Atiku Abubakar, presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), has reportedly employed the services of a US lobbyist firm to advance his challenge of the outcome of the February 23 presidential poll.
According to a report by Centre for Responsive Politics (CRP), Bruce Fein, former justice department official and his firm Fein & DelValle PLLC registered as foreign agents of PDP and Atiku on March 24.
President Muhammadu Buhari defeated Atiku with over three million votes in the election but he rejected the results and filed a suit before the presidential election petition tribunal challenging the process which he said was “heavily militarised” and results manipulated.
The firm is expected to “encourage Congress and the executive to forbear from a final declaration and recognition of Nigeria’s February 23, 209 presidential election until outstanding legal challenges to the initial government of Nigeria assertion that incumbent President Muhammadu Buhari was the victor are impartially and independently resolved by the supreme court of Nigeria without political or military influence, intimidation or manipulation”.
Atiku is seeking to be recognised by the US as the president of Nigeria, and halt the final declaration of Buhari as the president until the matter is ruled upon by the supreme court.
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 Federal Republic of Nigeria presidential election pending legal challenges to the initial assertion that incumbent President 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 arid 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”
It added that Fein will be paid $30,000 over a 90-day contract.
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 “highlight the declining rule of law, democracy and clue process in Nigeria under the APC and the current administration.”
It said it will establish that if Atiku “is denied victory”, problems like genocide, poverty, corruption and strife will “undoubtedly continue.”
Asked to react to the move by Atiku, Garba Shehu, spokesman of the president, said: “The party should be in a good position to handle this. I don’t think the President of Nigeria should be dragged to this low level.”