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Atiku’s visit to US was like fugitive sneaking into America – Buhari Campaign

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Nigeria’s election is by the corner and claws are coming out from both prominent parties APC and PDP.

The All Progressives Congress (APC) Presidential Campaign Council has reached to the trip to the United States by Atiku Abubakar, presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

Atiku in US — See Photos

Festus Keyamo is a Nigerian lawyer - a Senior Advocate of Nigeria SAN, social crusader, critic, columnist and human rights activist.ke

Festus Keyamo, spokesman of the council, in a statement on Sunday, recalled that the campaign had in December predicted that by running for President of Nigeria, Atiku intends to get some immunity from prosecution.

He said APC was not surprised by his visit to the U.S because it was really a non-event considering the issues involved in the forthcoming election.

Keyamo added: “However, we have bad news for those who think this is a momentous event for Atiku Abubakar: the visit was nothing but a downright catastrophe because rather than dispel the fact of indictments hanging over his head, it further confirms and reinforces those facts for the following reasons:

(1) The visit had all the trappings of a fugitive sneaking into America under a “special diplomatic waiver”. For the candidate of the major opposition party in Nigeria, it is an absolute disaster that the visit was not announced ahead of time in Nigeria, with his programmes and itinerary clearly spelt out, the decent and customary minimum standard of such visits. This culminated in his close aides issuing conflicting statements about the visit when he was already on his way there. In fact, one of them called Paul Ibe actually spoke to the Press that his principal was nowhere near America! Such was the secrecy of the planning and execution of that visit.

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(2) It is shameful that a presidential candidate of a major opposition party in Africa’s most populous country would visit America, and the international press was kept in the dark: There was NO SINGLE press conference with the array of international media and correspondents required for such ‘high-profile’ visit. Atiku knows he has no moral stamina to withstand the avalanche of hard questions bordering on his sordid past in America. In fact, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar claims he visited the Voice of America (VOA) but only did two carefully-packaged interviews with the Hausa service and the English to Africa program – platforms that have always been available to him back home. How strange! In fact, both the Twitter handle (@VOANews) and official website of VOA did not mention any such visit of Alhaji Atiku Abubakar to their station. For news hounds, you would agree with us that such an ‘important personality’ cannot walk into a news premises without reporters swooping on him. Whatever he went to do in the premises of the VOA must have been a carefully-arranged private visit for the photo-ops, which was intended to scam Nigerians. What more evidence do we need of a “sneak-in-sneak-out” arrangement than this?.

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(3) For a candidate who claims he wants to “get Nigeria working again” (a meaningless phrase) to sneak into America without meeting major players in private businesses is a curiosity and an indication that we are dealing with a candidate with a dodgy and questionable character. He claims he went to the U.S Chamber of Commerce, which is supposed to be a business federation. Again, the Twitter handle (@USChamber) and the website of the organization make no mention of the visit of such an ‘important personality’ to them. Maybe their famous American lobbyist on a salary of N9million per month can help them ‘do something’ about this after this press statement.

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(4) It is also an anomaly that the candidate of the major opposition party in Nigeria sneaked into America and did not meet large sections of political leaders of similar ideologies and persuasions towards which he claims to be inclined. For all his claim to be going to America to meet “U.S Government officials”, he only succeeded in meeting a certain “Congressman Smith”, who is the equivalent of a member of the House of Representatives in Nigeria. You would agree with us that as dignified and respected as the office of a Member of the House of Representatives is, an important personality cannot come to Nigeria on an official visit and claim he has met the “Nigerian government officials” after he pays a private visit to that Member. For all we know, the Congressman Smith may just be a private friend of Dr. Bukola Saraki or Alhaji Atiku Abubakar. That reminds us of Atiku’s famous legislator friend he threw under the bus, Williams Jefferson, who taught us how to hide laundered money ( which was meant for Atiku Abubakar) in the deep freezer when the cops came knocking on his door!”

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