- The APC chapter in the U.S has reacted to the visit of PDP's presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, to America
- Abubakar had on Thursday, January 17, visited U.S, 12 years after he left office as Nigeria's vice president
- Ronke Ekwensi, the national secretary of APC in U.S. chapter, however, described Atiku's visit to America as illegal
The All Progressives Congress (APC) chapter in the U.S, has described as illegal the visa granted by the U.S to the presidential candidate of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar.
Premium Times reports that Abubakar entered the United States on Thursday, January 17, his first in 12 years, on a trip billed for meetings with Nigerian business elite in Washington D.C. and a stop at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce for off-record briefing on Nigeria’s economic matters.
Legit.ng gathered that the APC U.S in a statement signed by Ronke Ekwensi, national secretary of APC U.S. chapter, on Thursday, January 17, said that Abubakar’s “entry and presence in the USA is a mockery of President Bush Proclamation 7750 which affirms the denial of US visa to foreign officials involved with corruption and other supporting legislations by the Congress."
“APC believes” that Abubakar “should be held accountable for his involvement in money laundering.”
Abubakar has been taunted for years by critics over his inability to enter the U.S. since leaving office as Nigeria’s vice-president in 2007.
The online medium reported that the stalemate, which Abubakar himself expressed strong concerns about, was the source of many speculations, especially claim that the politician was being denied visa because he had been found wanting in a series of corrupt deals.
But while Abubakar has been investigated by the U.S. authorities, including the country’s Senate, and was a suspect in a bribery scandal that sent a former U.S. federal lawmaker to jail, the Nigerian politician was never convicted of any crime.
Before he left as vice-president in 2007, Abubakar was also accused of fraud by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), but he was never arraigned in court.
In May 2018, the online medium reported that Abubakar had sold his mansion in the U.S., a move he attributed to prolonged disuse of the property rather than his inability to enter the country.
As the 2019 general elections campaign heats up, Abubakar’s issues with the U.S. authorities were deployed as a critical weapon by the ruling party’s supporters.
Although Abubakar argued that his ineligibility for an American visa should not preclude him from becoming Nigeria’s president, he continued to explore chances of travelling to that country, nonetheless.
He appeared to have hit a breakthrough when he settled his decade-long rift with former President Olusegun Obasanjo, with whom he had fallen out before they completed their respective tenures as president and vice-president from 1999-2007.
Obasanjo was among those who cast the image of Abubakar as a corrupt politician. He said in August 2018 that he would never to support his then-estranged lieutenant for president in 2019.
But barely two months later, and a few days after Abubakar emerged presidential candidate of the PDP, Obasanjo changed his mind, forgiving the presidential candidate and endorsing him over President Muhammadu Buhari, whom he said he wants out of office for incompetence.
Obasanjo said while endorsing Abubakar amidst fanfare at his country home in Abeokuta that he would help the candidate mend fences where necessary.
By December, Abubakar was granted a U.S. visa following Obasanjo’s intervention, according to multiple sources familiar with the affair.
The ruling APC appeared to have caught wind of Obasanjo’s moves to help Abubakar secure a visa early, issuing a call late November that U.S. government should desist from going along with the plan.
Lai Mohammed, the minister of information and culture had said the warning was necessary to let the U.S. recognise that granting Abubakar a visa could weigh heavily on the outcome of the general election.
Abubakar’s campaign dismissed the charges as a distraction, saying the ruling party was jittery as it faces defeat next month.
Meanwhile, Legit.ng had previously reported that Atiku Abubakar, former vice president and presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), on Thursday, January 17, said that the United States (US) government is in support of his candidature.
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