The Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) elections in 2016 will be by electronic voting. The President of the Nigerian Bar, Mr Augustine Alegeh SAN disclosed this to Gavel International in an exclusive interview. With this, the NBA will be the pioneering electronic voting in Nigeria.
In the past, NBA elections, particularly the post of the President was always very expensive as candidates will have to spend fortunes to contest for the post. Besides, the influence of godfathers who determines the faith of who occupies a post was always a big challenge. All these factors make the elections of the association unattractive to people that may be willing to serve genuinely.
However, the present leadership of the NBA is set to put an end to all the challenges. “I can authoritatively tell you that come August 2016 when i will be leaving office, the elections will be conducted electronically. It does not matter where you are in the world, in as much as you are duly registered as a lawyer and you pay your practicing fees, you will be entitled to vote. All you will need to do is open your computer, log on to the NBA website where you will see the requirements to vote. If you meet the criteria, you will proceed to another column that entitles you to vote”.
Going further, he said: “The pictures and names of all contestants in all categories will also be there together with profiles and brochures. Contestants will not be allowed to print their brochures and profiles as was the case in the past. All contestants will have a uniform profile that will be on line. The reason behind all these is that henceforth, NBA is going to deemphasize money politics in her elections. Never again will anyone spend a fortune just because he or she wants to become NBA president, or general secretary, or any post whatsoever”.
Already, the race of who becomes the next President of the association has begin in earnest. Since it is the turn of the Northern Nigeria to produce the president, several names have been mentioned underground. The most prominent two are Kano based lawyer, A.B Mahmoud SAN, and J.K Gadzama SAN who is based in Abuja. Gadzama contested against J.B Daudu SAN in 2010 but lost.
Alegeh on behalf of the association was full of praises to President Muhammadu Buhari for choosing ten lawyers as members of his cabinet. “Firstly I want to say that we are extremely grateful to the president for appointing not less than 10 of our members into his cabinet. It is something we are pleased about. Secondly, all our members has assured them of our support. We have also drawn their attention to the fact that they are ambassadors of the Nigerian bar, and whatever they do, while in office will have an impact on the bar either positively or negatively. In whatever they do they should know that they are not doing it for themselves or families or constituencies alone, but they are also doing it for the entire bar. We expect that our 10 ministers should be above board at all times, they should be performing ministers at all times and they should be the top ten at all times,
For the Attorney General of the Federation, Alhaji Abubakar Malami SAN, he is somebody whom I know closely, who is passionate about rule of law, passionate about democratic values, passionate about our judiciary and how to improve upon its own, when the list of ministers were announced, some of us took a big breath because we are sure and certain that if any of the lawyers named on that list became the AGF, It is the person that we can work with and the most important thing for us to do at this time is how do we fix our legal system. One of the ways of fixing our legal system is by taking certain legislative intervention, and if by the grace of God those interventions are taken by the new administration, they will make other things fall into place and we will have a very good justice delivery system”.
Watch out for the full interview later this week. It is interesting, it is explosive!!