The Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) has said it is working out a petition to take disciplinary action against the embattled Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) of Adamawa State, Hudu Yunusa-Ari, who is also a lawyer.
The REC, who evaded arrest until May 2, is under investigation for his role in the controversial declaration of Aishatu Dahiru of the All Progressives Congress (APC) as the winner of the April 15 supplementary governorship election.
The Chairman, Section of Public Interest and Development (SPIDEL) of NBA, Monday Ubani, who spoke on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily on Wednesday, said the NBA is planning to take a petition against him as a member of the Bar.
“This is one of the suggestions that were made; that a body like NBA should not allow such a man who brought what I would consider a national disgrace to NBA to go scot-free,” he said.
According to him, there must be a report to the NBA disciplinary committee for it to investigate what he did as the REC who was sent on a national assignment “did not represent the body well enough”.
Ubani noted that there is a need to follow up on the matter to see to the conclusion of the anomalies.
“If he is innocent, let us be told that he is innocent. If he is not innocent, then the next thing that should follow is prosecution. This is because it sends the right signal that we are a nation that wants to protect our integrity,” he said.
‘INEC Cannot Prosecute REC’
The human rights lawyer stated that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) does not have the power to investigate crime under the legal framework in the country.
According to him, the police are the lead prosecutor in cases of this nature.
“It is the Nigerian Police that does investigation in the country, so if a matter is alleged to fall into the realm of crime, it is the Nigerian Police that carries out the responsibility.
“Even if INEC would prosecute, there must be an investigation first by a body authorised to do that,” he said.
The SPIDEL chairman also noted that INEC’s body language would curb electoral malfeasance by politicians and electoral officials.
He said that if the credibility and strictness of INEC are maintained, politicians would be timid and desperate.
“The body language of the electoral umpire (INEC) has a role to play, it goes a long way to the integrity of the system. The politicians are waiting to see the reaction of INEC in the electoral process.
“When the umpire is having issues and the politicians see the body language, they see that there are still loopholes and room for them to manipulate,” he said.