Top 10 Election Petition Advocates in Nigeria – Joe Gadzama (SAN)

Chief Joe-Kyari Gadzama, founder and principal partner, J-K Gadzama LLP, is one of Nigeria’s highly regarded lawyers and an outstanding learned silk in the field of election petitions and electoral disputes.

He has distinguished himself in the practice by successfully representing several petitioners and respondents in petitions and disputes arising from the various election cycles in Nigeria for over two decades. His erudite and incisive legal submissions in these matters have been captured on the pages of law reports, thereby contributing immensely to shaping electoral jurisprudence in Nigeria.

Gadzama has been quite prominent in competently handling high profile pre-election and election petition cases in the country since 1992, covering presidential, gubernatorial, national assembly and state house of assembly matters. He has acted as the lead counsel to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), political parties, respected statesmen and high net worth individuals and politicians at different times.

He served as counsel in the presidential election petitions arising from the 2003, 2007 and 2011 general elections and the consequent appeals at the supreme court involving the presidential election petitions of Buhari and Obasanjo in and 2005, Abubakar and Yar’Adua in 2008, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) against Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) in 2011 as well as CPC v. INEC in 2011.

Gadzama’s expertise in election petitions has also been displayed in governorship election petition tribunals of various states across the country and in the appeals at the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court for these petitions.

Some of the major cases in which he ably acted as counsel at the Supreme Court and court of appeal include the governorship election petitions in Imo, Rivers and Ekiti States – all in 2007.

Other governorship election petitions where he has acted as counsel are the 1999 and 2011 elections in Borno State, the 1999 governorship election petition in Gombe State and the 2003 governorship election petition in Adamawa State.

Gadzama was the lead counsel to the 1st respondent at the Supreme Court in the 2007 landmark case of Ladoja v. INEC, concerning the impeachment of the governor of Oyo State.

The learned silk also featured in other major election cases arising from national assembly elections in 1992 and 1999, the 1999 house of assembly election in Borno State and the 2007 general elections.

Gadzama is also the lead counsel for the petitioners in the 2023 Gombe State governorship election and he is also part of the petitioners’ legal team for the 2023 Nasarawa State governorship election petition.

The ability to establish himself as one of the foremost legal practitioners and highly sort after in the field of election petitions and electoral disputes lies in his track record of expertise, analytical approach, in-depth knowledge and sound legal advocacy in electoral matters across various tribunals and superior courts for over two decades.

Gadzama was called to the bar in 1986 and enrolled at the Supreme Court of Nigeria in the same year. He was appointed a Notary Public in June 1996 and crowned Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) in 1998. He was admitted into the Lincoln’s Inn, United Kingdom, in 2008. He stands out as the first SAN from Borno State and the entire north-eastern region of Nigeria and also led the class called to the Nigerian Bar in 1986 to receive the honour.

With over three decades of legal expertise built in several areas of procedural and substantive law, Gadzama has been counted as one of the 500 leading lawyers in the world by the Intercontinental Finance Magazine.