A former Edo State Commissioner of Information, Prince Kassim Afegbua, has lashed out at the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar, over his journey to the United States, saying the former Vice President is indifferent to the plight of Nigerians.
The Star had reported that Atiku, who arrived in United States on Thursday for political campaigns ahead of the 2023 general election, met with some officials of the U.S. States Department led by the Assistant Secretary, Bureau of African Affairs, Molly Phee, in Washington DC.
It was reported that the PDP presidential candidate met with the States Department officials on Friday to seek collaborative solutions to Nigeria’s local issues on democracy and governance, the country’s deteriorating security, and the economy.
Atiku’s Media Adviser, Paul Ibe, further disclosed that the former Vice President secured the State Department’s commitment to support free and fair elections in Nigeria as the country prepares for the 2023 general election.
However, Afegbua, in a statement made available to The Star on Sunday, said Atiku was “unconscionable” to be celebrating his entry into the United States after years of being barred from entering the country.
The former commissioner noted that the PDP presidential standard-bearer’s journey to the U.S. at the time Nigerian villages and communities were heavily flooded was not ideal.
The statement titled, ‘Atiku and his lazy gang in the USA’, read: “In deliberate effort to impress his supporters and followers, Atiku Abubakar and his musketeers have again travelled to The US on negotiated entry just like in 2019. This time, he was seen with his musketeers parading empty corridors in photo-ops to impress us back home.
“The truth of the matter is that, Atiku Abubakar still has questions to answer because he has not been discharged and acquitted of his corruption allegations that border on money laundering in The US. In 2019, he was granted negotiated entry, just like now; this is his leave to create the impression that all was well.
“At a time that most Nigerian villages and communities are heavily flooded, it takes an unconscionable mind to be celebrating an entry into the United States like when a baby jumps at a piece of chocolate. Was he indeed barred from entry before now? What were the factors or reasons for his initial ban? Have those issues been addressed? Has he been discharged and acquitted of those allegations? Why this so-called celebration if there are no undertones?
“Anyhow, focusing on our homeland, a leader that wants to preside over Nigeria ought to be – at this critical time of our ecological disaster – around to share and commiserate with his people and also, show humanitarian presence; especially as he was here when the incident happened. Only people who are blinded by inordinate ambition, display their greed and hunger for power and damn all consequences, to sail through.”
Afegbua added: “It is trite that Alhaji Atiku Abubakar is contesting against the run of play and I have helped to voice the mind of the people; not once, not twice! He must remember that the voice of the people is the voice of God. Having supported APC in the past to defeat the PDP, he has now ran back to PDP to express his vaulting ambition as a convenient exit strategy. It is not a credible act.
“What exactly does he stand for? In the day, they will condemn zoning; at night, they beg to embrace it. They fought against President Goodluck Jonathan for contesting against the rules of zoning, but when it became obvious that zoning was going to screen him out, they changed the rules of the game mid play.
“I have been seeing news reports claiming that Alhaji Atiku Abubakar has been holding “crucial” talks with critical stakeholders of the United States State Department. These, my dear fellow Nigerians, are outright lies. Which stakeholders? All the pictures on display are of members of Atiku’s entourage who left Nigeria to the United States to gallivant and maybe embark on some unscrupulous acts which we are yet to discover, while being hopeful that his campaign will move up notches in our hearts and minds .
“How come we haven’t seen the pictures of the officials of the State Department as they would have us believe? All the pictures we have seen are of the same people who left Nigeria with him. As the old saying goes, when you don’t understand the motive, follow the money. They were the same people who welcomed him to America, who are now appearing as State Department officials, and American business men.
“This level of dubiety, desperation, boldness, wildness and audacity is unbecoming; to say the least. Some even said that Alhaji Atiku actually travelled under the cover of Governor Tambuwal’s Diplomatic entourage- what reduction and debasement! Entering into The US under this guise vitiates the headlines we see here on his trip.
“We still look forward to a showcase of pictures with the State Department officials and reports of their positions, and depth of support for him, as all we see for now are pictures of members of the jamboree. At this point, what comes to mind is yet another old saying that ‘wonders, shall never end’,” he stated.
Until 2019 when he was able to enter U.S. under a brokered deal, Atiku was barred from entering the country since he left office in 2007 as Vice President.
The United States Government indicted him over allegations of corruption and money laundering in the sum of $40 million involving him, a former U.S. Senator, Williams Jefferson, and his fourth wife, Jennifer Douglas, who is a U.S. citizen.
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