Human rights activist and former Chairman of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), Prof. Chidi Anselm Odinkalu has condemned in strong terms, the level of unpreparedness being displayed by the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) in the build up to the General Election.
Odinkalu who was speaking on the difficulty which has characterized the voters verification exercise stated that members are right to be angry while noting that as professionals we should be ashamed of the process.
“I have lost count of the number of people who have tried to encourage me to persevere with the verification process for these NBA elections. They are mostly people whom I respect. So I have paid them heed.”
“As much as I have tried, I have been unsuccessful so far and this is day 3 of trying. I can’t even begin to compute the amount of time it has cost me. Nor the hours in time I should have been asleep.”
“With so many of us stuck in this, I want to ask honestly why are we as a bunch of professionals so tolerant of clear incompetence? What happened to our capacities – collective and individual – for indignation?”
“As voters, we should be angry. As professionals we should be ashamed. This exercise has turned into cruel and unusual punishment of the kind that is clearly prohibited by our national constitution. No election should justify or involve this amount of pointless loss in transaction cost.”
Querying why an election which is already fixed for a period in the NBA constitution should fail, Odinkalu noted that the ECNBA assurances are hollow, empty and devoid of credulity.
“Surely NBA’s election is not an accident. We know when it is supposed to happen. Every tenure in the NBA has 2 years notice to prepare for it. Yet here we are, out of time, with an election platform that is clearly untested, flawed in design, unknown to the electorate, not understood by the ECNBA and absolutely unfit for purpose.”
“The result is that much of the electorate will be disenfranchised. Any mandate that emerges from this would have questions in legitimacy. The assurances of the ECNBA about electoral credibility are hollow, empty and utterly devoid of credulity.”
“I would like the NBA to have a leadership transition. I am not sure it should be purchased at the steep cost to institution credibility that we seem willing to sleep-walk into. Something has to change and fast too. We don’t have time…”
“I am Chidi Anselm Odinkalu”
The preparation for the NBA general election has had series of hitches which now caste doubt on the competence of the vendors to conduct a credible election. Presently, there is no confirmed information on whether the election would hold as scheduled as many lawyers have now been disenfranchised following their inability to verify their status.
It is believed that the ECNBA would extend the date for the election to enable the vendors put their acts together.