Top 10 Election Petition Advocates in Nigeria – Wole Olanipekun (SAN)

Wole Olanipekun is principal partner, Wole Olanipekun & Co., a law firm founded in 1980 – which has made a name as the vanguard of Nigeria’s democratic progress.

The judiciary has played a major role in Nigeria’s democratic journey since 1999 and Olanipekun stands out as one of those recognised to have put in their fair shares of the work that has made any successes attained to happen. 

He understands that elected leaders do face unique pressures as well as opportunities and has positioned his law firm to represent the nation’s current and future officials through their pressures and usher them into their opportunities.

The law firm defines its role as being the leader in representing Nigeria’s leaders. It therefore takes a prominent seat when it comes to matters of electoral law and election disputes in Nigeria.

Olanipekun’s law firm has served as lead counsel for the past three Nigerian presidents as well as governors of Lagos State and other states and won in all the cases. He has set the pace in many areas in the legal field and achieved legal breakthroughs such as overturning an impeachment process of a governor where it fails to comply strictly with the procedure.

The former attorney general and commissioner for justice of Ondo State, is a top member of the team of legal luminaries of President Bola Tinubu in the 2023 presidential election petition assembled on the basis of their vast experiences and outstanding successes in election petition matters, constitutional law and litigation.

Olanipekun is leading the defence counsel for Dapo Abiodun, the Ogun State governor at the governorship election tribunal where Ladipupo Adebutu of the PDP is challenging his return by INEC as governor of the state.

He led the team of lawyers who retrieved the mandate of former governor Adams Oshiomole in Edo State and stood for former Ondo State governor Olusegun Mimiko to retrieve his mandate in the the 2007 governorship election in the state.

He also played a vital role in retrieving former governor Fayemi’s mandate by constituting a solid legal team and acting in advisory capacity to them. He led constitutional resolution of the working conflict between the former president, Olusegun Obasanjo and his then vice president, Atiku Abubakar in 2007.

The company attributes its ability to engage at the top level of election petition matters to its deep experience and proven commitment to the progress of the Nigerian society.

That, it said, has engraved its name as the law firm of choice in the making of the nation’s leaders. The company’s high profile clients on election petition cases at federal level include presidents, cabinet members, senators, representatives and other officials of government.

At state level, governors and deputy governors, houses of assembly, and others make up the company’s list of highly successful election petition advocacy in Nigeria.

Counting on its deep knowledge and experience in handling all types of election conflict, the law firm is making a firm promise to the nation – to travel the path together toward a mature democratic society. While the firm acknowledges that Nigeria has had its share of election-related conflict, it expects that the nation may yet experience a lot more.

The company has, in response to the current and anticipated challenges on election-induced conflict, built the necessary capacity with its offices in Lagos and Abuja and its team of lawyers well positioned to expertly guide the resolution of any type of election disputes.

Its capacity covers contested elections, campaign finance issues, issues of a candidate’s qualification to appear on the ballot and allegations of bribery and corruption. Others are lack of election monitoring devices, election technology problems, inter-party disputes, electoral offences and more.

Wole Olanipekun & Co gives a hint on why it has become the main destination of past and present Nigerian leaders in seeking resolution of election disputes. The first is its legal skill, which it scores unquestionable but even more than legal expertise is strong commitment to making Nigeria succeed as a democracy. 

“We are humbled by every opportunity we have to help resolve an election dispute. Why? Because we view every dispute as a chance for the nation or a state to learn, to improve and to become the Nigeria that Africa needs—a beacon of leadership for the continent”, the company stated in its website.

Olanipekun is therefore set on a mission to ensure that every Nigerian receives the protections promised in the constitution, that the nation is committed to the rule of law, the supremacy of the country’s constitution and the safeguarding of human rights. 

His legal house takes upon itself a responsibility to stand up for the rights of individuals whose constitutional or human rights have been infringed as a strategy to strengthen the system for the future.

In the democratic and political fields, the law firm stands out to defend the inalienable rights and privileges that belong to every Nigerian. These include the right to vote and to be voted for, privacy rights, freedom of speech, expression and movement, freedom of the press, etc.

Behind every human rights or constitutional rights case the company handles lies its commitment to apply its legal knowledge to strengthen the Nigerian democracy.

“We believe that as a democracy, it is critical for our nation to uphold the rules and norms in our constitution, as well as in the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, the Universal Declaration on Human Rights and the principles of the African Union” , it stated.

On the other side of defending human and constitutional rights, the firm also advises government officials, regulators and politicians on the constitutionality of existing laws, proposed laws, regulatory rules and policies. It counts on its deep experience in fields such as policy advisory and public law to offer in-depth analysis of issues and advice on the rights and obligations of governments and their officials.