Rather than running for office under the PDP umbrella in 2023, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar would do well to travel to the United States of America to resolve his lingering corruption allegations that landed Senator Jefferson in jail. The outcome of an investigation against him and his ‘former’ wife Jennifer revealed numerous underhanded dealings bordering on money laundering and other financial malfeasance. The onerous thing to do was for him to travel to the United States of America to respond to these weighty allegations which were the result of extensive investigations by the United States Congress.
During the 2019 presidential campaigns, we were inundated with several news reports, demanding that our party’s candidate go to America. When the request became so compelling, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar reportedly obtained a waiver from the United States Consular Office in Lagos to allow him to travel to the United States with the then President of the Senate, Senator Bukola Saraki. After this visit till date Alhaji Atiku Abubakar has not been able to visit America again ostensibly on the stretch of these weight claims which have not been removed. The entire US Congress report copiously indicted Alhaji Atiku Abubakar on matters concerning money laundering. It would be wise if the United States government were able to deal with this outstanding case once and for all, by extraditing the former vice president to answer lingering questions about financial irregularities.
Democracy speaks of openness in government. It also helps to promote transparency, good governance and accountability of leaders. The United States government is known worldwide as a supporter of due process, the rule of law and promoter of good governance and anti-corruption initiative, to deepen the institution of democracy, especially in developing and nascent democracies around the world. These essential ingredients that help protect the sanctity of the rule of law and democracy cannot suffer from a deliberate attempt to sweep such weighty allegations under the rug. As an alumnus of the Les Aspin School of Government and Good Governance, Washington DC, who was exposed to the basics of anti-corruption studies in 2004 and sponsored by the United States government, I feel patriotically troubled that those who should calm down in prison, still walk the streets as free men and even try to run for the highest office in the land.
The knowledge I have gained would be for naught if I chose to look the other way, when I would have to raise questions about whether or not his presidential aspiration was right. The United States Congress report on the investigation is too damning to ignore, if we are serious about maintaining the ethos of transparent leadership and positive governance. I therefore call on the United States government to initiate the process of inviting Alhaji Atiku Abubakar to the United States to face these charges without further delay. I am aware of the threats to my life due to my position of strength against the aspiration of Alhaji Atiku Abubakar and other northern seekers running against the course of the game.
I therefore take this opportunity to call on the United States government to act quickly on this matter in the interest of the rule of law, justice and transparency. The United States of America should please take deliberate action to help Nigeria grow its anti-corruption initiative, deepen its democracy and provide the opportunity for a robust economy that will benefit the majority and no to a privileged few. It will help consolidate private and public sector efforts to reduce incidents of corruption and financial malfeasance.
The sooner Alhaji Atiku Abubakar is brought to face the wrath of the law, the better for our anti-corruption crusade and the better for our fledgling democracy. I am a Nigerian who wishes to see a more proactive government that would respond positively to the aspirations and aspirations of its citizens. A stitch in time is worth nine. Now is the time to act and urgently too.
- PRINCE KASSIM AFEGBUA, MEMBER, PDP WARD 5, OKPELLA, EDO STATE.