Olisa Agbakoba, a senior lawyer, says he supports the decision of Atiku Abubakar, presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), to go to court.
He also said his earlier advice to the former vice-president not to go to court was because of the “uphill task” he would face following the suspension of Walter Onnoghen, chief justice of Nigeria.
Atiku had rejected the result of the presidential election which he lost to the All Progressives Congress’s (APC) Muhammadu Buhari.
But while his party was mulling challenging the outcome in court, Agbakoba had advised against such move, saying such is “not the right decision.”
However, in a statement on Wednesday, Agbakoba said apart from the suspension of Onnoghen, he is also worried that no presidential election result has ever been nullified in the court in Nigeria’s democracy.
He also said he never predicted that Atiku will lose at the presidential election petition tribunal.
“My initial decision to charge Former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar not to go to court is based on the fact that President Muhammadu Buhari has subverted the Supreme Court by the removal of the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Hon. Justice Walter Onnoghen and the appointment of the Acting Chief Justice of Nigeria,” he said.
“As one of Nigeria’s experienced Election Petition lawyers, I know that the burden of proof to succeed in an Election Petition is unfairly huge. 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 4 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 emphasize 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.”
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