Last month, a Facebook Poll was organized by Steve Sun on a page named “Nigerian Bar Association Members” where he acts as the sole Admin and who as at that time had not openly declared his support or intention to support any aspirant running for the office of the President of the Nigerian Bar Association.

At the conclusion of that online poll, Steve Sun announced that another presidential poll will be conducted on February 14, 2020 and as a keen observer of the poll that lasted for four days, these are my takeaway based on the conducts of the candidates.

    The proponent of #RadicalBar in the last online poll came last and one would presume that his radicality would have brought him supporters but alas, he came last for the second time in the just concluded poll.
    If Mr. Ogunlana intends to as a matter of fact, contest for the office of the President of the Nigerian Bar Association, he has to re-strategize, reach out to people and show that he is in the race to win.
    Mr. Akpata considered a formidable candidate did not have a smooth sail with Dr. Ajibade leading in the just concluded online poll, though his camp may have lost confidence and decided not to see the end of the poll due to the shenanigans recorded by the organizer of the poll when Deacon Adeshina’s votes were rapidly increasing.
    Akpata although still a candidate to look out for, needs to realize that the game has changed as Dr. Ajibade has gained ground amongst the members of the bar particularly the young lawyers who see him as a breath of fresh air.
    Dr. Ajibade who is seen as a breath of fresh air by members of the bar, has continued to show that he is ready, able and capable of contesting for the office of the President of the Nigerian Bar Association. Like in the previous online poll, the votes Dr. Ajibade garnered in the just concluded online poll has shown that he can indeed win this election if same is free and fair even over and above the adopted candidate by a fraction of the Egbe Amofin Community.
    Dr. Ajibade has proved to gain ground in the presidential race. He even surpassed with wide margin Mr. Olumide, who has always assumed to have young lawyers at his corner as result of the benefits enjoyed from his deep pockets. More so, Dr. Ajibade has in recent times, been considered and has in reality demonstrated to be more popular and formidable than the Egbe Amofin’s adopted candidate, having secured over 300 legitimate votes even after it was alleged and discovered that Deacon Adeshina’s votes were cast by non-lawyers, Dr. Ajibade being a man of integrity and high moral standards refused to compromise the process.
    This should serve as a sign to the Egbe Amofin Community that the era of adoption of candidate is truly over. However, his team must continue to revamp their strategy and create more online presence while spreading his United Bar message.
    Deacon Adesina’s sudden emergence and performance at the polls was not without shenanigans and was not also unexpected as it is alleged that the organizer of the online poll, Steve Sun is an avid supporter of his.
    Seeing that Dr. Ajibade was leading in the poll, supporters of Deacon resorted to comprising the poll by allowing and inviting non-lawyers to participate and vote for him in the poll in bid to increasing the low number of votes he had secured.
    It was also alleged and discovered that over 50% verified votes Deacon secured were from non lawyers, this attempt is highly condemnable.
    The desperation exerted by Deacon’s team was undeniable as he was caught casting his vote via his two Facebook accounts. It was also alleged and recorded that Steve Sun rejected and delayed request of legitimate lawyers from accessing the poll all in bid to favouring his Candidate.

Deacon Adesina’s camp must realize that though it may seem as though they had the highest number of votes, compromised win is no victory at all.
Knowing full well that their compromised victory cannot stand, his camp have rejected another ongoing poll conducted by a neutral group which they have no access to manipulate even after voting in the poll citing a flimsy excuse.
If truly he is popular as they want to make the public believe, let him subject himself to an objective poll conducted by credible people and not his supporters on his payroll and the outcome will truly show the obvious truth that the younger folks who will determine the outcome of this election are not disposed to having an endorsed candidate as power truly belongs to the people and not regional blocs or power groups that have held the Bar to ransom over the years.

In conclusion, the online poll though may have no recognition from the NBA, but it has revealed the extent at which people are willing to compromise in getting support for their preferred Candidate for the president of the Nigerian Bar Association. I therefore, call on the organizers of the election into the different offices of the NBA to ensure that we have a free and fair election and the show of shame witnessed in the online poll should not be recorded.

Sopuru Obeke Esq writes from Akwa Ibom

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