Former President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Wole Olanipekun, has revealed who former President Goodluck Jonathan and his administration dreaded most.
That person, according to him, is Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, the national leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
The Cable reports that Olanipekun said this in an interview with the Punch when asked how he successfully defended people like Tinubu at the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT).
He declared: “What I give my clients is my knowledge, I don’t sell my conscience.
“I retain my conscience and independence. I cherish my liberty. I keep it. No client will tell me not to represent others; I will tell that client to go.
“Let me give you an example. Tinubu is not just my client, he is also my friend. I respect him and he respects me but he cannot say he wants to control me. He does not even discuss my professional jobs with me.
“The day you just referred to, I was at the CCT in the morning in a suit. Jonathan’s election petition was stood down till about 2 pm and immediately I finished addressing the CCT on Tinubu’s matter, I had to go and change for Jonathan’s matter.
“Jonathan would dare not ask me why I was defending his foe. But one thing I knew then was that there was no Nigerian that Jonathan’s government feared more than Tinubu.
“I know. I
n fact, his camp believed they were contesting election against him, that he was the arrowhead of the opposition but they dared not ask me anything about his case|.
“One thing I also noticed was that Jonathan’s team started withdrawing from me gradually because of the Tinubu factor. And I won’t go to anybody to beg for briefs. A lady, whose name I don’t want to mention, called me one day and said these people are in trouble, why are they running away from you?
“Who cares? I can be very committed to my clients. Former President Umaru Yar’Adua is dead; I was his lawyer since his days as Governor of Katsina State.
“He was a gentleman per excellence; he would have been the best president Nigeria ever had but he was overwhelmed by his illness. He was so humble, intelligent, honest and frugal.
“He was the one who appointed me as Pro Chancellor of the University of Ibadan and he told me, Wole, I know you are going to help me revive and revamp that place. Thank God we did that eventually. We changed the entire face of the university. Anytime Tinubu wants to make jest of me, he will say ‘when it comes to law, nobody talks to you’. I will say ‘thank God you know that’.
“He knows that when it comes to his case, I will not compromise his interest. Also, I defended Tinubu when the late Funsho Williams took him to the tribunal. He has been my client over the years.”