By Danlami Nmodu
Fresh reports have reached NEWSDIARYONLINE amid wild speculations about the “sudden” trip by Atiku Abubakar, Presidential candidate of Nigeria’s opposition Peoples Democratic Party, PDP to Paris, France, Monday night.
Independent enquiries by NEWSDIARYONLINE revealed that in this particular instant, claims that Atiku travelled principally on health grounds were described variously as “not true” and “a lie”.
Those conversant with the political intrigues told this newspaper that the story was just released to settle score with the PDP .
“The PDP has been attacking APC and its Presidential candidate, Bola Tinubu.This incident was used to get even with PDP.The story of Atiku’s illness being behind his latest trip (to Paris)is a lie,” NEWSDIARYONLINE was told.
It could be recalled that when Tinubu travelled recently, there were also claims that he was unwell.He had to release a video on Instagram showing him doing some exercise to prove that there was no cause for alarm.
Also, when reminded that the story was all over the Internet with claims that Atiku even collapsed after the rally in Kaduna, one of those contacted dismissed the story as “not true”.
NEWSDIARYONLINE reports that a former Minister of Aviation and APC presidential campaign topgun, Femi Fani-Kayode had claimed on his Twitter handle that Atiku collapsed after the Kaduna rally and was flown to Paris.
Fani-Kayode tweeted, “After his outing in Kaduna yesterday @atiku fell ill. He complained of dizzy spells& severe pains in his head& all over his body throughout the flight to Abuja. After landing at Abuja airport he collapsed. He was flown to Paris for medical attention immediately.God be with him.
The tweet continued, “..For the purposes of damage control they took pictures of him with others the following morning from Paris but please do not be fooled. There is something very wrong with the PDP pres. candidate in terms of his health & they don’t want the Nigerian public to know. Pray for him.”
There was also an online newspaper report which categorically said Atiku travelled on health grounds.
These claims fuelled confusion over Atiku’s health. However those conversant with the unfolding intrigues laughed off ill-health claims, insisting it was just “planted” or “pinned to get at PDP and its candidate.”
The speculations may have forced Atiku’s media aide, Paul Ibe to issue a statement Tuesday evening.
In a press release titled: “Atiku off to Europe on business”, Ibe wrote, “Presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party and former Vice President of Nigeria, Atiku Abubakar has travelled to Europe on business.
“The former Vice President travelled last night on a scheduled trip to meet with the technical partners of one his business entities that was impacted by the Covid-19 global lockdown and the consequent economic downturn.
“The meeting will also focus on conclusive discussions for a planned expansion of its production facility”.
Atiku took off from Kaduna Airport, not Abuja
Sources close to Atiku said contrary to Fani- Kayode’s claim, the issue of Atiku landing in Abuja after Kaduna rally and collapsing was not true. Atiku took off from Kaduna Airport, one of his aides told NEWSDIARYONLINE.
Kaduna airport was where Atiku and Tinubu even met.That explains the video circulating online about the meeting of the presidential aspirants, NEWSDIARYONLINE was further told
After reviewing the hoopla about Atiku’s trip, one source in the PDP presidential campaign organisation said APC campaigns claims on Atiku trip were “all propaganda”.
“That is what they are good at.They know APC will have to run this time around on the record of performance between 2015 and 2023.It cannot be based on Tinubu’s 8 years in Lagos.That is why they are resorting to propaganda,” the Insider said.
“Look Paul Ibe spoke with Atiku who approved the statement he released Tuesday night.Talk of his ill health not true.Atiku had just come out of a meeting after which Ibe released his statement.That statement was delayed because Atiku was in a business meeting.It could have come out earlier,” the source said.
Will Atiku also release videos and or photos of his meeting with his business associates in Paris? Or will he also embark on an exercise to convince the Doubting Thomas? Only time will tell.