Olisa Agbakoba, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, has appealed the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party in last Saturday’s election, Atiku Abubakar, not to approach the court after his loss at the poll.
Atiku lost the presidential election to incumbent President Muhammadu Buhari of the All Progressives Congress in a keenly fought contest.
Buhari had polled 15,191,847 votes, ahead of Atiku’s 11,262,978, to be declared the winner of the election by the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu.
However, Atiku rejected the presidential election outcome on Wednesday, saying he would challenge it in court.
He said the election was not free or fair, and that it was full of many irregularities.
But in a piece titled, ‘2019 Presidential Election: Ethnic Consideration vs Governance Consideration,’ written by Agbakoba on Wednesday, the legal practitioner advised Atiku against approaching the court, but to accept the outcome in faith.
Agbakoba said, “I understand the PDP is aggrieved at the outcome of the election and alleged massive irregularities. I urge former Vice President Atiku Abubakar not to approach the Election Petition Tribunal.
“He might have (been) moved backwards by his loss, but he should not lose sight of the legacy and greatness that lie in front of him.”
The SAN described Atiku as being in a position to take up the mantle of a statesman and build a ‘new Nigeria movement’ from the array of small parties, third force actors, change actors and millions who were desperate for a strong and united Nigeria.
“There is also a lot of work to be done in both political and electoral reforms. I request former Vice President Atiku Abubakar to step into the shoes,” he said.
Agbakoba however said he did not mean that the election was devoid of irregularities.
He said, “I can see how tempting it is to take the option of the Election Petition Tribunal. But that, in my view, is not the right decision.
“We look forward to a new Nigeria, strong and united; a new Nigeria that will not vote on the basis of ethnic and primordial sentiments.”
The SAN noted that the voting pattern of last Saturday’s presidential election showed that ethnicity played a significant role result.
He said both the APC and the PDP benefited from “primordial voting.”
“The excepted zone is the South-West, where voting occurred on the basis of issues.
“The significance and consequence of the 2019 presidential election are huge unless we are able to reverse it.
“2023 will follow the pattern of 2019 unless we do something about it,” Agbakoba said.