Nigerian Politics

2023 election: Did Obasanjo hire Russian lawyer ‘Natalia Veselnitskaya’ for Peter Obi?


2023 election: Did Obasanjo hire Russian lawyer ‘Natalia Veselnitskaya’ for Peter Obi?

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Several social media posts have claimed that former president, Olusegun Obasanjo has flown in a Russian-based lawyer to reclaim the mandate of the presidential candidate of the Labour Party, Peter Obi during the presidential election tribunal.

“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.

Twitter post claim on Olusegun Obasanjo, Peter Obi and Natalia Veselnitskaya
Twitter post claim on Olusegun Obasanjo, Peter Obi and Natalia Veselnitskaya
“According to reports, she is the most dangerous lawyer in the whole world with an unbeatable record” the tweet from the user @SpecialConvenant added.

The user @convenantadarego added that that Natalia Veselnitskaya is a close associate of the President of Russia, Vladimir Putin, “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”.

Similar claims were made by Twitter user Dennejoor in a now-deleted post.

The two Twitter posts were shared on Friday, May 5.

Both posts have since gathered 642 likes, 135 retweets, more than 50 thousand views from Twitter users and several comments.

“I hear she represented Donald Trump,” reads one of the comments.

The Claim:
Obasanjo flies in a Russian lawyer, Natalia Veselnitskaya, to reclaim Peter Obi’s mandate.

The Findings:
The ICIR reported that the 2023 Presidential Election Petitions Court was scheduled to commence on Monday, May 8 with a pre-hearing session. The election petition courts is organised to clarify the disputed declaration of All Progressives Congress (APC) flag bearer Bola Tinubu as the president-elect.

The ICIR earlier reported INEC declared Tinubu 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.

Abubakar hired the services of 19 Senior Advocates of Nigeria (SANs) to challenge the election’s result, while his counterpart Obi had secured the services of at least 20 SANs to challenge the outcome of the February 25 presidential election.

Speaking to The ICIR on Saturday, May 6, the media aide to the Obasanjo, Kehinde Akinyemi said that Obasanjo neither employed nor invited the service of a Russian lawyer, Natalia Veselnitskaya to reclaim Peter Obi’s mandate for the presidential election tribunal.

Akinyemi stressed 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,” he stated.

Further independent findings by The ICIR revealed that no credible media outfit published the report as claimed.

The Verdict
The claim that former president Olusegun Obasanjo invited Natalia Veselnitskaya, a Russian lawyer, to reclaim Peter Obi’s victory during the presidential electoral tribunal is FALSE.

(The ICIR)