Presidential candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar, departed for the United States of America, on Wednesday, and is, today, expected to speak at the United States’ Chamber of Commerce in Washington DC, from 2.30pm to 4:00pm.
In an invitation which was seen by Daily Sun, the former vice president is expected to speak at a private roundtable, hosted by the US Chamber of Commerce and the US African Business Center at 1615 H Street, NW 20062.
Atiku reportedly left Nigeria from the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos, in company with the Senate President and Director General of the Atiku/Obi Presidential Campaign Organisation, Dr. Bukola Saraki. After controversies over the refusal of the US to grant him entry into the country for 12 years, indications emerged in December 2018 that Atiku was finally issued a visa by the US embassy.
Yesterday evening, his Media Adviser, Paul Ibe, said in a statement that Atiku would meet “with US government officials, the business community and the Nigerian community.”
The All Progressives Congress (APC) had used the fact that he was unable to travel to the US as a result of a bribery scandal involving William Jefferson, a former US congressman in 2004 to discredit him.
APC National Chairman, Adams Oshiomhole, has repeatedly said Atiku could not go to the US because he was “running away from investigations by the US authorities. We have a president whose integrity cannot be faulted anywhere in the world, but the PDP has a presidential candidate who can only travel to Dubai,” Oshiomhole had said.
In the course of the Jefferson investigation, the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) searched his residence in Potomac, Maryland, but no money was found. The investigators had a video recording of Jefferson who was representing Louisiana at the time, receiving $100,000 worth of $100 bills which he claimed was meant for Atiku, an allegation that the former vice president denied.
During one of his interviews before he emerged the PDP candidate, Atiku explained that though he had applied for visa, he was told that his application is going through administrative process.