The stakeholders meeting held in Abuja in the wake of complaints by lawyers over the choice of Chams as vendor for the forthcoming NBA election has made far reaching decisions.
Chief among the decisions is the postponement of the 27th and 28th date earlier scheduled for the conduct of the election to a yet to be clearly ascertained date in August.
This, the President of the Nigerian Bar Association, Mr. A.B Mahmoud SAN said would enable another ICT company carry out the verification exercise which was not properly handled by Chams.
Other decisions made during the meeting which comprised of the Aspirants, NBA Executives and ECNBA members was that another ICT firm would carry out the verification exercise to ensure proper verification of all eligible voters. This decision is a fallout of the various anomalies identified in the verification exercise conducted so far by Chams.
On the issue of likelihood of bias by Chams, Mr. Mahmoud held the strong view that the fact that both Paul Usoro SAN and the Chairman of Chams, Mrs. Awosike are non executive members of the board of Directors of Access Bank does not occasion any bias. He insisted that the election would be conducted by Chams in a fair and credible manner. Ironically, his position was adopted by both Paul Usoro SAN and Prof Ojukwu SAN.
However, Arthur Obi-Okafor SAN opposed the use of Chams as vendor arguing that the credibility of the election would be called to question for the earlier stated reasons. After major debates on this issue, the NBA President announced that the decision on whether Chams should conduct the online voting during the election should be left entirely to the Electoral Committee to decide.
The meeting which spanned a period of two days had the stakeholders holding on to their various positions leading to several deadlocks. A past general secretary of NBA, Ibrahim Mark stormed out of the meeting after a point of order he raised was not recognized by the President.
One of the points which was commonly agreed upon by the stakeholders is the need for the election to be conducted in a credible, free and fair manner. Other issues raised by the aspirants were the need for their elected IT experts to be allowed to interface with the service providers as well as the need for the voting to be transparent during and after the election.
While we await the decision of the Electoral Committee, it is hoped that the stakeholders meeting would have resolved the issues to enable a seamless election.