It should be recalled that PDP presidential candidate and former vice president Atiku Abubakar had an ongoing visa restriction placed against him by the United States government due to a contract scandal involving Nigerian and American officials in the mid-2000s. However, it seems that the former vice president has once again gained entry into the U.S as the Buhari Media Organisation revealed that U.S. lobbyists were paid millions of dollars to secure an American visa for Atiku.
The Chairman of the organisation Mr Niyi Akinsiju and Secretary, Cassidy Madueke, disclosed the above in a joint statement signed in Abuja on Tuesday, describing the effort as another chapter in PDP’s “book of corruption”. The organisation asserted that the PDP had itself claimed it would be paying Brian Ballard, who is a known close associate of U.S. President Donald Trump, approximately N400 million over a one year period to lobby the United States Government in support of the election of Atiku Abubakar in the 2019 presidential election. The organisation was of the opinion that even if the lobbyist could convince the U.S. authorities to once again open its doors to Atiku Abubakar it would not avail him of the corruption allegations and scandal that have stuck to his reputation. Just like the organisation pointed out, Nigerians may not be easily persuaded to forget Atiku’s role in the high-profile lewd probe which included the Petroleum Trust Development Fund (PTDF) to Siemens during his 8-year tenure as Vice President.
In the words of the organisation; “Not even a close ally of Trump can wipe clean a slate of corruption that took years of intense begging for his former principal to reluctantly accept his apology but which he still wants him to seek the forgiveness of Nigerians”. “These are people that have been conditioned to see dollar rain as solutions to local credibility problems. “Coming soon after they had shared wads of dollars among party delegates; they did not feel bad spending more to boost the economy of Dubai where they have been holding strategy sessions. “The same people have signed a deal of 90,000 dollars a month to secure an American visa for a morally challenged presidential candidate. “They are busy boosting businesses in other countries, yet they are running a presidential campaign with the theme of ‘making Nigeria great again. How ironic!” “We want Nigerians to see the difference between President Muhammadu Buhari whose party does not need to spend money in any currency to whitewash his image and that of a candidate that needs to pay the equivalent of N400 million to clean its image in just one country.”
The rivalry between the ruling and opposition party cannot be more apparent with this discovery. However, it is pertinent to consider if this is another strategy by the APC ruling party to discredit the candidate of the opposition who have intensified their bid by involving a seasoned American lobbyist and strong ally of the U.S President.
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