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Don’t go to court, Agbakoba advises Atiku

Concede victory, congratulate Buhari - Arewa Forum

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A Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Mr. Olisa Agbakoba, has urged the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party in last Saturday’s election, Atiku Abubakar, not to approach the court because of his loss.

Atiku lost the presidential election to incumbent President Muhammadu Buhari of the All Progressives Congress in a keenly fought contest.

On their own part the Arewa Consultative Forum on Wednesday urged Atiku Abubakar, to concede victory to President Buhari, who was declared the winner of the February 23 presidential election.

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.

A statement by Alhaji Muhammad Ibrahim-Biu, ACF National Publicity Secretary made available to News Agency of Nigeria in Kaduna, said Atiku should accept the will of the people.

“The ACF salutes the courage of Alhaji Atiku Abubakar for putting up a gallant fight with an impressive performance in the presidential elections.

“The forum calls on Alhaji Atiku Abubakar of PDP as a committed democrat who cherishes peaceful democratic transition, to accept the will of the people, concede defeat and congratulate President Buhari on his well deserved victory at the just concluded elections.

“Especially as there are credible evidence that the elections have been generally peaceful, free and fair.

“Such concession on the part of the main challenger would be in the overall interest of Nigeria and place him among global democrats.”

The ACF also urged other contestants to be magnanimous in defeat and congratulate their opponents who won.

The forum commended the Independent National Electoral Commission for conducting smooth and transparent elections, and refusing “to be intimidated or cajoled by the initial logistic challenges which led to the postponement of the elections by one week and other unfortunate incidences.”

ACF also saluted “resilient Nigerians for their personal sacrifices to not only exercise their franchise by voting candidates of their choice but also to ensure that their votes got counted.

“We equally salute other stakeholders, especially the National Peace Committee of General Abdusalami Abubakar, foreign and domestic election observers and many others for their wise counsel and commitment to peaceful election.”

It also appreciated the efforts of security agencies in making the elections relatively peaceful.

The forum congratulated President Muhammadu Buhari on his reelection and tasked him to strengthen national unity and inclusiveness so that no section or group is left out.

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