-NEC kicks against e-voting, insists on voters’ physical presence
For the 93rd Annual National Conference of the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria, PSN, scheduled for 2 to 7 November to run successfully like previous ones in spite of the COVID-19 pandemic, the PSN President, Pharm. (Mazi) Sam Ohuabunwa has said it will hold as hybrid conference.
Ohuabunwa, through a mail made available to Pharmanewsonline explained reasons for the adoption of a hybrid conference, which is to allow participation physically and virtually, in line with the gradual opening of economy after the COVID-19 lockdown.
He however noted that participation in voting is restricted to only members that will be physically present at the conference in Osogbo, Osun State, as the NEC and Council of the PSN have ruled against the use of e-voting as proposed by some members.
The PSN President stated the reasons for the cancellation of e-voting by the NEC, saying most pharmacists could not meet up with financial requirement set up by NEC; and secondly constitutional concerns were raised against the e-voting proposal.
The statement reads in part: “Colleagues, our conference “Omoluabi 2020″ comes up in Osun State in about less than one month. I bless God for the sustained progress made in pushing back on the COVID-19 pandemic, warranting the opening up of places and our economy.
“Nevertheless, we will still go ahead with the hybrid conference to enable attendees to log in at their convenience.
“We had also planned to extend this participation to voting. This will come at a substantial cost due to the top-notch technology we planned to employ. That informed the permission of Council that a token of Five Thousand Naira (N5,000) and Two Thousand Naira (N2,000) be paid by Pharmacists and young Pharmacists respectively, who intend to vote remotely since the huge bill is hinged on the e-voting.
“I feel particularly pained that we have to reverse ourselves after an emergency meeting via zoom on Saturday 3rd October 2020. The first reason is up till the 30th of September, only payment of about 30 persons have been received, showing the poor acceptability of the proposal. Second, we received a letter raising constitution concerns about the proposed e-voting. I have also read comments on our social media platforms towing the same line.
“In as much as these concerns are already addressed in the amended Constitution, which I am optimistic AGM will adopt before the commencement of voting, and PSN protected as a registered legal entity by pronouncements of the Federal Government of Nigeria to suit the new normal, we considered it unnecessary to overheat the system.
“Third, the PSN will not be comfortable to make the huge investment, which runs into tens of millions on a voting system that may fail on the floor of the AGM. AGM is supreme and we will never take you for granted”, he quipped.
On the recently approved Scheme of Service for Pharmacy Consultancy Cadre in the Federal Civil/Public Service, he said the approval has come to stay as anyone who kicks against it will have himself to blame.