Agbakoba makes u-turn, backs Atiku to challenge election loss in court

Former Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) president, Dr. Olisa Agbakoba, has dropped his initial position that the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar, should not contest his defeat in court.

The senior lawyer had initially advised Atiku not to challenge President Muhammadu Buhari’s emergence as the winner of the February 23 presidential election in court.

But in a statement on Wednesday, Agbakoba said his initial advice has become irrelevant and that he now “fully support and wish former Vice President Atiku Abubakar every success,” in the challenge of his election loss in court.

Agbakoba, meanwhile explained that he formerly asked Atiku not to drag Buhari to court because of the “uphill task” he would face following the President’s alleged subversion of the Supreme Court by the suspension of Walter Onnoghen as the Chief Justice of Nigeria.

Atiku had rejected the result of the presidential election which he lost to the All Progressives Congress’s (APC) candidate, Muhammadu Buhari.

“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.

“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,” Agbakoba said.

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