Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), has reportedly applied for a visa to enable him visit the United States of America.
Atiku who had been repeatedly denied visa due to administrative reasons was at the US Embassy in Abuja on Tuesday for his visa interview.
The presidential hopeful and his team will use the opportunity to address some US congress caucuses, as well as high ranking official in the President Donald J. Trump government.
According to an undisclosed source who spoke to Punch, he 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 in its reaction however warned the US against granting Atiku a visa.
Mr. Lai Mohammed, the Minister of Information and Culture, noted that it was necessary to denied Atiku visa in order not to create the impression that he (Atiku) had been endorsed by America for the 2019 election.
Lai who spoke to journalists said; “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.”
He further stated that for years there had been a n investigation into the corruption allegations against certain individuals linked to Atiku, which consequently made it difficult for Atiku to secure a visa to the US.
“I am sure you will all recall the Jefferson’s case and the cold $90,000 in a fridge,” Lai said.
The opposition PDP in its reply to the All Progress Congress led government alleges that the ruling party is already jittery because of the calamity that awaits them.
The statement was issued by the National Chairman of the PDP, Prince Uche Secondus, saying that the APC government should be ready to accept defeat in 2019.
“What is their own in the visa that they are calling on the authorities of another country not to grant a private citizen?
“The fact is that the APC government has failed. They are already jittery. They know that the game is up and that’s why they have been running from pillar to post.
“Tell them that their days of deceit are over. Nigerians are tired of them and they can no longer lie or take the people for a ride anymore.”