TINUBU: 93 SENIOR ADVOCATES SET FOR ELECTION PETITION FIREWORKS
No fewer than 93 Senior Advocates of Nigeria (SAN) are set to do legal battle in arguably the fiercest election petition trial in Nigeria’s modern history.
While the All Progressives Congress (APC) and its presidential candidate, Senator Bola Tinubu have both appointed their legal teams, only rival Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) presidential candidate and former Vice President, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar as well as populist Labour Party candidate, Mr. Peter Obi have named their legal teams. The PDP and Labour Party as well as the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) are yet to appoint their legal teams.
CITY LAWYER recalls that Tinubu was declared winner of the hotly contested presidential election by INEC, polling 8,794,726 votes. According to the results declared by INEC, Atiku polled 6,984,520 votes while his Labour Party counterpart polled 6,101,533 votes.
Obi had set the ball rolling with announcement of the appointment of a 12-member legal team. The team in order of seniority include Dr. Livy Uzoukwu (SAN); Chief Awa Kalu (SAN); Dr. Onyechi Ikpeazu (SAN); Chief Patrick Ikwueto (SAN); Chief Ben Anyachebe (SAN); Sebastine Hon (SAN); Chief Arthur Obi Okafor (SAN); Ikechukwu Ezechukwu (SAN); J. S. Okutepa (SAN); Dr. Mrs. Valerie Azinge (SAN); Emeka Okpoko (SAN); and Alex Ejesieme (SAN).
It was however unclear at press time whether Uzoukwu will operate both as Lead Counsel for Peter Obi and Labour Party, as the party also named him as its Lead Counsel. A statement by Dr. Tanko Yunusa of Labour Party Presidential Campaign Council reads:
“The legal team of the Peter OBI and Datti Baba Ahmed headed by Dr. Livy Uzoukwu SAN. The PCC Legal Directorate Headed by
- Victoria Shanti Esq.,
- Yakubu Saleh Bawa ESQ
Among the sixty members team are as follows.
- S. T. HON, SAN
- J. S. OKUTEPA, SAN
- OLUMIDE AYENI, SAN
- OLALEKAN OJO, SAN
- AUDU ANUGA, SAN
- PROF AGBO J. MADAKI, ESQ
- NGUEMU UJA, ESQ
- DAYO ASHOMIBARE, ESQ 7. F. N. OGBE, ESQ
- PRECIOUS AMUKPO, ESQ
- DAVID AGASHUA, ESQ
- MICHAELSON L. HON, ESQ 11. OLUSOLA EBISEMI
“They visited the INEC chairman in continuation of reclaiming the mandate of the 25th February elections.”
Atiku has named a 19-member team to wrestle the mandate from Tinubu who was declared President-elect by INEC. Led by fiery and experienced litigator, Chief Joe-Kyari Gadzama (SAN), other members of the team are Chief Chris Uche (SAN), Mr. Paul Usoro (SAN), Mr. Tayo Jegede (SAN), Mr. Ken Mozia (SAN), Chief Mike Ozekhome (SAN), Mahmood Magaji (SAN), Mr. Joe Abraham (SAN), Mr. Chukwuma Umeh (SAN), Dr. Garba Tetengi (SAN) and Chief Emeka Etiaba (SAN).
Others are Chief Goddy Uche (SAN), Prof. Maxwell Gidado (SAN); PDP National Legal Adviser, A. K. Ajibade (SAN), Mr. O. M. Atoyebi (SAN), Mrs. Nella Rabana (SAN), Mr. Paul Ogbole (SAN), Mr. Nureini Jimoh (SAN), and Mr. Abdul Ibrahim (SAN).
On its part, the ruling APC has named a 13-member legal team in an attempt to cement its victory at the poll as declared by INEC. Announcing the appointment, APC National Legal Adviser, Ahmad Usman El-Marzuq, wrote in a statement: “The All Progressives Congress (APC) has appointed a team of highly qualified and experienced lawyers to represent the party at the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal. The team is comprised of legal luminaries with vast experience in election petition matters, constitutional law, and litigation.”
The team is led by seasoned election petition trial lawyer, Prince Lateef Fagbemi (SAN). Aside from Ahmad Usman El-Marzuq, other members of the team are Sam Ologunorisa (SAN), Rotimi Oguneso (SAN), Olabisi Soyebo (SAN), Gboyega Oyewole (SAN), Muritala Abdulrasheed (SAN), Aliyu Omezia Saiki (SAN), Tajudeen Oladoja (SAN), Pius Akubo (SAN), Oluseye Opasanya (SAN), Suraju Saida (SAN), and Kazeem Adeniyi (SAN).
However, no sooner was the list made public than Akubo withdrew from the team, saying that he was not consulted before the appointment. In a disclaimer sighted by CITY LAWYER and personally signed by the senior lawyer, he wrote: “With all due respect, I wish to state that I had no prior knowledge of the said appointment. As a matter of fact, I have not received any official communication on the subject matter hitherto. Suffice it to say that I was taken by surprise to hear of the said appointment via social media.
“In the circumstance, and for personal reasons, I hereby decline the said appointment.”
CITY LAWYER also gathered from an unimpeachable source that longstanding Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) prosecutor at the Legal Practitioners Disciplinary Committee (LPDC), Mr. Jibrin Okutepa also turned down a similar offer. Okutepa was said to have been approached by the APC National Legal Adviser, Ahmad Usman El-Marzuq, but declined the offer because he “could not defend the victory.” It was unclear whether this informed a recent visit to his office by Obi.
Issuing a similar disclaimer, former NBA President, Dr. Olisa Agbakoba (SAN) wrote: “My attention has been drawn to an online fake news saying ‘Olisa Agbakoba declines invitation to join Tinubu legal team to challenge the election describing it as a battle of conscience and humanity!!!’ I was never approached by the Tinubu legal team to be part of their team.”
By far the largest legal team for the impending election petition tussle was raised by Tinubu with the appointment of a 50-member team led by Chief Wole Olanipekun (SAN), a former NBA President and current Chairman of the Body of Benchers.
Hinting that the 50-member team may have been enlarged to subsume the 13-member team earlier announced by the APC, APC Presidential Campaign Council spokesman Bisi Onanuga said: “The earlier list released by the APC partially just reflect the lawyers who will be involved in the case. It does not capture the full picture. I am aware, for instance, that Wole Olanipekun is the leader of the team. And of course, the man who has been representing Asiwaju all this while in the court, Babatunde Ogala (SAN), is also a member of the team.
“I am aware that what we have in the public arena is just a partial list. There is no conflict concerning it. But there is an ongoing move to harmonise the list as one. Altogether, I think there are about 50 of them in all.”
There are strong indications that barring any hiccup, INEC’s legal team for the titanic battle may be led by its longstanding and cerebral election petition trial lawyer, Prof. Paul Ananaba (SAN).
To join our Telegram platform, please click here
COPYRIGHT 2022 CITY LAWYER. Please send emails to email@example.com. Join us on Facebook at https://web.facebook.com/City-Lawyer-Magazine-434937936684320 and on TWITTER at https://twitter.com/CityLawyerMag. To ADVERTISE in CITY LAWYER, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 08138380083.
All materials available on this Website are protected by copyright, trade mark and other proprietary and intellectual property laws. You may not use any of our intellectual property rights without our express written consent or attribution to www.citylawyermag.com. However, you are permitted to print or save to your individual PC, tablet or storage extracts from this Website for your own personal non-commercial use.