On May 8, 2023, a Twitter user with the handle @GoziconC claimed that the lawyers defending Nnamdi Kanu, the leader of the secessionist group the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) now in custody, are the same as those of Labour Party presidential candidate, Peter Obi, at the ongoing presidential tribunal proceedings.
The user followed up his claim with a photo of Obi in conversation with some lawyers in court. As of the time of writing, the tweet has been viewed over 412k times.
A self-acclaimed leader of the IPOB, Simon Ekpa, also tweeted on May 9, 2023, that Mike Ozekhome (SAN), who is Nnamdi Kanu’s counsel and appears in the photo above, is part of Obi’s legal team.
On Wait First, we divide claims into three categories. A valid claim is a fresh banana. A false claim is burnt dodo. And a misleading claim is cold zobo.
So, how valid is this claim?
ALSO READ: Who’s This Simon Ekpa Guy Running IPOB?
Fact-checkers at the Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD-West Africa) examined this claim. Here’s what they found:
In January 2022, following his apprehension by the Nigerian government, Nnamdi Kanu appointed Mike Ozekhome as his lead counsel in his case against the FG. Ifeanyi Ejiofor, one of Kanu’s lawyers, also confirmed this.
Is Mike Ozekhome representing Peter Obi at the Election Tribunal?
“The election petition prepared by Obi’s legal team includes a list of the legal practitioners representing the petitioner. Mike Ozekhome’s name does not appear on the list.
“We, however, found Ozekhome to be among the legal team of Atiku Abubakar, the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), which was inaugurated in March 2023. The team included his name in the petition that was submitted.
“Further investigation revealed that Ozekhome and Atiku have had a clientele relationship since 2017. He is also currently representing the latter in the alleged money laundering case filed by Festus Keyamo.
“Another senior lawyer in the attached image to the tweet is Yusuf Ali, a member of Bola Tinubu and the All Progressives Congress (APC)’s legal team. We found that the lead counsel to Peter Obi and the Labour Party (LP), Onyechi Ikpeazu, has never represented Nnamdi Kanu or the IPOB secessionist group.”
The claim that lawyers representing Peter Obi at the presidential election tribunal also represent Nnamdi Kanu is burnt dodo. It’s false.
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