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2019: Group accuses Atiku, PDP of planning to rig poll.

SAVE Nigeria Network (SNN), a civil society organisation has accused the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Atiku Abubakar of hiring foreign agents to manipulate results of the 2019 general elections.

Report emerged last week that the report that the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) had hired the firm of Brian Ballard, a top US lobbyist, ahead of the 2019 elections.

The firm is expected to receive $90,000 per month.

Dr Abraham Abayomi, Convener Pro-Tempo, raised the alarm that the decision to hire the American to meddle in Nigeria's election showed a troubling pattern that Atiku has no interest in running Nigeria for Nigerians.

In a statement made available to our reporter on Sunday, Abayomi warned Nigerians to be wary of the kind of foreign interference that the Atiku/Ballard marriage will produce.

He said: 'We are compelled to invite you for this press briefing after news broke that the People's Democratic Party (PDP) presidential candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar has hired a United States firm and lobbyist, Brian Ballard to work for his campaign.

'We are saddened that the PDP and Atiku's loyalist are hailing the $90 thousand Dollars or N31.5 million per month hire as the next best thing after the creation of mankind when they should reasonably be crying for being out of touch with reality.

'Only wickedness marinated in ignorance should make anyone see such betrayal of one's nation as worthy of celebration. The hire is wrong on many levels.

'First, for a candidate that is selling the lies of being an apostle of restructuring, engaging Brian Ballard for that amount is the hallmark of irresponsible. Part of the restructuring Nigeria needs is the urgent trimming down of election cost so that decent people that do not have access to stolen public funds can contest and possibly win elections to contribute their quota to national development.

'But where Atiku remains obsessed with doling out to Americans part of the left over from the resources he personalized from his Vice Presidency days then reducing the cost of elections will remain a myriad and majority of those that will contest and likely win will remain treasury looters.

'We have cause to believe that the hiring of Brain Ballard is not because he is a publicist but because the $90 thousand monthly is a bribe or fees for helping Atiku commit a fresh round of crime to wit forging and manipulating documents to enable him again enter the US. Part of Ballard's assignment, as we have been made to understand, is to lobby Americans to spare Atiku the prospect of serving jail term when he visits.

'The decision to hire this dangerous American to meddle in Nigeria's election shows a troubling pattern that Atiku has no interest in running Nigeria for Nigerians.

'He transported over 400 people to hold his strategy session in Dubai. He hired an American to sow confusion among Nigerians. He is using Israeli spies to gather intelligence against other opponents. We know that as vice president he brought Indians and Lebanese to act as conduits for the public funds he was cornering.

'Ballard is therefore not a quantity to be celebrated as his previous job deliveries had been about manipulations and interference that was carried out by Russia in Trump's election, which has become a subject till date in the intelligence community of America. Nigerians must, therefore, be wary of the kind of foreign interference that the Atiku/Ballard marriage will produce.

'We must also point out that if Trump is Ballard's product then it follows that part of his strategy is to promote divisiveness - the United States has turned out fractured and the fault lines are becoming more pronounced with each successive day of the Trump Presidency but the seeds of discord were sown during the electioneering.

'Ballard as Trump's lobbyist is not a voter anywhere in Nigeria and whatever role he has been invited to play is suspicious and can only be targeted at a regime change that seeks to invalidate the sanctity of the ballot by getting third-party countries to influence the process. It is a danger that must be immediately confronted so that we will not be lamenting in retrospect like the Americans are doing after Ballard completed his assignment there.'
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Publication:Nigerian Tribune (Oyo State, Nigeria)
Geographic Code:6NIGR
Date:Nov 4, 2018
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