The former President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Wole Olanipekun, SAN, and 49 other lawyers have offered to defend the victory of President-elect, Bola Tinubu, at the Presidential Election Tribunal.
It was gathered that Olanipekun would lead the 50 SANs to defend Tinubu’s victory at the tribunal.
Some of the legal luminaries were said to have opted for free service to actualise the President-elect’s mandate.
It was learned that a few of the lawyers joined the team on the conviction that the February 25, 2023, presidential election was the “freest and fairest” in Nigeria.
Olanipekun and other lawyers are waiting to be served with the petitions of the candidates of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar, and Peter Obi the Labour Party (LP).
Both opposition candidates have registered their displeasure with the declaration of the All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate as the winner of the just concluded presidential poll.
Tinubu polled 8,794,726 votes to defeat Atiku, who came second with 6,984,520 votes, while Obi garnered 6,101,533 votes to occupy the third position.
Atiku and Obi have however sought leave of the tribunal to inspect some election materials used for the poll.
It was further gathered that the members of the Tinubu legal team would hold their preliminary meeting today (Tuesday) in Lagos, where they would discuss some of the issues in the public domain which may be included in the petitions of the PDP and the LP.
A source, who spoke in confidence, said: “Buoyed by patriotism and the need to protect the sanctity of the ballot, about 50 SANs have signed up to defend the mandate of Asiwaju Tinubu. The figure may be more in the next few days.
“Some of these legal giants have either not met with Tinubu or seeking any favour from him. They believe that the February 25 poll was credible and the best in the history of Nigeria.”
“In spite of the noise in the media, both Atiku and Obi have not served Tinubu and APC a copy of any petition before the Presidential Election Petitions Tribunal.
“But the defence team of Tinubu will meet on Tuesday (today) in Lagos ahead of allowing Atiku and Obi to get their acts together,” the source told The Nation.
Some of the senior lawyers to defend Tinubu’s mandate include a former Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Akin Olujimi, Yusuf Ali, Lateef Fagbemi, A.U. Mustapha, Ahmed Raji, Abiodun Owonikoko, Kemi Pinheiro, Niyi Akintola, and H.M. Liman.
Others are Taiwo Osipitan, Babatunde Ogala, Roland Otaru, James Onoja, Muiz Banire, Olusola Oke, and a former Bauchi State Governor, Mohammed Abubakar, among others.