Why I’ve not visited United States — Atiku

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Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar . [Photo credit: Guardian Nigeria]

Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar has explained why he has been unable to enter the United States in the past few years.

There have been concerns that Mr. Abubakar was avoiding a trip to America because he fears a warrant was out for his arrest there.

But Mr. Abubakar, who is expected to run for president in 2019, said in an interview published by The Boss newspaper that he had actually made attempt to visit the U.S. but was denied on administrative grounds.

“I applied, but wasn’t issued a visa. However, they did not decline me categorically either. They’ve only said my application is going through administrative process,” Mr. Abubakar told the paper published by Dele Momodu.

“It is the sole prerogative of America to determine who they want in their country or not. I’m not running away from America,” Mr. Abubakar added.

The former vice-president said such administrative denials were not unique to him, saying President Muhammadu Buhari could not also enter the country for 15 years due to his religious views.

The U.S. Embassy in Abuja did not immediately respond to PREMIUM TIMES email seeking comments Saturday afternoon.

Speculation about Mr. Abubakar’s run in with U.S. authorities stemmed from a broadband contract award to iGate, an America company which Williams Jefferson, then U.S. federal lawamker from Louisiana, had interest in.

Mr. Jefferson was said to have used his political influence and friendship with Mr. Abubakar to ensure that the contract went smoothly in Nigeria with intentions to pay some kickbacks to Nigerian officials, including the former vice president.

Mr. Jefferson revealed in a secretly recorded conversation with the FBI that Mr. Abubakar stood to benefit up to $500,000 for helping influence the broadband deal in Nigeria at the time.

Although Mr. Jefferson lost his representative seat and served jail term in America for the deal, Mr. Abubakar was never prosecuted in Nigeria. It is also not clear if Mr. Abubakar was indicted in the U.S over the case.

“On the issue of corruption, I have challenged anyone, anywhere, who has any evidence of corruption against me to come forward. I’m sure they would have combed everywhere trying to find anything incriminating against me, but they have not found it, or they are still searching,” Mr. Abubakar said.

Mr. Atiku, vice-president from 1999-2007, has largely been a businessman since retiring from Nigeria Customs Service decades ago.

He dismissed his critics and contenders as lacking basic entrepreneurial knowledge, hence the reason they despise him for his own business acumen.

“Let any of those who want to compete with me show what they have managed successfully,” Mr. Atiku said.

Mr. Abubakar’s likely 2019 ambition has become increasingly noticeable in his activities in recent months.

Over the past year, he had initiated a slew of political moves to cast himself in a brighter light.

Prominent amongst these is his relentless call for a fundamental restructuring of Nigeria, arguing that the current system is unworkable —a position that Nigerians are buying into in an ever increasing number.

Mr. Abubakar has been described as a serial contender for the presidency, having run in 2007 and 2015 elections, although the 2015 bid ended at primary stage when he lost to Mr. Buhari.

He dumped the ruling All Progressives Congress last week Friday, citing alleged failure by the Buhari administration to improve the quality of life in the country and neglect of the youth in federal cabinet appointment.

His political allies have indicated that Mr. Abubakar was on his way to the opposition Peoples Democratic Party, which has opened its doors to him.
The Minister of Women Affairs, Aisha Alhassan, openly threw her support behind Mr. Abubakar’s presidential bid in September despite the uncertainty that clouds Mr. Buhari’s re-election plans.

Mr. Abubakar also accused the president of sidelining him after contributing immensely to ensure his victory against then-incumbent Goodluck Jonathan in 2015.

The presidency has not reacted to Mr. Abubakar’s criticism.

But Mr. Abubakar’s recent actions have earned him renewed criticism, with many of his adversaries exhuming his past controversies, which include the iGate scandal.


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  • o ga you too like story,just buy ticket and go there,that is all!..don’t say they refuse you visa,i will get one for you if you need!.

    • Jon

      So, you prefer Buhari to Atiku? Lack of knowledge is a disease. Buhari is an Islamic extremist. Buhari believes in the present status quo.

      • Onye Obosi

        Madness is when you begin to run upandan , claiming in your warped mind that you are the only one with the right view.
        You like Atiku na for your poket, another person no like am, no be your business.
        Your reason for liking Atiku is the same reason another person hates him.
        So take your cup of sense and drink your water by yourself.
        Nobody beg you for opinion.
        Atiku na for your poket, Buhari na for him poket.
        Kachikwo?

        • Jon

          Yes, Buhari is a radical Islamic fundamentalist. He once said that an attack on Boko Haram is an attack on Hausa / Fulani North. Just today, Buhari’s Boko Haram massacred innocent 17 Bornu citizens and leaving scores wounded. By that statement alone from Buhari, it means Boko Haram is fighting for Buhari.

          If I have my way, I would exclude NW and NE from Nigeria. They are too violent. Do not want to live with violent animals.

          • Onye Obosi

            Old plate, sounds cracky.
            Get another line.

      • kinsly

        Go to sleep. Wailer.

  • TDaniels2

    ATIKU no doubts have questions to answer both in the US and Nigeria. ATIKU can run but he can’t hide, it’s just a matter of time before the past catches up with him!

    • Jon

      Show the document that the US is looking for Atiku

  • Julius

    lmaoooooooooo@ he had actually made attempt to visit the U.S. but was denied on administrative grounds. Dude should pick kanu as his running mate !

    • Jon

      Ok. provide proof that America wants Atiku.

      • Julius

        His visa application was rejected !!!!!!!!. The reason he gave is a BIG FAT LIE !. I can bet you that he didn’t apply for it because he knew they wants him.

  • raji

    Abeg America give Atiku visa oooooo oooooo I dey laugh

    • Jon

      Present a paper to show that the US wants Atiku.

      • Akani

        Jon , the burden of proof is also on you. Present ducument(s) to show that US doesn’t want him?

  • Nuorah

    Atiku is a true Nationalist

    • Akani

      How so?

    • Philip Gberindyer

      How?

      • Shahokaya

        He means a thief. They call themselves nationalist when they are looting our commonwealth.

  • Jon

    Entry into the USA is not a condition to run for Presidency in Nigeria. His boss, Obj is more corrupt than Atiku, if Atiku is even corrupt. I prefer a Atiku to Buhuri. Buhari is sectional leader and a religious bigot. Buhari once said that: Attack on Boko Haram is an attack on Northern Nigeria. Still an enlightened SW went ahead voted for him by following Thiefnubu blindly. What is wrong with citizens of Nigeria?

    • Tunsj

      Hogwash! Waiting for your proof that Obj is more corrupt than Master Rogue Atiku.

    • Ajayi Ifayemi

      Is your statement not an oxymoron? SW is enlightened and yet SW followed Thiefnubu blindly. How can SW be enlightened and be a blind follower at the same time. Don’t worry, you will be alright.

    • kinsly

      Is people like you with such thrash brain that is wrong with Nigeria.

  • persona

    Atiku, when you apply for the US visa, they have 3 levels of decision making:
    1- You are given a visa
    2- You are under consideration and you have to convince them to make it a yes or no.
    3- You are denied
    Atiku, you have a criminal case with the USG and they rather have you here than be humiliated abroad.
    The basis of you owning American University clearly guarantees you a visa. You are telling lies and lack of truth is not going to get you the presidency because Nigerians cant be deceived any longer.

  • ha ha ha ha ha that is rich!

  • Tunsj

    Hogwash! This clown is something else. How many years now has your application for a visa going through administrative process? US has already denied you a visa. Case closed.

  • Achim Albert

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    • Abdussalami Yaro

      Wawo! I give you Atiku Abubakar. Please help him, he wants to visit USA, and charge my account accordingly.

  • Yusufu Abdullahi

    Really? My brothers, Ndigbos have proverb that a sheet of paper cannot hide the secret of a flame for long because the flame is a fact while the sheet of paper in this case, fake. Administrative process means a case looking for resolution.

  • Mufu Ola

    US declined to give a “world class businessman” Atiku visa for “administrative reason”. Surely 419sm is on d loose here!

  • M-olaniyi Odebode

    CAN YOU IMAGINE A NIGERIAN PRESIDENT IN 2019 WHO CANNOT SECURE A VISA TO ENTER THE US? WITH SUCH A PRESIDENT, NIGERIA WOULD BE DONE FOR!

    • Tunsj

      Well put! I’m sure he would be able to secure visas to North Korea, Libya, Afghanistan, Somalia and Syria.

      • M-olaniyi Odebode

        Yes, these are the best countries in the world for Nigeria to ATIKULATE with during Atiku’s presidency.

    • ijelejames

      Thank you.

    • Adegbie Sylvester

      America will deal with Atiku the way UK deal with Ibori

  • Abdussalami Yaro

    Mr. Atiku, how comes you know the reason why USA denied Buhari entry because of his “religious view” but you don’t know why they refused you visa. What dose “administrative grounds” mean?.

  • Babanoregret

    Documents Point to Bribes of Nigerian by Congressman
    By PHILIP SHENONJUNE 7, 2006
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    WASHINGTON, June 6 — The Federal Bureau of Investigation raided the Maryland home of the vice president of Nigeria last summer in search of bribe money that the bureau believed had been paid to him by Representative William Jefferson, according to documents released on Tuesday.

    The documents included an affidavit signed by an F.B.I. agent who said that the Nigerian vice president, Atiku Abubakar, now a candidate for president of that oil-rich West African nation, asked for at least half of the profits of a technology company controlled by Mr. Jefferson that was seeking to do business in Nigeria.

    About the same time last year, the documents said, Mr. Jefferson told colleagues of his plans to bribe Nigerian officials, including Mr. Abubakar, in exchange for their help in winning business in Nigeria, and that Mr. Abubakar would be paid as much as $500,000 in cash.

    The F.B.I. affidavit, which was dated Aug. 2, and other documents were made public over the objections of Mr. Jefferson, a Louisiana Democrat who is the target of a wide-ranging corruption investigation. He has denied wrongdoing and has said the information in the court papers would unfairly damage his reputation.

    In the affidavit, an F.B.I. agent, Edward S. Cooper, said cellphone records suggested that Mr. Jefferson visited a home owned by Mr. Abubakar and his wife in Potomac, Md., an affluent suburb of Washington, around midnight last July 31 with the intention of delivering money to the Nigerian leader while he was on a visit to the United States. The next day, the F.B.I. said, Mr. Jefferson told a confidential informant that he had delivered “African art” — which the agent described as code for a cash payment — and that Mr. Abubakar “was very pleased.”

    Continue reading the main story
    RELATED COVERAGE

    The documents, which were released by a federal court in Greenbelt, Md., do not show what was seized by F.B.I. in the search of the Maryland home, nor do they show if the Nigerian leader ever received any money from Mr. Jefferson. A separate search of Mr. Jefferson’s home in Washington in August turned up $90,000 in cash that, F.B.I. documents suggest, had been intended for the Nigerian leader. A bureau affidavit stated that the money had been hidden by Mr. Jefferson in his home freezer.

    The Nigerian Embassy in Washington had no comment Tuesday on the disclosures in the documents about Mr. Abubakar, whose name had emerged previously in news reports about the investigation of Mr. Jefferson. The Associated Press quoted a spokesman for Mr. Abubakar in Abuja, the Nigerian capital, as declining comment Tuesday “until we have seen these reports or allegations.” Mr. Jefferson’s Congressional office referred questions to his lawyer, who has not returned repeated phone calls seeking comment.

    Bush administration officials have been reluctant to speculate publicly about the effect of the investigation of Mr. Jefferson on American relations with Nigeria, which is one of largest exporters of oil to the United States.

    Mr. Jefferson, an eight-term House member whose district includes most of New Orleans, has refused to discuss the detailed accusations against him in earlier court filings, including why so much money was in his home freezer.

    The documents suggest that Mr. Jefferson was aggressive in seeking to lobby officials in Nigeria and other West African nations to promote business for a small technology company in which his family had a stake. A former top aide and the founder of the technology company have already pleaded guilty to criminal charges.

    “With regard to the Nigerian business venture, Jefferson has discussed the making of payments to high-ranking government officials there, including the vice president of Nigeria,” Mr. Cooper wrote in the affidavit last August intended to persuade a judge to allow the search of Mr. Abubakar’s Maryland home.

    “The vice president agreed to help secure the necessary approvals for the participants in the Nigerian business venture” in exchange for “at least 50 percent of the profits,” it continued, adding that Mr. Jefferson had also discussed “the payment of a substantial monetary sum” to Mr. Abubakar “in the range of up to $500,000.”

    New York times.

  • ijelejames

    Mr Halliburton Atiku, “Administrative grounds” means that you are avoiding the US because there is an arrest warrant waiting for you. Remember that a United States congressman was jailed 13 years because of your corrupt dealings with him. You should be in jail not in politics. Stop lying mr man. We are not fools. Crazy troll!

  • Nigerian

    I think d best thing Atiku could do at dis moment is 2 prove Nigerians wrong by travelling to d USA. 4 US 2 deny visa 2 such a personality in d status of Atiku as d former VP, it must b a serious issue. D day Atiku denied Congressman Jefferson as his business, I knew something was fundamentally wrong. Dia4, sinnce he has d means, Atiku shld go 2 d US 2 prove Nigerians wrong.

    • Trendy

      are u deaf…? he said they hvn’t issue him visa since d year he applied ..

      Oh sorry i see u r a typical nigerian.

  • Mr. Abdin

    Well said Waziri for setting the records straight.

  • Spoken word

    U.S.A. will not give you visa because you are a thief.

    • newvoice404

      US is actually saying he is not a thief then

      • Spoken word

        Atiku will spend all his intels money on this fruitless journey.

  • newvoice404

    Why cant the USA issue him a visa and get him arrested upon entering the USA if they really want him for criminal offence? Please any one who hates Atiku should provide concrete evidence against this hardworking and lucky entrepreneur-politician- that is not a saint just like any politician(including the incumbent President of America) all over the world, instead of cooking political criminal offences and hearsays against him just because they are afraid of him. Let all of them contest and let there be several debates on how to improve/get creative about our economy, and let the electorates decide . Shame