Atiku Abubakar, the presidential candidate of the Democratic Party of Peoples (PDP), finally received a visa to the United States.
A source in the family reported this to TheCable on Saturday and confirmed that the former vice president had left Nigeria in the UK, where he would spend some time before heading to the United States.
TheCable also understands that former President Olusegun Obasanjo played a “critical role” in forcing the US government to issue a visa to his former deputy, with whom he was alienated for almost 15 years.
The trip marks another chapter in the controversy that shook the former vice president for over a decade.
Atiku, who travels extensively, was not in the US at age 13, which made him think that he could avoid a possible arrest or prosecution.
His political opponents used their absence in the US not only to scoff, but also to discredit him.
His US government scandal began after the FBI investigated a bribery scandal involving former US Congressman William Jefferson in 2004.
Atiku was accused of demanding a bribe of $ 500,000 to help award contracts to two US telecommunications firms in Nigeria.
The FBI searched his residence in the posh district of Potomac, Maryland, but no money was found.
Investigators filmed the Jefferson videotape, which was a congressman representing Louisiana, receiving $ 100,000 for $ 100, which he said was intended for Atiku, but the former vice president repeatedly denied the allegation.
Despite Atik’s claim to innocence, the controversy raged.
Two months before he announced interest in the presidential race in 2019, Atiku gave an interview to celebrity journalist Dela Mrobeura, where he explained his absence in the United States.
“This is America’s sole prerogative to determine who they want in their country or not,” he said.
“I do not run away from America. I applied, but did not get a visa.
He said that the United States did not categorically deny him a visa.
“They only said that my application was going through an administrative process,” he said.
On Thursday, Information Minister Lai Mohammed warned the United States that he would be careful in granting visas to the main opponent of President Muhammad Bukhari in 2019.
Answering a question about Atiku’s visa status on Friday, Rusel Brooks, a representative of the US consulate in Lagos, said that issuing visas to Nigerians, regardless of their status, is strictly confidential.
He said the US government will not publicly discuss such confidentiality.
Some members of the Congress of All Progressive Representatives (APC) have argued that Brian Ballard, the publicist of US President Donald Trump, is working to ease the ban on getting Atik’s visa.