With less than two weeks to its 2016 general election, the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), has been engulfed in crisis as one of the aspirants has dragged the association, its national president. Augustine Alegey and four others before a high court of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja, challenging the adoption of the Internet Voting (I-Voting) for the election and his disqualification to contest.
The plaintiff, who is the immediate past assistant publicity secretary of the association and currently an aspirant for the national publicity secretary, Mr John Unachukwu, joined the chairman of NBA electoral committee, Mr Ken Mozia, Grace Infotech Limited, Chief Joe Kyari Gadzama and Mr Abubakar Mahmood, as respondents in the suit.
In the suit No. CV/449/16, instituted on his behalf by Chukwuma Ekomaru, the plaintiff prayed the court to restrain NBA, Alegey and the chairman, NBA Electoral Committee, from conducting the election for national officers by Internet Voting pending the determination of his suit.
Unachukwu also prayed the court for an order compelling NBA Electoral Committee to issue guidelines stipulating that the Electronic Voting (E-Voting) for the NBA general election be conducted in all branches of the NBA and that results be collated at branch level before transmitting same to the national secretariat of the association.
The plaintiff also asked the court to nullify his disqualification by NBA Electoral Committee and to declare him as the sole candidate for the office of the national publicity secretary of the association.
He also asked the Abuja High Court for an order compelling NBA Electoral Committee to issue guidelines allowing the use of manual voting alone in branches where available information technology infrastructure is clearly inadequate.
He averred that the NBA electoral committee had scheduled the 2016 general election for Saturday, July 30 and Sunday, July 31, saying that he had expressed interest to contest and actually emerged sole candidate for the office of the national publicity secretary only to be disqualified by the committee.
Unachukwu claimed to be an associate of J.K Gadzama Law Firm and that since he was called to Bar in 2004, he has never worked for any public body or government agency, but in the private sector and in private law practice.
However, when the matter came up on Tuesday, the defendants prayed the court for a short adjournment to enable them respond to issues raised by the plaintiff in the originating summons.
Justice Olukayode Adeniyi, after taking submissions from parties in the suit, adjourned till Monday, July 25, for hearing of all pending applications and the substantive suit.