Presidential candidate of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, is confirmed to have arrived in the U.S after 13 years of abstaining from the country.
His Media Adviser, Mr. Paul Ibeh, who had earlier doubted the journey, on Thursday said in a statement that Abubakar arrived at 8:20 p.m. Nigerian time and 4:20 p.m. Washington D.C. time.
Abubakar, he said, would meet with the Nigerian business community in the U.S.
He is also expected to meet with U.S. government officials during the visit, Ibeh said.
“Yesterday, Abubakar met with the business community in Lagos at an interactive session to unveil his plans to get Nigeria working again.
“Thursday morning, he left Abuja accompanied by the Director-General of PDP Presidential Campaign Organisation and Senate President Bukola Saraki for the United States.
“Atiku Abubakar will in the course of his trip hold meetings with the U.S. government officials, the business community and the Nigerian community,” the statement read in part.
Ibeh said the PDP Presidential Candidate was expected to return to the country on Saturday, Jan 19.
A check at the Embassy of Nigeria in Washington, DC, reveals that the embassy is not aware of the visit.
A competent source at the embassy told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that the embassy was yet to get official information about the former vice president.
Atiku, who is the presidential candidate of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) was then being rumoured to have arrived the United States on Thursday night. Some other reports said he was on his way.
The embassy source, however, said the embassy was still awaiting official communication to that effect.
“Actually, we have not received any information for the embassy but we are just trying to find out whether really he is coming. That is what we are doing right now.
“They told us he’s coming tonight, today, so we are trying to find out whether he’s really coming.
“Mr (Peter) Obi, (Atiku’s running mate), he was to come last week but the event was cancelled.
“So we are still trying to see but if you get anything, please just let us know also because they said he’s coming here so that if you’re able to get any updated information, just inform us so that we can prepare vehicles to go to the airport and meet him and all that.
“For now, we have no information. If I am able to confirm anything, I will get back to you and please, if you too get any confirmation or any update, just get back to me, just call me.
“As a former Vice President, the Embassy is supposed to organise to receive him at the airport and all that, but then we have not received anything in that regards,” the source said.
In a tweet, Mr. Dele Momodu, Publisher of Ovation Magazine, confirmed that Abubakar was in U.S.
ATIKU ABUBAKAR hits the ground running in Washington DC… pic.twitter.com/ki1bq9cUZd
— Dele Momodu Ovation (@DeleMomodu) January 17, 2019