Crisis rocks computer registration council over annulled election

All seems not well with the Computer Professionals Registration Council of Nigeria (CPN) as concerned parties have kicked against the cancellation of the body’s election held on April 8 and the rescheduled poll slated for May 6.

The council’s electoral committee, which is headed by a lecturer at the Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Ile-Ife, Abimbola Soriyan, a professor, has been accused of compromising the process.

The electoral committee was said to have annulled the poll conducted virtually after the winners had emerged, which held after a series of activities lined up in the election timetable had successfully held.

The purported winner of the April 18 poll, Afolayan Obiniyi, a professor of computer science at Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria, told PREMIUM TIMES on the phone that the decision to annul the election as an afterthought and an attempt towards working against his interest.

He said; “I was not informed of the cancellation until the information started filtering in very late in the night of the election. They claimed the database was compromised and I asked by who?”

Another member of the council who does not want to be mentioned said efforts were being made to address the issues “in order not to drag the council’s name in the mud.”

The source, however decried the development, describing it as a result of desperation of a few.

A purported screenshot of the result of the April 8 election which was shared with PREMIUM TIMES revealed that Mr Obiniyi polled 285 of the 341 total votes cast, amounting to 83.6 per cent of the votes.

His opponent, and an outgoing vice-president, Kole Jagun, scored 56 out of 341, amounting to 16.4 per cent of the total votes cast.

The position of the vice president, which is the second vacant position, was contested unopposed by Eyo Essien. The candidate was said to have scored 182 votes, amounting to 100 per cent of those who voted in the category.

When confronted with the fact of the result, electoral committee chairman did not deny its existence but insisted that she was not in the best position to speak on the matter.

She told our reporter on the phone that only the leadership of the council could speak on the development.

Meanwhile, both the registrar and the outgoing president of the council, Aliyu Mohammed and Charles Uwadia respectively, neither picked several calls to their telephone lines nor replied messages sent to them.

Group wades in

Meanwhile, a non-governmental organisation, Lygel Youths and Leadership Initiative (LYLI) has petitioned the electoral committee and sent copies to both the outgoing president and the council’s registrar, accusing the committee of committing illegality.

The group, which claims that though it is neither a party to the election nor a member of the council, said it has vested interest in good leadership, public accountability and professionalism.

“Nevertheless, the organisation through research, advocacy, public education on the above objectives, is imposed with the mandate to speak and address relevant issues for the public concern,” it said, adding that its intervention is “predicated on the need to see that justice is done in all cases of public interest.”

The letter, which is dated April 25 and signed by its director of legal and compliance unit, Olalekan Oladapo, is titled; “Computer Professionals (Registration Council of Nigeria- CPN), April 2021 Election into the Council’s Offices – the Attending Illegal Abortion, Travesty of Justice: Our Concern.”

The letter noted that the reasons advanced by the electoral committee for the annulment of the election were that the election was test run and that it was also compromised at the same time.

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The group said having followed the process from the opening of campaign till the day of the election, and based on the electoral guidelines set by the same committee, there was nowhere it was stated that the poll held on April 8 was a test run, and that the claim that the process was compromised was self-indicting.

The petition reads in part; “Sequel to the guidelines of the election, your committee within your mandate did set up a Timetable for the conduct of the election, which ran from the 21st February 2021 to April 8th 2021. The Timetable highlighted the activities from (i) the publication of vacant positions to the (ii) announcement of the result and (iii) the acceptance speech of the winner of the election. It is incontrovertible facts and based on record that the timetable was followed religiously from the beginning to the end, save for the declaration of the winner and the acceptance speech that were not complied with by your committee, after the emergence of the winners.”

“Be that as it is may, the election that was electronically conducted and managed by your committee consequently produced its result and the winners eventually emerged on the basis of the pattern of voting of the accredited voters as follows; Kole Jagun- 56 of 16.4% of total votes scored for the office of the president while Prof Afolayan Obiniyi’s 285 amounted to 83.6% of total votes for the office of the president of the Council and Dr. Eyo Effiong Essien’s 182 votes represented 100% of the total votes for the position of the Vice-President of the Council. It was based on this that Prof Afolayan Obiniyi won with 83.6% total votes scored to emerge as the president.”

The group has, therefore, called on the electoral committee to declare the winners of the election held on April 8 and ensure their proper swearing-in.

It also called for the cancellation of the scheduled election, saying as a body of professionals, Nigeria has so much to learn from the council.

We received no petition –Soriyan

But the chairman of the electoral committee has said her office has not received any petition from any group.

Mrs Soriyan, while speaking on the telephone with our reporter, said; “No petition has been submitted to us. But we can also not comment on this matter. It is only the council that is empowered to make any comment.”

She said either the outgoing president or the registrar should be contacted for their comments. But none of the duo neither picked our reporter’s call nor responded to the short messages sent to their mobile telephone lines.

Council holds reconciliation meeting

Meanwhile, till around 11 p.m on Monday, ‘stakeholders’ within the council were in a prolonged reconciliation meeting in Abuja, the federal capital territory.

In attendance at the meeting were the outgoing president, the council’s registrar and the candidates.

The resolution of the peace parley, PREMIUM TIMES learnt was to ensure the rescheduled election holds and that whoever emerges be accepted as the duly elected president and chairman-in-council.

Speaking on the new development, Mr Obiniyi called on his supporters to abide by the decision of the council for the sake of unity and progress.

He urged all critical stakeholders to see his vision for the council and ensure his victory at the rescheduled poll slated for Thursday.

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