By Prince Kassim Afegbua
Rather than seek election under the umbrella of the PDP in 2023, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar will do well to visit the United States of America to resolve his lingering corruption allegations which have led Senator Jefferson to jail. The outcome of an investigation against him and his “former” wife Jennifer revealed a lot of underhand transactions bordering on money laundering and other financial malfeasance. The onerous thing to do was for him to visit the United States of America to answer to those weighty allegations which were the outcome of the comprehensive investigations carried out by the United States Congress.
In the 2019 presidential campaigns, we were inundated with several news reports, demanding that our party candidate should visit America. When the request became so compelling, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar was reportedly granted waiver by the United States Consular office in Lagos to enable him visit the United States with the then Senate President, Senator Bukola Saraki. After that visit till date, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar has not been able to visit America again ostensibly on the stretch of those weighty allegations which have not been dispensed with. The entire report of the US Congress copiously indicted Alhaji Atiku Abubakar on issues concerning money laundering. It will make judicious sense if the United States Government is able to treat this pending matter once and for all, by way of extraditing the former Vice President to answer those lingering queries on financial impropriety.
Democracy talks about openness in government. It also helps to promote transparency and good governance and leadership accountability. The American Government is known world wide as a stickler for due process, supremacy of the law, and promoter of good governance and anti-corruption initiative, to deepen the institution of democracy especially in developing and fledgling democracies the world over. These essential ingredients which help to protect the sanctity of the rule of law and democracy, cannot be allowed to suffer at the hands of a deliberate attempt to sweep such weighty allegations under the carpet. As an alumnus of the Les Aspin School of Government and Good Governance, Washington DC, who was exposed to the rudiments of anti-corruption studies in 2004 and sponsored by the United States Government, I feel patriotically disturbed that those who should be cooling off in jail, are still walking the streets as free men and even trying to run for the highest office in the land.
The knowledge I acquired would come to nothing if I choose to look the other way, when I should be raising queries about the propriety and or otherwise of his presidential aspiration. The report of the United States Congress on the investigation are too damning to be ignored, if we truly want to sustain the ethics of a transparent leadership and positive governance. I am therefore, calling on the United States Government to commence the process of inviting Alhaji Atiku Abubakar to the United States to face those charges without further delay. I am aware of the threats to my life over my strong position against the aspiration of Alhaji Atiku Abubakar and other northern aspirants who are running against the run of play.
I am therefore, using this opportunity to plead that the United States Government takes expedite action on this matter in the interest of rule of law, justice and transparency. The United States of America should please take deliberate steps to help Nigeria grow her anti-corruption initiative, deepen her democracy and provide the opportunity for a robust economy that will benefit majority and not a select and privileged few. It will help consolidate both private and public sector effort at reducing the incidents of corruption and financial malfeasance.
The earlier Alhaji Atiku Abubakar is made to face the full wrath of the law, the better for our anti-corruption crusade, and the best for our fledgling democracy. I am a Nigerian who desires to see a more pro-active government that would respond positively to the yearnings and aspirations of its citizenry. A stitch in time, saves nine. This is the time to act and urgently too.
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