- Ahead of the presidential election tribunal, several social media posts claimed that ex-President Obasanjo hired a Russian-based lawyer to represent Peter Obi, the Labour Party presidential candidate
- However, Obasanjo's media aide, Kehinde Akinyemi, denied the claim, stating that Obasanjo did not employ or invite the service of any lawyer to reclaim Peter Obi's mandate
- The tribunal will settle the disputed declaration of Bola Tinubu as the president-elect, with Atiku Abubakar, Peter Obi, and others challenging the outcome of the election
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Ahead of the commencement of the sitting of the presidential election tribunal, several social media posts, several social media posts recently claimed that former President Olusegun Obasanjo flew in a Russian-based lawyer to reclaim the mandate of the presidential candidate of the Labour Party (LP), Peter Obi.
"Obasanjo flies in World-Class Russian lawyer “Natalia Veselnitskaya” to defend Peter Obi ahead of Monday’s Presidential court case,” one of the tweets read.
“According to reports, she is the most dangerous lawyer in the whole world with an unbeatable record” the tweet from the user @SpecialConvenant added.
Another Twitter user, @Classycrystale1, claimed Natalia Veselnitskaya is a close associate of the President of Russia, Vladimir Putin.
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The tweet reads:
“She has never lost a case before. She is the special adviser to President “Putin” and was the same lawyer woman that defeated America in a court case against heavy sanctions on Russia. According to reports, she doesn’t believe in adjournment, she stands for you once in court”.
Natalia Veselnitskaya: Obasanjo did not hire lawyer for Peter Obi, says aide
Reacting, the media aide to ex-President Obasanjo, Kehinde Akinyemi, said that Obasanjo neither employed nor invited the service of a Russian lawyer, Natalia Veselnitskaya to reclaim Peter Obi’s mandate, according to The ICIR.
He noted that there is a need for Nigerians to question the credibility and authenticity of the report.
“It is a rumour that is unconfirmed, and it has got nothing to do with Obasanjo. Also, it is not from a credible medium,” Akinyemi stated.
Further findings show that no credible media platform published the claim.
Peter Obi, Atiku, others challenge Tinubu's victory
The 2023 Presidential Election Petitions Court was scheduled to commence on Monday, May 8, with a pre-hearing session.
The election petition court will settle the disputed declaration of All Progressives Congress (APC) flag bearer Bola Tinubu as the president-elect.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had declared Tinubu as the winner of the February 25 presidential poll with 8,794,726 votes.
Atiku Abubakar, candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), polled 6,984,520 votes, while Peter Obi of the Labour Party (LP), came third with 6,101,533 votes.
Atiku, Obi and others are challenging the outcome of the election.
Festus Keyamo speaks on moves to stop Tinubu's inauguration
Meanwhile, the minister of state, labour and employment, Festus Keyamo (SAN), mocked antagonists of the president-elect, who he said have been assured that Tinubu's inauguration can be legally stopped before Monday, May 29.
Keyamo said he read a report to the effect that some foreign lawyers have been flown into Nigeria to ensure that the court stops Tinubu's swearing-in.
"I read somewhere that some supposedly learned fellow is assuring the nattering nitwits that the inauguration of @officialABAT can be legally stopped before May 29th and yet another story that some foreign lawyers have been flown in to achieve that purpose," he tweeted.