Nigeria: Atiku Hires U.S. Lobbyist to Unseat Buhari

Abubakar Atiku and President Muhammadu Buhari.
10 April 2019

Atiku Abubakar, presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, has employed the services of a United States lobbyist firm to advance his challenge of the outcome of the February 23 presidential poll.

President Muhammadu Buhari defeated Atiku with over three million votes in the election but Atiku rejected the results and had challenged same at the presidential election petition tribunal, alleging that the poll was heavily militarised" and results manipulated.

According to a report by Centre for Responsive Politics, CRP, Bruce Fein, former justice department official and his firm Fein & DelValle PLLC registered on March 24 as foreign agents on behalf of PDP and Atiku.

The firm is expected to "encourage Congress and the Executive to forbear from a final declaration and recognition of Nigeria's February 23, 2019 presidential election until outstanding legal challenges to the initial government of Nigeria assertion that incumbent Buhari was the victor are impartially and independently resolved by the Supreme Court of Nigeria without political or military influence, intimidation or manipulation".

Atiku's 2019 bid: Between the messenger and the message

According to the firm, parts of its services on behalf of Atiku includes to "Meet and consult with members of Congress and staff in an effort to pass House and Senate resolution(s) to forebear from a final declaration and recognition of a winner of the 2019 Nigeria presidential election pending legal challenges to the initial assertion that incumbent Buhari was the victor are impartially and independently resolved by the Nigerian judiciary in accordance with the rule of law and due process, free from military or political influence.

"Draft articles and op-ed pieces to spotlight the issues in Nigeria post-2019 presidential election and to promote the rule of law and due process in resolving electoral disputes in Nigeria.

"Make television and other media appearances to engage in public advocacy discussions of these issues."

In a letter replying Atiku's request for their services, the firm said a "Nigerian barrister and trusted confidant of Your-Excellency Dr. Lloyd Ukwu, will assist in the operations of the U.S. Situation Room."

The firm said its lobbying effort will demonstrate that an Atiku presidency is "the will of the people."

It added that its services will convince the United States that an "Abubakar presidency" will open a fresh and new chapter in Nigerian politics, while "highlighting the declining rule of law, democracy and clue process in Nigeria under the APC and the current administration."

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