Sanwo-Olu paid lawyers N200m from state’s pocket to avert his disqualification

THE governor of Lagos state, Babajide Sanwo-Olu paid a sum of N200 million to four law firms to avert his disqualification at the governorship election petition tribunal, data obtained from the Lagos state Procurement Portal has shown.

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), had filed a suit against the All-Progressives Congress candidates for the Lagos State House of Assembly and Gubernatorial candidate, Governor Olusola Sanwo-Olu seeking their disqualification in a Suit No: FHC/ABJ/CS/ 1979/ 2022. The case was later dismissed by the court.

In January 2023, Sanwo-Olu, leveraging his authority as the state governor, directed the Ministry of Justice to disburse N50 million each to four law firms—Ahmed Raji and Co, Akinboro and Co, Babatunde Ogala and Co, and Femi Okunni and Co—from the state’s funds to represent him. Legal experts have described this move as both illegal and an abuse of office.

Reacting to the move on X, a Human Rights Lawyer, Festus Ogun said, “ Sanwo-Olu paid lawyers that defended him at the Election Petition Tribunal with taxpayers money from the treasury of Lagos State. All my life, I have never seen this kind of callous and mindless abuse. Totally unacceptable.”

Screenshot of the document from Lagos State Procurement data

Speaking with The ICIR, Human Rights Lawyer Abdul Mahmud argued that governors ought to be the ones to defend their rights, and the state government should not bear costs associated with such defence.

“The governors defend their rights as sui juris, that’s in their own personal rights, and not as alieni juris, or rights controlled by others, so any costs attendant upon the defence of their personal rights cannot be borne by the State government,” he said.

 “It is unlawful for Governor Sanwo-Olu to have paid N200m from the coffers of the Government of Lagos State to personal lawyers who were defending his rights in elections petitions. Again, that all of the procurement frauds highlighted by the revelations show the lack of procurement controls and legislative oversights by an undiscerning State House of Assembly. The Lagos State procurement frauds are a tip of the iceberg,”he added. 

The ICIR reported that the governorship candidate of the Action Democratic Congress (ADC) in Lagos, Funso Doherty wrote to the governor of the state, Babajide Sanwo-Olu on some of the controversial projects observed on the state’s procurement portal.



Nurudeen Akewushola is an investigative reporter and fact-checker with The ICIR. He believes courageous in-depth investigative reporting is the key to social justice, accountability and good governance in the society. You can shoot him a scoop via [email protected] and @NurudeenAkewus1 on Twitter.

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