PDP presidential candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar is in the United States on a political engagement with “US government officials, Nigerians living in D.C metropolis and the business community” according to a tweet from his official handle.
Several of his political aides including the campaign manager, Gov Aminu Tambuwal, former Senate President Bukola Saraki, ex-gov of Imo State, Emeka Ihedioha and spokesman Dino Melaye were spotted with him at a US State Department office.
Atiku claims in his meetings he was able to get U.S. “commitments to support for free and fair elections in Nigeria, an announcement of a sanction policy before the elections to deter anti-democratic forces and commitments for continued partnership with Nigeria in areas of security and development“.
Back home Atiku still faces a fractured party and lingering dispute with 5 governors from his party over the chairmanship of the main opposition party. The 5 southern governors argue that having the party’s candidate and chairman from the same region of the country is unconstitutional and insensitive to the south which is the traditional electoral bloc of the party.
Atiku, a former vice president, has been fingered by US congressional reports in the past for corruption giving his political opponents reason to tout him that he could not be admitted into the United States. His US visit has completely eviscerated such concerns including rumours of ill health promoted by the ruling party’s spokesman Femi Kayode.
Nigeria’s 2023 election is generally perceived to be between Abubakar, Ahmed Tinubu of the ruling APC and the upcoming candidate of the Labour Party, Peter Obi – popular with the youth and urbane demographic as frontrunners, and other 15 candidates.
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