Chief Joe-Kyari Gadzama, SAN, on Wednesday, alleged that the recent election the Nigerian Bar Association, NBA, conducted to elect its national officers, was rigged.
Gadzama, SAN, who was the runner-up in the NBA presidential election, maintained that the technology the association adopted, “was highly vulnerable and most susceptible to electronic fraud, rigging and pre-programming of votes”.
Consequently, he asked the Electoral Committee of the NBA, ECNBA, to allow an immediate audit of the server that was used for the election.
It will be recalled that Mr. Yakubu Maikyau, SAN, was declared the winner of the presidential election the NBA conducted on July 16.
Maikyau, SAN, polled a total of 22, 342 votes to defeat his major challenger, Chief Gadzama, SAN, who got 10, 842 votes out of a total of 34, 564 votes that were cast for the position.
The 3rd contender for the NBA top position, Mr. Taidi Gunu, garnered 1, 380 votes, representing 4% of a total number of 34, 554 votes that were cast for the position.
While announcing the results, Chairman of the ECNBA, Mr Ayodele Akintunde, SAN, disclosed that out of a total of 59, 392 records of eligible voters from the NBA database, 59, 388 records were okayed to vote.
He added that while 1, 346 emails that were sent out to some of the eligible voters bounced back, only 34, 809 lawyers, representing 58. 61% of the membership strength of the association, participated in the election that was conducted electronically.
According to him, some of the compliants the ECNBA Secretariat received, included the inability of some lawyers to correctly input their Supreme Court Number, SCN, as instructed, wrong/invalid contact information, no voting links, as well as multiple email reminders.
However, in a press statement he issued on Wednesday, Gadzama, SAN, said his agent, Mr Andrew Madaki, who is an ICT expert, had before the conduct of the election, tested the vulnerability of the website that was used for the exercise- electionbuddy.com.
He said the outcome of Madaki’s investigation showed that the website was susceptible to manipulation.
“Thereafter, my agent and other agents present raised some of these concerns during the press briefing conducted by the ECNBA on the eve of the election.
“During the conduct of the election, my agent discovered numerous irregularities and expressed same by a letter sent via email to the ECNBA at 2:00 pm.
“In the email, he reported the frequent timeouts experienced by the site, lack of access to the backend of the server, lack of graphical representation of the results and ultimately requested to audit the election, which the ECNBA promised to provide immediately.
“After the conduct of the election, my agent sent a reminder to the ECNBA on Sunday, July 17, 2022 to audit the election and discover if there were more irregularities but same has not been provided by the ECNBA.
“After the conduct of the election, my agent engaged another IT specialist to test the server.
“The report of the specialist which was dated Monday, July 18, 2022 also shows that there is a high likelihood that the system could be hacked and manipulated.
“A follow-up report by my agent dated Wednesday, July 20, 2022 confirms that this occurrence was more than likely.
“I have been advised that this is why the percentage score among all the three Presidential candidates remained within the same range from the commencement of voting till the end.
“This, as I have been advised, is not human behavior but mechanical.
“It is important to re-iterate that auditing the election will permit independent parties and agents to discover if there were any technical interferences to usurp the will of the electorate.
“This access is expected to have been provided immediately after the conclusion of the poll to prevent any party from tampering with the system”.
More so, he alleged that list of IT experts the NBA engaged as consultants for the election, was manipulated.
“On the whole, and in view of the above facts and attached documents, it is clear that the technology adopted was highly vulnerable and most susceptible to electronic fraud, rigging and pre-programming of votes.
“I hereby call upon the ECNBA to allow an immediate audit of the election and server”, Gadzama stated.