The obsession with Atiku’s visa

Atiku Abubakar

We cannot pretend that Atiku Abubakar is not important in the political calculations of either the ruining class or those at the receiving end of serial bad governance. The one fights an internal war of attrition, hoping that victory secures its exclusive monopoly of the power that feeds both its ego and its lavish lifestyle. Its foot soldiers pitch camps, ever ready to destroy themselves for their puppeteers.

In the years since being vice-president, Atiku continues to be the subject of intense power speculation. In the weeks since he became the candidate of the PDP, the politics of his admissibility to the United States has made headline news. An alleged statement credited to Lai Mohammed asks American consular officials to keep Atiku grounded. Apart from being undue interference in the sovereign rights of an independent country, the statement itself is duplicitous. If Atiku is a fugitive from American law for offences committed here, and a threat to Muhammadu Buhari’s second term, why not encourage him to go and meet his Waterloo? Especially since you claim to be fighting corruption.


A shameful diplomatic ignorance is portrayed here. Our culture knows nothing about freedom to make decisions without undue influence. So government people believe it’s a universal thing that you need long legs to get your visa approved. Supposedly enlightened people think that trying to influence the outcome of a visa application is global best practice.

The obsession over Atiku’s US visa is evidence of a failed system. In spite of the so-called anti-corruption stance of this regime and those before it, no charges has been brought against Atiku except defamatory excerpts from a book written by the man he served as vice president. Curiously, Atiku has failed to clear his name in a court of law and the story of his alleged corruption has stuck.


In obsessing over Atiku’s American visa, we unwittingly admit the failure of our judicial process. If an allegedly corrupt Atiku is walking free; so free that he became the presidential candidate of a party in which he was once a vice-president, we should cover our faces in shame for failing to prosecute him. Nothing better signposts a failed system.

Of course, we exhibit the indices of a failed state. We failed to prosecute James Onanefe Ibori who stole more money in eight years as governor than some nations realize as their GDP and yet became a political godfather. We shamelessly baited him for Britain’s extradition, trial and conviction. It was an indictment of our investigative and judicial system just as unsolved crimes and criminality indicts our security system. Yet, we may wake up someday to hear that Ibori has been granted state pardon.

The anti-corruption Buhari regime has shown more interest in arresting and detaining critics than it has in prosecuting those it accuses of corruption. No nation worth its sovereignty gloats over its failure to prosecute suspected looters at home only to hope in being remedied by another country. Except that country is a conquered territory or a vassal state. It is disingenuous to gloat over Atiku’s corruption and rejoice at the fallacy that the US judicial system would somehow make him pay for alleged offenses he allegedly committed in a supposedly independent country.

It would have been understandable if our obsession with Atiku’s alleged US travel ban were turned on Buruji Kashamu. Kashamu aka Esho Jinadu is alleged to have committed crimes in America before fleeing to Naija. He became a party financier, a sinnator of the feral republic with posters touting him as PDP’s gubernatorial candidate in Ogun State. He is supposedly in the race with President Jones’ former spokesman, Reuben Abati as running mate.

Ours is not a country; it is a joke! We are jesters if we think that the clowns who ran this country aground for 16 years have now been redeemed to deliver it. We are worse jesters if we believe that the party of the other half a dozen that has spent its first term making excuses mixed with token palliatives would change our political fortunes. Americans must be laughing at us every May 29 or October 1 when we celebrate democracy and independence when in actual fact we would love to have them colonize us instead. Indeed, the chameleon adapts its colours to surrounding habitation; in anatomy, physiology or physiognomy it remains a chameleon.

It’s amazing how Atiku has suddenly become a corrupt person. His corruptive tendencies did not stop Buhari from enjoying his generosity in the past. Other media-convicted individuals have had their corruption images whitewashed the moment they join the ruining party. Nobody should bring Dariye’s exclusive jail sentence to this debate. There are convictions and there are convictions. This is why anyone believing that either the PDP or the APC would redeem Naija needs to see his or her shrink. The difference in the reverse side of a coin or currency does not change its value.

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