It was learnt that Atiku Abubakar, presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, has applied for a visa on Tuesday to enable him to visit the United States. There have been mixed reactions from APC and PDP at the possibility of Atiku’s acquiry of US visa.
It has been gathered that his visit would be to make a political statement, especially on the ongoing speculations that he cannot travel to the US.
The source from Punch said, “I can authoritatively tell you that Atiku Abubakar went to the US Embassy on Tuesday for an interview and there is hope that he will get it (visa).
“When he gets it, we will use it to make a political statement. This is because those saying he can’t travel to the US will be shamed.
“Apart from that, the trip will be used to sell his candidature and that of the PDP to the entire world. So, let us wait and see what will happen. The PDP and Atiku are ready for the 2019 race.
The Federal Government, however reacts different as it has warned the US to be cautious about granting Atiku a visa at the moment; in order not to create the impression that the PDP candidate had been endorsed by America for the 2019 election.
Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, further stated in an interactive session with journalists in Abuja on Thursday.
“We understand and appreciate the fact that it is the prerogative of the US to grant a visa to anyone who applies.
“However, we want the US to be neutral and be wary of taking any decision that will give the impression that they are favouring or endorsing one candidate over the other.
“An impression must not be created that the US government is endorsing one particular candidate over the other.”
The minister alleged that for years, there had been a kind of congressional bi-partisan investigation into the corruption (allegations) against certain individuals, which had made it difficult for Atiku to secure a US visa.
He said, “I am sure you will all recall the Jefferson’s case and the cold $90,000 in a fridge.”
In a response, the PDP has alleged that the APC “is already jittery because of the calamity that will soon befall them”.
National Chairman of the party, Prince Uche Secondus, who spoke with our correspondent on Atiku’s application for a US visa, asked the APC and FG to be ready to accept defeat in the February presidential election.
He said, “What is their own in the visa that they are calling on the authorities of another country not to grant a private citizen?’