Human rights lawyer, Femi Falana, has threatened to sue the Nigerian Bar Association, NBA, if it fails to publish a complete voter register for the association’s election billed for Tuesday, July 15.
Mr. Falana said the lawyers’ body, which should play a key role in helping to validate national elections, has a habit of using doctored names for its own internal polls.
In a letter to the Chairman of the NBA Electoral Committee, Okey Ameachi, Mr. Falana warned of legal action if the register was not published by 6 p.m. Sunday.
He accused the NBA of refusing to release the electoral register 48 hours to the election, despite promises by its leadership to make the list available.
Mr. Falana said he was forced to file a Freedom of Information, FOI, request for the record, after the irregularities that characterised the conduct of the NBA election in 2012.
“The voter register for the 2012 NBA election contained some fictitious names including the names of some of our colleagues who passed on several years ago,” he said. “With the connivance of the leadership of the NBA, those lawyers were allowed to vote from the grave!”
“Even though the credibility of the election was called to question, those who were genuinely dissatisfied with the fraudulent results were advised to allow sleeping dogs to lie,” Mr. Falana said.
He said just like in 2012, he has evidence to show that the 2014 register contains the name of some ineligible voter.
“I have drawn the attention of the secretary of the NBA Electoral Committee to the evidence at my disposal that the voter register compiled for the election contains names of many lawyers who are not qualified to vote.
“For instance, some concerned members of the NBA have reliably informed me that the list of the 47 delegates representing the Abuja branch of the NBA was compiled in utter breach of the Constitution of the NBA. I have equally confirmed that the list of co-opted members of the National Executive Committee of the NBA contains 135 names contrary to the clear provisions of the NBA Constitution,” said Mr. Falana.
He said this is not the first time he would confront the NBA to checkmate irregularities in the election process. The lawyer said in 1992, he secured a court order to stop the election when it became clear that the military junta of the day had perfected plans to impose their “stooges” in the leadership of the bar.
“Lawyers cannot afford to fix election results as they are entrusted with the responsibility of filing and defending election petitions in the country,” Mr. Falana said.