One time former Vice-President of Nigeria and presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Atiku Abubakar is currently lobbying the United States of America for support in his bid to challenge the outcome of the February 23 presidential election.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), had declared the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), President Muhammadu Buhari, winner of the election, after polling 15,191,847 votes to defeat his closest challenger, Atiku Abubakar, who secured 11,262,978 votes.
However, it has been reported by a research group dedicated to tracking money in US politics and its effects on elections and public policy, that Atiku has enlisted the assistance of two high-powered lawyers in Washington DC, to “help in his legal challenge after his election loss”.
According to the report, “Abubakar has ties to those in Trump’s orbit, having hired political consultants like Riva Levinson, who worked with Paul Manafort, and Brian Ballard, a major Trump fundraiser.”
The former vice president had earlier paid a visit to the US, during which he stayed at the Trump International Hotel in Washington DC, despite allegations that he could not step on the shores of America as a result of corruption-related issues.
According to the report, Lloyd Ukwu, “a Nigerian barrister and trusted confidant [of Abubakar],” is assisting “in the operations of the U.S. Situation Room.”
Ukwu, who is a critic of Buhari and founder of a group called “We the People of Nigeria” which claims to be an advocate for “free and fair elections”, recently led a delegation to meet with a variety of government officials in the State Department, Congress and “delivered a letter to the [acting] United States Ambassador to the United Nations, Jonathan Cohen, in New York to ensure the success of the Nigerian elections”.
The firm will be paid $30,000 over a 90-day contract to provide “legal, consultancy and public advocacy services to encourage Congress and the Executive” to wait on recognizing a winner of the Nigerian election until after the legal challenge is “impartially and independently resolved”.
The firm has however promised to “deliver” by ensuring Atiku is declared winner of the 2019 presidential elections.