By Onyebuchi Ezigbo in Abuja
The All Progressives Congress (APC) has accused former President Olusegun Obasanjo of intervening on behalf of the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar to help secure American entry visa.
In a statement issued by the acting National Publicity Secretary, Yekini Nabena, APC said it had stumbled on credible information which showed that Obasanjo had made moves to secure United States entry visa for Abubakar.
The statement said: “We have come across credible reports that former President Olusegun Obasanjo has made moves to secure United States entry visa for the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, whose candidacy he endorsed on Thursday,” it said.
APC said that Obasanjo was lobbying U.S. authorities to withdraw the ban reportedly placed on Atiku over alleged corruption indictment.
The ruling party had challenged the PDP’s presidential candidate to explain why he was unable to visit the U.S. many years after serving as Nigeria’s Vice President, adding that Abubakar was trying to evade arrest.
But the United States Justice Ministry had cleared Abubakar of any criminal offence as well as any pending investigation.
However, APC is still insisting that Abubakar was barred from entering the United States following an alleged $500,000 bribery scandal in 2005 that involved him, his fourth wife, Jennifer and former United States Congressman, William Jefferson.
The party said that former president Obasanjo while in office had deployed enormous resources of the country on a global dragnet coordinated by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in getting Atiku prosecuted for corrupt enrichment and money laundering.
APC said in the statement that: “A report by the United States Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, chaired by Senator Carl Levin reported that Atiku used offshore companies to siphon millions of dollars to his fourth wife in the United States, Jennifer while still the vice president of Nigeria between 2000 and 2008.
“The report further stated that then President Bush had on the strength of his report, barred Atiku and other corrupt politically exposed persons from being issued visa to the United States, a reason for which he has been unable to travel to the United States till date.” The ruling party which appeared hurt by Obasanjo’s recent endorsement of Abubakar’s presidential bid, said the intervention in his ban from the U.S. was evidence of Obasanjo’s legendary hypocrisy and self-serving interest in national affairs.