By Bartholomew Madukwe
Former president of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Dr. Olisa Agbakoba SAN, has called on the presidential candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar, not to approach the Election Petition Tribunal.
In a statement signed by his Media Assistant, Niyi Odunmorayo, the former NBA president said, “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.”
According to him, 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, Atiku Abubakar largely held his base in the South.
He said both All Progressive Congress (APC) and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) benefited from primordial voting, adding that the excepted zone is the South-west, where voting occurred on the basis of issues.
“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,” Agbakoba explained.
The former NBA president urged Atiku to 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, noting that 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 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 asserted.
Agbakoba maintained that the significance and consequence of the 2019 Presidential Election is huge. Unless it is reversed, 2023 will follow the pattern of 2019.
“I understand the PDP is aggrieved about the outcome of the Election and alleged massive irregularities. 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 former NBA president stressed.