Poll: Tinubu, Atiku, Obi parade 51 SANs for legal battle - Uju Ayalogu's Blog for News, Reviews, Articles and More

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Wednesday 8 March 2023

Poll: Tinubu, Atiku, Obi parade 51 SANs for legal battle

Poll: Tinubu, Atiku, Obi parade 51 SANs for legal battle

The legal tussle between the Labour Party, Peoples Democratic Party and the ruling All Progressives Congress over the outcome of the February 25 presidential election took a new dimension following the report that a combined team of 51 Senior Advocates of Nigeria had been engaged by the trio.

Sources within the camps of the warring political parties said that the array of legal luminaries, drawn from different chambers, were presently being furnished with materials that could be tendered as evidence in court.

The PUNCH reported that the President-elect and candidate of the APC, Bola Tinubu, was announced the winner of the keenly contested election last Wednesday.

The former Lagos governor polled 8,794,726 votes to defeat the Peoples Democratic Party candidate, Atiku Abubakar, and the LP flag bearer, who got 6,984,520 and 6,101,533 votes respectively.

But Atiku and Obi rejected the results announced by the Independent National Electoral Commission, with each claiming at separate press conferences that the election was fraught with violence and massive rigging.

The drama took a twist last Friday when the two major opposition candidates were reported to have approached the court to seek permission for the inspection of election materials used during the poll.

A few days later, Tinubu’s camp also sought the court’s permission to have access to examine the said electoral materials for the alleged illegality by the opposition.

In an exclusive interview with our correspondent, the National Secretary of the Labour Party, Umar Farouk, stated that some of the legal counsels had willingly expressed their interest in joining the legal battle to prove Obi’s case.

While disclosing that INEC had lost its independence through its alleged collusion with the ruling APC by giving victory to Tinubu, Farouk said the LP’s hope was vested in the judiciary to do the needful.

“We have more than 20 SANs that are willing to participate and offer their services for the renewal and emergence of a new Nigeria. As I am talking to you, our lawyers are working on it.

“But this is not something we can discuss on the pages of a newspaper. All I can tell you is that we have started ‘trekking’ to the court,” he said,

Some high-ranking counsels in Obi’s legal team have been identified as Dr Livy Uzoukwu; Chief Awa Kalu; Dr Onyechi Ikpeazu; P.I.N. Ikwueto; Chief Ben Anyachebe; S.T. Hon; Arthur Obi Okafor; Ik Ezechukwu; J.S. Okutepa; Dr Mrs Valerie Azinge; Emeka Okpoko and Alex Ejesieme.

Atiku’s legal team, on the other hand, was led by a renowned Senior Advocate of Nigeria and 18 other SANs.

They include Chris Uche, Paul Usoro, Tayo Jegede, Ken Mozia, Mike Ozekhome, Mahmood Magaji, Joe Abraham, Chukwuma Umeh, Garba Tetengi and Emeka Etiaba.

Others are Chief Goddy Uche, Prof. Maxwell Gidado; the National Legal Adviser of the PDP, A. Ajibade, Mr O. Atoyebi, Mrs. Nella Rabana, Paul Ogbole, Nuremi Jimoh, and Abdul Ibrahim.

While justifying the engagement of the law practitioners, Atiku’s Special Assistant on Public Communication, Phrank Shaibu, stated that it was imperative they work assiduously towards reclaiming the former president’s mandate, not necessarily because of him (Atiku) and the PDP, but to strengthen democracy for the ‘generations unborn.”

As expected, the APC was not prepared to be caught in the dragnet of the two aggrieved opposition parties following their spirited efforts to reclaim their ‘stolen mandate.’

On Tuesday, the ruling party also announced the appointment of a crack team of experienced lawyers to defend the president-elect on the alleged case of rigging at the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal.

The legal team consisted of 12 Senior Advocates of Nigeria and the National Legal Adviser of the Party, Ahmad Usman El-Marzuq (Esq.).

A statement issued by APC National Legal Adviser, Ahmad El-Marzuq, and titled “APC Appoints Presidential Election Petition Legal Team” stated that the legal luminaries were carefully selected characters with vast experience in election petition matters, constitutional law, and litigation.

Their appointment was announced a few days after the chief spokesman of the Tinubu-Shettima Presidential Campaign Council, Festus Keyamo, said that Tinubu and his camp would not be intimidated by the legal threat of the opposition.

El-Marzuq also disclosed that the team of SANs would be led by Prince Lateef Fagbemi, a renowned lawyer who has successfully handled various high-profile election matters and other landmark cases.

Others are Sam Ologunorisa, Murtala Abdulrasheed, Rotimi Ogunesom Olabisi Soyebo, Gboyega Oyebowale, Pius Akubo, Aliyu Saiki, Oluseye Opasanya, Tajudeen Oladoja, Kazeem Adeniyi and Suraju Saida

The statement read, “We are confident that the legal team possesses the requisite expertise and experience to ensure a successful outcome for the APC in the Presidential Election Petition matters.

“We urge members of the Party to support the team in its effort to defend the will and mandate of the people. We also call on all parties involved to conduct themselves with the utmost professionalism and respect for the rule of law throughout the legal process.”

READ ALSO:  Chatham House rejects Tinubu’s victory, says INEC has not leant any lesson, flouted it’s own guidelines

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