act? The answer is also no. Again, can the product of such non-transparent election be truly adjudged as emanating from a genuine election process, and lastly, can the architect of such non-transparent process (in this case INEC) be graded as having scored an ‘A’? The answer is no. So, Mr. President, how did you arrive at your own evaluation or assessment of INEC in the said election?
“Mr. President ought to have known that any comment coming from him as the NBA President would be regarded as representing the unanimous position of all the Lawyers in Nigeria. He ought not to have made such “grading” while appearing in a live TV. To whom has Mr. President made available NBA Election Observers’ report before he went ahead to give such underserved “credit” to INEC? Let it be known to all Nigerians that the purported ’78 or 80 percent’ which the NBA President scored INEC, is baseless and personal to him as same does not, will not, and of course, can never represent the position of the members of the Nigerian Bar Association nationwide.”
Continuing, the fiery Lawyer said, “Mr. President must not be seen to be giving NBA’s imprimatur to an obvious violation of the provisions of the Electoral Act by INEC. Most times, silence is noble and a man of few words hardly makes blunders. Mr. President ought to have said less at this particular point in time. By the comment made by Mr. President, NBA now stands as one of the potential star Witnesses for INEC once the election matters come before the Court. It is on this note that I, and many other Lawyers of our noble profession, wish to strongly disassociate ourselves from the purported ‘grading’ of INEC by the President, as it does not reflect the true state of affairs that transpired or held sway in Nigeria on the 25th of February, 2023 when the said elections were conducted.”