Nigeria News

When Does Atiku’s Lobbying Move Become A Sin?

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Nigeria News takes a look at the alleged lobbying group for Atiku Abubakar, its implications before the tribunal.

In a democracy, lobbying is an acceptable tool used by politicians and nations to drive their beliefs. So I will not put the former Vice President Atiku Abubakar and the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on trial for allegedly engaging a lobbying group to help in his fight to reclaim an alleged stolen mandate by the All Progressives Congress (APC).

Though he has denied hiring foreign lobbyists to recognize him as the winner of the recent presidential election and kick against the inauguration of the winner, President Muhammadu Buhari, the fact remains that lobbying is acceptable in international diplomacy.

The Federal Government had earlier threatened the PDP candidate with allegation of treason for engaging foreign lobbyists but his spokesman Mr. Segun Sowunmi insisted that Atiku never engaged any foreign agent to work for him.

Recall that the Centre for Responsive Politics (CRP) had reported how Atiku hired Bruce Fein, a former official of the US justice department, and his firm Fein & DelValle PLLC, in March.

This is where the spokesman of the All Progressives Congress, Festus Keyamo came in, saying that it is wrong that Atiku could go to the extent of hiring a foreign firm to come and upturn the will of Nigerians who had voted and chosen their own president.

To Sowunmi, the foreign agent was not hired by Atiku but may have been hired by Nigeria Diaspora Community who are also key stakeholders in the project called Nigeria.

Atiku and PDP have before the presidential election petition tribunal, myriads of evidence to claim the mandate as the candidate has posited that he won Buhari with over one million votes but that the votes were stolen by the ruling party.

One of the evidences is that the results from the Independence National Electoral Commission, INEC that declared Buhari of APC as winner are different from the one the PDP obtained from the commission’s server.

The only area I think Atiku and his hired agent had erred is breaking into the server of the INEC to get the allegedly different results, which showed that PDP won the presidential polls.

However, the INEC had also denied that its server was hacked, as it urged the PDP and its candidate to provide evidence as to it.

Sowunmi said that the evidence would only be provided before the tribunal but not to the public or INEC. There is a kind of growing confidence by the Atiku group that the tribunal judgment would favour PDP based on the loads of evidence that they have.

But the fear is whether the judiciary will not be biased in this situation. To Sowunmi, the PDP had gone to the tribunal because it has confidence in the Nigeria judiciary.

What is happening at present is media trial and diversionary tactics of the APC. In the last few days, the APC has emphasised more on the nationality of Atiku Abubakar more than the presidential election before the tribunal.

While PDP alleges that President Muhammadu Buhari lacks the West African School Certificate and not qualify to run for the presidency, the APC has hammered more on the nationality of Atiku, which according to Sowunmi will be settled at the court.

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