Olisa Agbakoba, senior advocate of Nigeria (SAN), has advised Atiku Abubakar, presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), not to resort to the election tribunal over his loss.
Atiku had lost Saturday’s presidential election to President Muhammadu Buhari, candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), who polled 15,191,847 votes against Atiku’s 11,262,978.
The PDP candidate rejected the results of the election, citing widespread irregularities.
In sn article titled “2019 Presidential Election: Ethnic Consideration vs Governance Consideration”, Agbakoba said going to the tribunal is not the best decision for Atiku.
The legal practitioner, however, urged the former vice-president to look beyond the defeat and take up the mantle of a statesman to build a new and united Nigerian movement.
“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,” Agbakoba said.
“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.
“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.
“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.”
Agbakoba noted that both the APC and the PDP benefitted from a “primordial voting.” pattern in the election, where ethnicity played a prominent role.
“The excepted zone is the south-west, where voting occurred on the basis of issues,” he said.
“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.”