PDP’s Presidential candidate Atiku Abubakar’s legal team comprises of 19 Senior Advocates of Nigeria (SAN). The list of SANs includes Chris Uche, Paul Usoro, Tayo Jegede, Ken Mozia, Mahmood Magaji, Mike Ozekhome, Joe Abraham, Garba Tetengi Chukwuma Umeh, Emeka Etiaba, Goddy Uche, Professor Maxwell Gidado, A.K. Ajibade, O.M. Atoyebi, Nella Rabana, Paul Ogbole, Nuremi Jimoh, and Abdul Ibrahim.
Atiku Abubakar, the presidential candidate for the People’s Democratic Party, is no stranger to the courtroom. Through his many court cases, the former Vice President of Nigeria has been a strong voice in the country’s legal system. For this important reason, he is well-prepared for the 2023 presidential election petition that is currently being heard in Nigeria’s Supreme Court.
Atiku has chosen to go with an all-star team of 19 legal minds made up of SANs, lawyers, and other legal practitioners. At the PDP campaign headquarters in Abuja, the former Vice President named his team of lawyers.
Why is Atiku Appearing in Court?
It was determined that Bola Tinubu, who was running as the candidate for the All Progressives Congress (APC), emerged victorious in the presidential election that took place on February 25, 2022. Mahmood Yakubu, the chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), announced the results in the early hours of Wednesday 29 February 2023. Atiku Abubakar of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) got 6,984,520 votes, and Peter Obi of the Labour Party (LP) got 6,101,533 votes. The declared winner, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, got 8,794,726 votes.
Not satisfied with the election result the Labour Party’s presidential candidate Peter Obi as well as PDP’s candidate Alhaji Atiku Abubakar had laid claims that the election was fraudulently conducted and therefore, would seek redress via legal means.
List of Lawyers in Atiku Abubakar’s Legal Team
To contest the election result at the supreme court of justice, Atiku hired a legal team consisting of 19 Senior Advocates of Nigeria. Atiku claimed that the SANs are already on the ground to take up the issue. Below is a complete list of SANs named in Atiku Abubakar’s legal team. The lead counsel on Atiku Abubakar’s team is JK Gadzama.
1. JK Gadzama (SAN) is the Leader of the Atiku Abubakar’s Legal Team
- Date of Birth: 28 November 1961
- Age: 61 years old
- Alma Mater: University of Maiduguri, Oxford University
Chief Joe-Kyari Gadzama is by all means one of Nigeria’s highly regarded lawyers. He has for several decades been an external solicitor to several Merchants; an adviser to major multinational corporations, indigenous companies, organizations, and a network of high net-worth individuals in Nigeria. To crown it all, he was the lead Counsel to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in some previous electoral disputes.
In addition to being an experienced commercial and litigation lawyer, he is a well-respected international arbitrator, scholar, author, publisher, and “life judge.” While he was born in Mubi, Adamawa State, on November 28, 1961, his family is originally from Lassa, which is located in the Askira/Uba Local Government Area of Borno State, Nigeria.
In 1986, he was called to the Nigerian Bar, and in 2008, he was admitted to the Bar of England and Wales (Lincoln’s Inn) in the United Kingdom. His promotion to the prestigious rank of Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) took place in the year 1998.
Intercontinental Finance Magazine (ICFM) ranked Chief Gadzama as one of the top 500 attorneys in the world in 2015. His strong Anti-corruption record earned him an appointment as Chairman of, the Legal Team of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and Chairman, of the National Working Group on the Rome Statute constituted by the office of the Hon. A-G of the Federation.
Until recently, Chief Joe-Kyari Gadzama was a Federal Commissioner and Board Member of the Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission of Nigeria (ICRC); Board Member, Diamond Pension Fund Custodian, and Board Member of the University of Benin Governing Council.
2. Chief Paul Usoro (SAN)
- Date of Birth: 7 September 1958
- Age: 64 years old
- Alma Mater: Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife
Chief Paul Usoro, SAN, is a well-known lawyer and expert in communication law in Nigeria. He has also served as the president of the Nigerian Bar Association. Usoro was born on September 7, 1958, in the town of Ukana Ikot Ntuen, which is located in the Essien Udim local government area of Akwa Ibom State in the south-south region of Nigeria.
In 1981, he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in law from Obafemi Awolowo University in Ile-Ife, which is located in Osun State. He was admitted to the bar the following year, in 1982. In 1985, he founded his own law firm called Paul Usoro and Co in Kaduna. Now with over 30 years of law practice experience, he is acknowledged as a highly experienced litigator and communication law expert.
A member of the National Judicial Council and Body of Benchers, Paul Usoro was a two-year term President of the Nigerian Bar Association. He became a member of the NBA Board in January 2014 and currently chairs the Board Human Resources and Sustainability Committee and Board Technical Committee on Retail Expansion. He is also a Fellow, of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators ( FCIArb). In 2003, Paul was conferred with the rank of Senior Advocate of Nigeria.
3. Eyitayo Jegede (SAN)
- Alma Mater: University of Lagos
Lawyer and politician Eyitayo Jegede is running for governor of Ondo State as the candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in the 2023 elections. Jegede has been in charge of some aspects of the state’s operations for a number of years at this point, despite the fact that this will be his first time running for governor.
Dr. Olusegun Mimiko, who had served as the governor of Ondo State before, gave him the appointment of the honorable attorney general and commissioner for justice in the state in 2009. In 1992, the Chief Justice of Nigeria appointed Eyitayo Jegede as a notary public.
After working for the law office of Murtala Aminu & Co. Yola for more than a decade, he went on to create his own legal practice, Tayo Jegede & Co., in the year 1996. Up until 2009, he was in charge of the Tayo Jegede & Co. offices in both Abuja and Yola. In 2009, he was appointed to the position of Chief Law Officer in Ondo State. On the 16th of December 2008, Eyitayo Jegede was honored as Senior Advocate of Nigeria.
4. Kenneth E. Mozia (SAN)
- Alma Mater: University of Lagos
Kenneth E. Mozia is an attorney who specializes in the following areas of law: civil and commercial litigation; arbitration; election petitions; appeals; banking and finance; administrative and constitutional law litigation; energy (oil and gas); real estate; public interest litigation; international contract financing; and labor law. This is an indication of his diverse expertise.
His list of professional credentials includes Notary Public (1986), Barrister and Solicitor (B.L.) from the Body of Benchers (1978), and Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN – 2010).
5. Chief Mike Ozekhome (SAN)
- Date of Birth: 15 October 1957
- Age: 65 years old
- Alma Mater: Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife
Mike Agbedor Abu Ozekhome (SAN) is a human rights activist and lawyer who has attained the status of Senior Advocate of Nigeria. He is well-known as a pro-democracy campaigner, Author, Social Justice Crusader, Notary Public of Nigeria, Knight of the Order of St. Mulumba (KSM), Motivational Speaker, and Public Affairs Analyst.
Mike an indigene of Iviukwe town in Etsako East Local Government Area of Edo state, Nigeria, graduated with a Bachelor of Laws degree (LL.B.) in 1980 from Obafemi Awolowo University in Ile-Ife. He became a Barrister-at-Law in 1981 after graduating from the Nigerian Law School, Victoria Island, Lagos.
Fondly called “Ozek Baba” and “Mobile Dictionary” by Late Chief Gani Fawehninmi for his advocacy skills, sheer brilliance, lucidity and clarity of thought, scholastic disposition, and rich vocabulary in the English language, Ozekhome went back to Obafemi Awolowo University to complete the requirements for his Master of Laws (LLM) degree, which he was awarded in 1983. In 1986, he established Mike Ozekhome’s Chambers.
As a seasoned Constitutional lawyer, High Chief Mike Ozekhome has handled and participated in many sensitive cases that have shaped Nigerian Legal jurisprudence and enthroned Human Rights, Democracy, and the Rule of Law. A few of them include the Oil Subsidy case, the Gani Fawehinmi “Gwagwalada five” case, the Nzeribe vs Senate case, the ICPC vs senate case, and, of course, President Ibrahim Babangida case.
In 2010, he was one of 19 senior legal practitioners in Nigeria to be awarded the honor of Senior Advocate of Nigeria by the Legal Practitioners’ Privileges Committee. The same year, he was a member of the “Monitoring and Observation Board” by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to monitor and observe the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Area Council Elections which were adjudged to have been free, fair, and credible.
6. Mr Chukwuma Umeh (SAN)
- Full Name: Chukwuma Machuku Ume
- Date of Birth: 16 October 1957
- Age: 65 years old
- Alma Mater: University of Jos
Mr. Chukwuma Umeh (SAN) was a member of the legal team that represented Nnamdi Kanu in the past. He hails from Imo state and was notably known for his service as attorney general and commissioner of justice in Imo State.
Ume who graduated from the University of Jos where he obtained his Bachelor of Law (LLB) degree, began practicing his career after graduating from law school in Lagos state. His several decades of experience as a lawyer have seen him handle many sensitive cases including the case between the Nigerian government and the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB).
In March 2022, he was hired by the IPOB leader Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, to join the legal team defending him in the 15-count amended charge preferred against him at the Federal High Court, Abuja.
7. Dr. Garba Tetengi (SAN)
- Full Name: Dr. Garba Usman Tetengi
- Date of Birth: 2nd November 1963
- Age: 59 years old
- Alma Mater: Ahmadu Bello University, University of Jos
Best known for his laudable contribution and selfless service to the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) and the legal profession, particularly in the field of advocacy, Dr. Tetengi hails from Jos, the Plateau state capital. He obtained his law degree from Ahamadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria in 1984 and was called to the Bar in 1985. He later proceeded to the University of Jos, where he obtained his LL.M. and Ph.D. in 1989 and 2000 respectively.
Garba was the legal advisor and vice president of the Alumni Association of the prestigious National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies. In 2012, he was given the title of Senior Advocate of Nigeria and between 2013 and 2017, he was appointed by the Jonathan Administration as a Member Governing Council of the University of Lagos.
At that time, he gained valuable legal experience. He is a member of the African Bar Association, the International Bar Association, the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators of Nigeria (UK), and the Institute of Dispute Resolution in Nigeria, in addition to being a Notary Public. Above all, he is a member of the Body of Benchers, the highest body of distinction in the Legal Profession in Nigeria.
8. Chief Emeka Etiaba (SAN)
- Alma Mater: University of Jos, Nigerian Law School, Lagos
Chief Emeka Etiaba received his education at the University of Jos in Plateau State between 1983 and 1988. After two years of studying political science, he switched to studying law in 1985 because he loved it. He was a student at the Nigerian Law School during the years 1988 and 1989.
The Anambra state-born lawyer completed his court attachment at the office of the Chief Judge of the Lagos State Court (Justice S. Ilori’s Court) in Ikeja, Lagos, and his chambers attachment with the late Chief Chike Chigbue S.A.N. He served in the Chambers of Chief Olisaeloka Osuigwe in Nnewi for his N.Y.S.C. and restored his late father’s Chambers, which was shut down at his passing in 1987.
In 2015, he was bestowed with the title of Senior Advocate of Nigeria- a rank he applied for five times before he was eventually successful. He was one of the 21 Senior Advocates of Nigeria (SAN) that were sworn in by the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Mahmud Mohammed on Monday, September 21, 2015, at the Supreme Court of Nigeria, Abuja.
Prior to his appointment, Chief Emeka Etiaba contested for the governorship of Anambra State in 2013 and although he lost to his opposition party, APGA, he is still very much active in politics. In 2018, he was appointed by Anambra State governor Chief Willie Obiano, to chair the Board of the State Housing Development Corporation
9. Chief Gordy Uche (SAN)
Gordy Uche, who has the title of SAN, has an extensive legal pedigree. His mother served as the interim Chief Judge of the Abia State High Court until she resigned, and his older brother, Chief Chris Uche, SAN, is a lawyer who practices in Abuja. He is an experienced attorney who got his start in the legal field many years ago.
He has achieved the status of fellow with the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators in Nigeria and his many years of experience as a lawyer has seen him handle sensitive cases such as the electoral case between Okezie Ikpeazu and Alex Otti, and the controversial case between the Nigerian government and Senator Adolphus Wabara.
10. Prof. Maxwell Gidado (SAN)
- Full name: Prof. Maxwell Michael Gidado
- Date of Birth: 11 February 1960
- Age: 53 years old
- Alma Mater: University of Maiduguri, University of Warwick
Prof. Maxwell Gidado (SAN), is the Chief of Staff of His Excellency, Rt. Hon. Ahmadu Umaru Fintiri, the Executive Governor of Adamawa State – a position the veteran lecturer was appointed to by his longtime friend, the governor of Adamawa state.
He has worked as a lecturer at both Nasarawa State University and the University of Maiduguri. In July 2020, Maxwell Gidado was appointed member of the Governing Council of the American University of Nigeria (AUN). He has made four major court appearances, including Cameroon vs. Nigeria ICJ (2002) – (The Bakasi Case).
11. A.K. Ajibade
- Full Name: Barrister Adeyemi Kamaldeen Ajibade
- Alma Mater: Ahmadu Bello University
In 1989, he established his own legal practice, which he named A.K. Ajibade & Associates. Ajibade worked exclusively in private practice up until 2007 when the government of Kwara State gave him a political appointment as a senior assistant on legal affairs under the administration of former governor Bukola Saraki. Since that time, Ajibade has been serving in government.
In 2011, he was also given the job of Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice of the State. However, this position was taken away from him after only three months because his boss’s term ended in May. When Governor Abdulfattah Ahmed’s government took control, they honored his previous appointment by giving him another term in the same role.
12. Mr. O. M. Atoyebi (SAN)
- Full Name: Mr. Oyetola Muyiwa Atoyebi
- Date of Birth: 1985
- Age: 53 years old
- Alma Mater: University of Ilorin
Mr. O. M. Atoyebi (SAN) remains the youngest Nigerian to ever be elevated to the position of Senior Advocate of Nigeria. He achieved this feat back in 2019 at the age of 34, having previously been called to the bar in 2008.
Mr. Atoyebi has expertise in and vast knowledge of International Humanitarian Law Practice and this has seen him represent and advise his vast clientele in a myriad of high-level transactions. He holds the honor of being the youngest lawyer in Nigeria’s history to be conferred with the rank of Senior Advocate of Nigeria
13. Mrs. Nella Rabana (SAN)
- Full Name: Nella Andem-Ewa Rabana
- Alma Mater: University of Calabar, University of Lagos
Lexglobal Partners, LP is a well-known law firm and consulting company with offices in Calabar and Abuja, Nigeria. The firm’s main partner is Nella Andem-Ewa Rabana, SAN, FCI-Arb, who is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators. As an Executive Chairperson, she is also in charge of Sonergy Resources.
Between the years 1999 and 2003, Nella served as the Attorney General of Cross River State, and during that time she made history by being the first African woman to appear before the International Court of Justice as a lawyer. She was made a Life Bencher of the Body of Benchers in 2009 after being promoted to the rank of Senior Advocate of Nigeria the same year.
14. Paul Ogbole (SAN)
- Full Name: Paul Harris Ogbole
- Alma Mater: University of Jos
P.H. Ogbole (SAN) & Co. is a cutting-edge law firm with offices in Wuse II, Abuja. Paul Harris Ogbole, SAN, serves as the principal partner of P.H. Ogbole, SAN, & Co.
In addition to being a notary public and a fellow of the Institute of Chartered Mediators and Conciliators (ICMC), he is on the governing board of the ICMC. He was given the highly respected title of Senior Advocate of Nigeria in 2019.
15. Nuremi Jimoh (SAN)
- Full Name: Nureini Soladoye Jimoh
- Alma Mater: University of Benin, Bayero University
Nureini Soladoye Jimoh (SAN) is well-known in Kano’s legal community, where he is regarded as an excellent lawyer. He represented the governors of the states of Yobe, Jigawa, Niger, Kano, and Oyo in a number of challenging legal cases. He continues to represent prominent Nigerians and even judges in cases that are brought before the high courts, the Sharia Court of Appeal, and the Court of Appeal in Nigeria.
16. Chief Chris Uche (SAN)
- Alma Mater: University of Lagos, Nigerian Law School, Lagos
Chris Uche, SAN, is thought to be one of the best lawyers in all of Nigeria by most people. He has almost three decades of professional expertise. Many people think that his law office in Abuja is one of the most successful in the country.
In 2003, he was given the title of Senior Advocate of Nigeria because of all the great work he had done in the field of law. He has been involved in a number of high-profile cases, many of which were done for free and were of national interest and constitutional importance. These cases have had a big impact on the way human rights, constitutional law, and electoral politics have changed over time.
A member of the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the NBA from 1988 up till 1992, Chris was also a member of the High Court Rules Review Committee as well as the Vice Chairman of the Section on Legal Practice of the Nigerian Bar Association.
17. Abdul Ibrahim (SAN)
- Full Name: Abdul Ibrahim
- Date of Birth: 9 November 1967
- Age: 55 years old
- Alma Mater: Ahmadu Bello University
Abdul Atadoga Ibrahim, SAN, was born on November 9th, 1967, in Idah Kogi State, Nigeria. His full name is Abdul Atadoga Ibrahim, SAN. He went to Ahmadu Bello University in Zaria and got a Bachelor of Law in 1989. In 1990, he graduated from the Nigerian Law School in Lagos and was subsequently called to bar. In 2004, he became a notary public. In 2017, he was elevated to the rank of Senior Advocate of Nigeria and in 2018, he became a Fellow Chartered Mediator.
18. Mahmood Abubakar Magaji (SAN)
In 2012, Mahmood Magaji became the first indigenous person from the Federal Capital Territory to be appointed to the position of Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN). In the year 2022, the Senate gave its approval to Mahmud Magaji SAN’s nomination for appointment to the position of member of the Federal Judicial Service Commission (FJSC).
19. Joe Abraham (SAN)
Joe Abraham, SAN, is a lawyer who is from the Igala tribe and was born in Kogi State. In 2013, when he was working as Kogi State Commissioner for Justice and Attorney General, he was given the distinction of being elevated to the position of Senior Advocate of Nigeria.
List of SANs and Lawyers in Atiku Abubakar’s Legal Team
- Chris Uche
- Paul Usoro
- Tayo Jegede
- Ken Mozia,
- Mahmood Magaji,
- Mike Ozekhome,
- Joe Abraham,
- Garba Tetengi Chukwuma Umeh,
- Emeka Etiaba
- Goddy Uche
- Professor Maxwell Gidado
- A.K. Ajibade
- O.M. Atoyebi
- Nella Rabana
- Paul Ogbole
- Nuremi Jimoh
- Abdul Ibrahim