By Elizabeth Uwandu
Former president of Nigeria Bar Association, NBA, Dr. Olisa Agbakoba, SAN, has advised former vice president and presidential candidate of Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in the just concluded Presidential election, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, not to approach the election petition tribunal in efforts to seek redress over what he (Atiku) described as flawed election.
He also noted that ethnicity played a significant role in the election, warning that same trend would repeat itself in 2023, if something urgent was not done about it.
Agbakoba in a statement, yesterday, by his Media Assistant, Niyi Odunmorayo, said: “I understand 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. 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.
‘’This is not to say I do not recognise 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.
‘’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. 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. 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.’’
‘’The voting pattern for the 2019 Presidential election shows ethnicity played a significant role in the election.
‘’President Muhammadu Buhari kept his base in the North, while former Vice President, AtikuAbubakar, 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.
‘’The significance and consequence of the 2019 Presidential election is huge unless we are able to reverse it. 2023 will follow the pattern of 2019 unless we do something about it.’’