The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is on another journey to buy goodwill in the the United Arab Emirates (UAE), The United Kingdom (UK) and other parts of Europe.
According to The Nation newspaper, the opposition party is leaving no stone unturned to secure victory at the 2019 elections.
In furtherance of the N388million lobbying deal that gained Atiku Abubakar, the party’s presidential candidate, an entry into the United States, the party has now commenced similar process in UAE and UK.
Although the budget for this new public relations endevour is not known yet, Osita Chidoka, a former minister of aviation said the U.S. deal that reportedly earned Atiku his visa after 12 years was to promote free and fair elections.However, Lanre Issa-Onilu, the National Publicity Secretary of the All Progressives Congress (APC), says the agreement had sinister motives.He said spending N388million on such a venture was “a sign of the recklessness which PDP is noted for”.In the agreement between PDP and Ballard Partners, Inc. publised by SaharaReporters, PDP is expected to pay the firm $90,000 per month for 12 months.
The lobbying is expected to run from September 2018 to September 2019.
The agreement was signed by Chidoka (the PDP Special Advisor) and Brian D. Ballard (the President of Ballard Partners, Inc.).
It read in part: “This agreement shall become effective in September 2018 and shall remain effective until September 20, 2019. This agreement shall automatically renew for successive one-year period on the anniversary of the effective date of the agreement, unless either party terminates the agreement. Upon renewal, this agreement may be terminated within thirty (30) days written notice by either party.
”It shall be the Firm’s duty to consult with the Client and advocate on its behalf those issues the Client deems necessary and appropriate before the US Federal government.
“Issues and objectives may include, but not be limited to enhancement of U.S. Nigerian relations, strengthening and advancing democratic values and the rule of law in Nigeria, with a special focus in the coming months on maintaining political and security conditions free of intimidation and interference in order to ensure the success and fairness of Nigeria’s national election for president in 2019.
“It shall further be the Firm’s duty to inform the Client of developments in legislation and policy relevant to the Client’s issues and objectives.
“It shall be the Client’s duty to provide the Firm the information necessary to best represent the Client. It shall also be the Client’s duty to timely compensate the Firm for its services.”
In its response to the hiring of the consultant, a statement by the APC read: “The PDP leaders have sinister motives but they cannot succeed. They are paying huge sums of money to engage consultants with the sole intention to deceive those abroad and Nigerians again into submitting our resources by coming back to power.
“We thank God that all their efforts from the UAE to the UK, the USA and elsewhere in Europe have all ended in disastrous outcome. The free and fair poll is here in Nigeria, not in the US. So, they can deceive themselves but they cannot deceive Nigerians.
“Spending N388million on public relations and lobbying is very reckless and a sign of recklessness which PDP is noted for. Everything about PDP and its leaders has been driven by recklessness. Their 16-year reign in government was a reckless enterprise. Nigerians should watch out, they are spendthrift.
“We know the cash is part of the money stolen which this APC government is making efforts to retrieve from them. This is why they think President Buhari should not be re-elected. The February 16 presidential poll is not about who will win; it is about which state will vote more for President Muhammadu Buhari because PDP has technically pulled out of the race.”