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Amidst controversial deal with Ballard Partners, Atiku, wife pledge to liberate Nigeria if elected


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DESPITE the controversy surrounding deal with the United States firm, Ballard Partners, Inc., presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, Atiku Abubakar, on Wednesday pledged to liberate the nation if elected in the forthcoming general elections.

In his personal post on verified Twitter accounts, the politician promised to create more opportunities, jobs and promote the nation’s economy both at home and abroad.

“I solemnly declare to Nigerians, that if I am elected President on February 16, 2019, I will be Nigeria’s chief marketing officer, and will never speak ill of our economy, our polity and our youths. My utterances, both at home and abroad, will be used to lift Nigeria’s economy because Atiku means jobs.

“I believe in jobs – Jobs, opportunity, Being United and Security and it is time to get Nigeria working again. I, therefore, make this promise to all Nigerians, elect me, and I assure you the good people of Nigeria, that we will regain our status as Africa’s top recipient of FDI,” said the PDP candidate.

The former Vice President has been in the storm lately for allegedly hiring lobbyists in order to obtain the visa that enabled him enter America after many years of the ban.

Atiku’s Post on his official handle

In the purported deal, signed on his behalf by the former Aviation Minister, Osita Chidoka and Brian D. Ballard on 21st September 2018, Atiku is to make a quarterly payment of $270, 000 dollars ($90, 000 per month) for the contracted services.

The duty of the firm as contained in the contract agreement reads; “It shall be the firm’s duty to consult with the client and advocate on its behalf those issues the client deems necessary and appropriate before the US Federal Government.

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“Issues and objectives may include, but not limited to, enactment of US-Nigerian relations, strengthening and advancing democratic values and the rule of law in Nigeria, with a special focus in the coming months on maintaining political and security conditions free of intimidation and interference in order to ensure the success and fairness of Nigeria’s national election for president in 2019.

“It shall further be the firm’s duty to inform the client of developments in legislation and policy relevant to the client’s issues and objectives.”

The leak of this document has ever since caused a public outcry and raised discussions among politicians and other members of the public.

Why I visited the United States

However, Atiku claimed his visit to the US was to woo foreign investors and for the nation to reclaim its lost position as Africa’s top destination for FDI.

In the post, he frowned at Nigeria’s declining fortune on foreign direct investment stressing that Ghana had overtaken the nation as West Africa’s largest recipient of foreign investments.

“It is with a very heavy heart that I received the news that the Republic of Ghana has overtaken our dear nation as West Africa’s largest recipient of foreign direct investment.

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“For all the years that the Peoples Democratic Party governed Nigeria, including the 8 years of which I was Vice President, Nigeria always set the pace for Africa in terms of foreign direct investment and became the number one recipient of FDI in Africa in 2013 under a PDP administration. In that year, we also became Africa’s largest economy, thanks to the PDP’s leadership.”

Atiku’s Post on his verified Facebook account

Atiku further blamed the current administration for overlooking the current economic development despite Nigeria’s previous status as an investment destination in Africa.

The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), in its 2018 World Investment Report titled, ‘Investment and New Industrial Policies, Key Messages and Overview’, attributed the 11 per cent decline ($11.3 bn) in regional FDI to West Africa to Nigeria’s ‘depressed’ economy.

The nation’s FDI, according to the report also fell by 21 per cent which amounts to 43.5 billion.

He attributed the slow socio-economic development as to why Nigeria was declared poverty headquarter of the world.

“I foresaw this happening, which is why I was in the United States last week to get foreign investors who have been divesting from Nigeria, to return their investments. Prior to my US trip, I had undertaken similar missions in Europe and the Orient.”

“As a businessman and employer of labour, I am disappointed that a nation with 15 percent of our population has outperformed us in this area. This is an economic emergency that must be addressed.

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“Sadly, this unfortunate economic indicator has escaped the attention of the current administration, who are more interested in hounding real and imagined opponents, like the Chief Justice of Nigeria and many legislators, than in addressing the rapid economic decline Nigeria is witnessing under their watch,” he added.

Atiku became PDP’s candidate on October 7, 2018, but the agreement was signed by Chidoka on 9th September, 2018 about 16 days prior to his emergence as the flag bearer.

During his visit, he met with the congressman Michael McCaul, Chairman of US Homeland Security, Congressman Smith and some Nigerians in the US.

Titi Abubakar canvasses support for husband  

Meanwhile, wife of the former Vice President, Titi Abubakar has intensified the campaigning for the candidacy of her husband.

She said if her husband is elected in the presidential election Nigeria would be relieved of bondage it found itself.

Speaking at a Town Hall meeting today in Abeokuta, Ogun State capital, she emphasised on Atiku’s capacity to develop the country, restructure and ensure inclusive governance.

“You have no other President than Atiku. He was there before as Vice President. He has done it before and he will do it again. He was the one who led President Obasanjo’s economic team. The eight years was meaningful to Nigeria. The APC government which is barely four years in power and everything has gone worse.

“We’re in bondage. Vote Atiku to liberate us. It’s an inclusive government that we are going to have because it would be the government by the people and for the people. We want to be the servant of our people because we are the chosen one.”

Olugbenga is an Investigative Reporter with The ICIR. Email address: [email protected] Twitter handle: @OluAdanikin

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