President Muhammadu Buhari has appointed a former President of the Nigerian Bar Association, Chief Wole Olanipekun (SAN), to lead the team that will defend his mandate at the Presidential Election Tribunal.
Former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) who came second in the February 23 presidential poll had gone to court to challenge Buhari’s victory.
Olanipekun also led a team of lawyers in 2015 to defend Buhari when he was sued for his failure to provide his WAEC certificate.
Recall that Olanipekun is also the lead counsel for the suspended Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen, who is standing trial before the CCT for alleged non-declaration of assets.
Other members of Buhari’s nine-man defence team, according to a list exclusively obtained by THISDAY last night are Yusuf Alli, SAN, A.B. Mahmoud SAN, Funke Adekoya, SAN, Femi Atoyebi, SAN, Mike Igbokwe, SAN, Osa Egbobamien, SAN, Akin Osinbajo, SAN and Niyi Akintola, SAN.
Akin Osinbajo, a former Attorney-General of Ogun State is younger brother to the Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo.
The ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), has also constituted a nine-man team to the Presidential Election Tribunal, to be led by Lateef Fagbemi. Other members of the APC team are Alex Izinyon, SAN, Charles Edosonwan, SAN, Prof. Taiwo Osopitan, SAN, Y.C. Maikyau, SAN, Dr. Muiz Banire, SAN, Ibrahim Bawa, SAN, Benbella Anaechebe, SAN and Festus Keyamo, SAN.
Banire is the Chairman of the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria, while Keyamo is the spokesperson of the Buhari Campaign Organisation.
The source who revealed the list said: “We can’t joke with this case. This is why Mr. President and the APC decided to assemble a crack team. This is the biggest and most deadly squad ever assembled for an election petition case. We are more than ready to face Atiku.”