A former Nigerian Bar Association, Dr Olisa Agbakoba (SAN), has explained why he initially advised presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, against seeking redress in court over his loss in the February 23 presidential election.
Agbakoba, who is now urging Atiku to go to court, said his initial advice was borne out of his belief that Atiku would face “an uphill task, given the circumstances of challenging election results” in Nigeria, The Punch reported.
He added that “President Muhammadu Buhari has subverted the Supreme Court by the removal of the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Honourable Justice Walter Onnoghen, and the appointment of the acting Chief Justice of Nigeria (Justice Muhammad Tanko).”
Agbakoba noted that as an experienced election petitions lawyer, he knows that the burden of proof to succeed in an election petition “is unfairly huge.”
According to him, “We first have to prove that there are electoral irregularities and in my view, once you prove this, you should succeed. Unfortunately, even if you prove electoral irregularities you will have to show how that affected the results of the election.
“Remember that the gap between former Vice-President, Atiku Abubakar, and President Muhammadu Buhari is about four million votes. It is clear to me that the presidential election results were manifestly riddled with electoral irregularities.
“Now that former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar has approached the court, it is important to emphasise that he is constitutionally entitled to do so. My personal advice has become irrelevant. I fully support and wish former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar every success.”