Disqualify Atiku Now – Anti-corruption Network tells Malami

 The World Anti-Corruption Research Network has asked the attorney-general of the Federation (AGF), Abubakar Malami, to disallow Atiku Abubakar from contesting in Saturday’s presidential election.The UK-based group in the petition dated February 20, 2019, said it is worried about Atiku’s candidacy which “poses a security risk to the country”.

Atiku, the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), has had multiple criminal investigations over the last decade, the group said.

“The major heads of our concern against this candidate are twofold,” read the petition, signed by Gbenga Oduntan on behalf of two other group — HEDA, led by Olanrewaju Suraj, and The Corner House, headed by Nicholas Hildyard.

“In view of the available open-source evidence, he is, in our opinion not fit and proper person and shouldn’t therefore, not be allowed to contest and/or enter into the most exalted office of the land in any country, let alone in Nigeria which has been addressing severe transparency challenges.”

The group listed the alleged bribery and money laundering cases involving the former vice-president.

Atiku had been accused of demanding a bribe of $500,000 to facilitate the award of contracts to two American telecommunication firms in Nigeria and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) had also searched his residence in the US but no money was found.

The investigators had videotaped William Jefferson, who was the congressman representing Louisiana, receiving $100,000 worth of $100 bills which he claimed was meant for Atiku, but the PDP’s candidate has consistently denied the allegation.

“Atiku Abubakar’s exposure to the United States criminal justice system over the last decade gives the United States government near complete leverage over him,” the group said while listing the security implications should he emerge Nigeria’s president.

“It is extremely easy to compromise someone who has put himself in this position through blackmail. The threat of releasing damaging revelations and evidence kept on file against him over the years is a clear and present danger.

“The use of Kompromat on foreign leaders in international relations is alive and well and is, in fact, topical in relation to the United States history and current national life.”

The group said Atiku’s presidency would be vulnerable and be easily exploited by the US.

For 13 years, Atiku could not enter the US but he was eventually granted a visa in December.

His subsequent visit to the US was a boast to his campaign but the group said his visit, allegedly facilitated by US lobbyists, is an indication of collusion between his campaign and foreign elements and this makes his candidacy a risky one on Nigeria.

The group called on security agencies, academia, lawyers to engage in an interdisciplinary study of the business and any other connections between Atiku and the US.

“In addition to the need to avoid allowing an easily compromised person to become President of Nigeria upon whom illegal leverage may be exercised, there is the urgent need to consider the implications for Nigeria’s image to install a President like Atiku Abubakar in view of the country’s avowed interests to abandon the brand of being a ‘fantastically corrupt state’,” it said.

Atiku is the major challenger of President Muhammadu Buhari, the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the election holding on Saturday.

(The Cable)


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