Don't go to election tribunal, Agbakoba advises Atiku

Dr. Olisa Agbakoba


Dr. Olisa Agbakoba SAN, a human rights lawyer and former President of the Nigerian Bar Association(NBA), has advised former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar, against going to seek redress at the election petition tribunal over the 2019 Presidential Election results.

Abubakar ran for the presidential position under the Peoples democratic Party and lost to the incumbent, Muhammadu Buhari, of the All Progressives Congress.
Agbakoba advised that Abubakar should rather consider the greater things that lie ahead, in spite of any loss he might have felt as a result of the election results.
“I understand the PDP is aggrieved about the outcome of the Election and alleged massive irregularities.
“But I urge former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar not to approach the Election Petition Tribunal.  He might have moved backwards by his loss but he should not lose sight of the legacy and greatness that lies in front of him,” Agbakoba said.
He continued that “This is not to say I do not recognize the massive irregularities in the 2019 Presidential Election. 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.”
Agbakoba urged Abubakar to look forth to help build a new Nigeria as a statesman who would drive workable ideas to benefit the nation as one.
He said: “Former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar is in a strong position to take up the mantle of a statesman. He can build a new Nigeria movement from the motley of small parties, third force actors, change actors and millions who are desperate for a strong, 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.
“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.”
Agbakoba noted that voting patterns at the presidential election showed ethic bias, which he described as dangerous for a nation.
He urged Nigerians to stand up against ethnicity and embrace issue-based interests in making their choice of leadership.
“As I said, I was shocked at the strength of the two parties in holding their respective bases. But the problem was that the basis was simply primordial and not driven by issues.
“President Muhammadu Buhari kept his base in the North while former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar largely held his base in the South. Both All Progressive Congress (APC) and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) benefited from primordial voting. The excepted zone is the South-west where voting occurred on the basis of issues. 
“Nigerian politics must appeal to issues and not ethnic or primordial consideration. This is the biggest danger in the 2019 Presidential Election and we as Nigerians must stand up to redress it,” Agbakoba said.
He warned that unless Nigerians make a change in their voting patterns, the 2023 elections would take same shape as what was experienced in the 2019 presidential election.