Former Director of Strategy and Communications under President Goodluck Jonathan administration, Chief Jackson Ude has asked the Director General of the Voice of Nigeria, VON, Mr Osita Okechukwu to concentrate on building his agency rather than spew ignorance on issues between Atiku Abubakar and the U.S immigration.
Ude, a staunch supporter of the former Vice President said it was a height of ignorance for Okechukwu to equate visiting the U.S and the White House to good governance in the face of a collapsed economy, divided country and insecurity occasioned by President Mohammadu Buhari’s incompetence.
“You cannot point to anything that Okechukwu has achieved in VON since he was appointed. Instead, he uses his office to attack opposition politicians while his agency rot away under his watch,” Ude said.
The former Presidential Aide stated that Atiku has no immigration status to prove to Okechukwu or anyone as he does not have such because the former Vice President is not an American, a Permanent Residence or seeking any immigration favors from the United States.
According to Ude, Atiku only applied for a U.S visa like every other person and was denied and that does not confer on him any immigration status.
“I live in the United States, I am conversant with the immigration laws. I followed Atiku’s Court Case at the U.S District Court For The Eastern District of Virginia and I have the Court Records. Nowhere did it indicted Atiku for a Crime. If it did, Atiku would have been facing the wrath of the Law in the U.S by now.”
He wondered why U.S denial of an entry Visa to Atiku has become a political tool of blackmail against the former Vice President when there are many Nigerians who are daily being denied Visa even with the most genuine reasons to travel abroad.
He said it is the sole prerogative of the U.S Government through Visa officers to grant U.S visas to whomever they consider visiting the United States, stressing that if the U.S have anything criminal against Atiku, he would have been extradited to face charges.
“Nigeria has treaties with the U.S, part of which is to seek extradition of anyone alleged to have committed a crime. If Atiku Abubakar is wanted for criminal breaches, he would have been extradited to face charges. If that is not the case, then it becomes a worn-out argument to insist that a denial of a visa application means Atiku is a criminal wanted in the U.S.”
Insisting that Atiku would be accorded a red-carpet treatment in the White House when he becomes President in 2019, Ude said it smacks of ignorance for Okechukwu to say Atiku cannot visit the U.S even if he becomes President because under that condition, he would be granted full diplomatic rights to go anywhere he wants.
The former Presidential Aide said what Nigerians should be more concerned about is who would pull the country out of the wood it has found itself under Buhari, arguing that as it stands, Atiku has all it takes to be a better choice based on his record and spread across the country.
“Atiku is the best option as it stands today. He is better than Buhari and has more integrity than Buhari. He has more spread than Buhari across the country. Buhari prior to 2015 has no friend besides the ones in Kaduna, Kano, Borno and Bauchi. Buhari’s new friends today are emergency friends who are only around him for political gains. Atiku has friends in my village in Abia State dating back 1992.
Ude argued that Nigeria needs a unifier, a competent leader whose actions and body language would not polarize the country, pitching tribes, ethnicity and religion against each other. He said Atiku has proven himself to be that leader Nigeria needs.
According to him, “another four years for Buhari would destroy Nigeria. Those championing his second term know this. They don’t love Nigeria, they love the perks of political office. We need Nigerians who love Nigeria and not those whose actions seeks to divide us.”