*says visit to Washington DC welcome and timely pre-election diplomacy
By; KATO P. LADAN, Kaduna
The Director of Diaspora for the Atiku-Okowa Presidential Campaign Organisation, PDP Presidential Campaign Council Prof. Isa Odidi, has declared former Vice President and PDP flagbearer, Atiku Abubakar, as the preferred presidential candidate in next year’s polls for majority of Nigerians abroad.
In a statement released Sunday in Abuja, the Canadian-based egg-head and entrepreneur described Atiku’s current visit to Washington DC as a welcome and timely pre-election diplomatic move.
According to Pro. Odidi, Nigerians in Diaspora who have been yearning for an experienced and capable leader to take Nigeria out of the woods will be excited at the visit and at the prospects of a process to unite, rebuild and restructure Nigeria.
He said: “Having officially commenced his campaign in Nigeria, it is a good idea to go shopping for strategic partnerships since the tasks ahead will be enormous.
“The visit is timely in the light of terrorist alerts by the US and its allies in Nigeria,” Odidi stated, adding that: “The carefully selected strong delegation of His Excellency, underscores the importance he attaches to foreign partnership – especially the very strategic meeting he had with the State Department on Thursday.”
He described Atiku’s team to Washington DC as a combination of experienced legislative and executive men that includes former Senate President, Bukola Saraki; Ex Governor Emeka Ihedioha; House of Representatives Minority Leader Ndudi Elumelu and, of course, the Director General of his Presidential Campaign and Governor of Sokoto State, Aminu Tambuwal.
Prof. Odidi, however, expressed the hope and commitment that with the multitude of available skillful Nigerians abroad, that “Atiku is the best prepared and capable leader to do a turnaround of Nigeria so that our citizens in the Diaspora can be encouraged and mobilised to come to contribute their own quota in skills, resources and governance like it happened during the Obasanjo-Atiku administration of 1999-2007.”
He urged Atiku to ensure, through constitutional reforms, the right to vote for citizens living overseas amongst other needs such as national welfare package and economic participation.
“Nigerians in the Diaspora should be able to vote at the next round of elections after 2023. It does not look good disenfranchising millions of our compatriots who live and work overseas, to support the economy of their home country.”