New visa, who dis?

October 28, 2019

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21 – 1 – 2019

This is Zikoko’s Game of Votes Weekly Dispatch. We share the most important things leading up to the 2019 General Elections, and why they matter. 5pm. Every Monday. Stay woke. 

That’s super close. Have you collected your PVC? I’m judging if you haven’t.


On January 16th, after 13 long years of carefully avoiding the North American continent, our Uncle Atikulate got the answer to many a Nigerian prayer- his American visa was stamped. Finally, finally- he could stunt on the gram that he made it to Trump’s America without any arrests.  He spent 2 days visiting American business leaders, members of Congress and Nigerians in the diaspora.

Great, Remind Me Why This Is News Again?

There has been a lot of talk on Atiku being a maybe, wanted man in the US for the following reasons:

Between years 2000-2008, Jennifer Douglas, Atiku’s wife and a US citizen — was alleged to have paid around $40m from offshore corporations to over 30 US bank accounts on her husband’s behalf. If that sounds an awful lot like money laundering, that’s because it absolutely is.

Atiku was also implicated when Williams Jefferson- a US lawmaker, was caught on tape in 2005 admitting to a plot to bribe the then VP with $500 000. This was to allow his telecommunications company- iGate, win a contract award in Nigeria. Jefferson served time for this, but Atiku remained in Nigeria, to face more pressing issues like running for president 3 times and captioning ‘#smile’ to his many social-media posts.

As Atiku no longer enjoys immunity as Vice-president, there was every chance his re-entry into the US would be welcomed with handcuffs and sirens, a point his opponents brought up as a hindrance to his presidential candidacy, time and time again.

So Is He Off The Hook Then?

Not exactly. The US hasn’t definitively cleared Atiku of corrupt practices. So his being granted a visa, while great — cannot be equated to a confirmation of his clean hands by the United States.


We have to ask, because our president was particularly off his game this week.

Tripping: Parts 1-3


At The Candidates town hall meeting, our president appeared to serially misunderstand the questions thrown his way. On education and restructuring, he spoke of the press investigating corruption in the local government. On why the Nigerian people should vote him in, he said simply that he had agreed to contest if his party nominated him. Most notably, our president appeared to be severely tripping, because he alluded to the use of technology in faking the Ganduje tapes. His ambivalence to these corrupt charges is a huge stain on his anti-corruption stance, which, has loudly been the backbone of his administration since 2015.

Parts 2-3

Spreading the cheer of his  #NextLevel campaign, Buhari, 76  visited 7 states in the past week. His state of health was however called to question when he tripped in Kogi state and appeared to lose his balance in Kaduna. On January 17th, while campaigning in Warri, Delta State, he wrongly referred to the APC gubernatorial candidate — Great Ogboru, as the ‘presidential’, then ‘senatorial’, before finally settling on ‘governatorial’ candidate.

As a 20-something-year-old who somehow manages to get winded on escalators, I’d be quick to dismiss doubts on Buhari’s motor skills owed to his loss of balance. However, his lack of cohesion at the town-hall meeting and gaffe in Imo State cannot be so quickly set aside. Buhari has had issues with his health which have prompted his taking many trips abroad, the longest of which saw him gone for 104 days. Is his health stable enough to handle 4 more years of the rigours of a presidency?

The Debates.

Buhari’s Absence

Keeping the same energy from 2015, Buhari surprised a grand total of 0 persons, this part of the world, when he failed to show up to the presidential debates on January 19th.While he had the convenient reason of having nothing to debate with then-President Jonathan, following 16 years of misrule — this year, his absolute BS excuse laid in conflicting schedules with the debate. This is despite having a month to plan his campaign activities around it. Bubu chose instead, to spend the day commissioning the Baro Port, which is virtually unusable until the River Niger is dredged — and carrying out rallies in Niger and Plateau states.

Should have given his slot to someone who actually wanted it, no?

Atiku’s Tantrum.

Regardless of the outcome of the 2019 elections, Atiku will always have a place as Nigeria’s foremost diva, for refusing to participate in the presidential debates. This is especially because he made a show of leaving America to do so and actually made it to the venue – agbada and all.
For his reason, Atiku refused the debate without Buhari present because he was averse to attacking a man not present to defend himself. Which is a bit rich considering he did just that here, here , here and here. Oh and here too. #Smile.
By making the debate about Buhari, rather than capitalising on his absence to prove himself the better candidate —  Atiku has made it all too apparent that he doesn’t care deeply about convincing the electorate of his abilities. A fine chance lost, if ever there was one.

The Candidates’ Plans

The 3 candidates cool enough to show up and stick around for the debates have interesting ideas for Nigeria. Here are some of their plans:
Durotoye — who believes the more you learn, the more your capacity to earn :), plans to unify all curricula, so students are tested on the same thing. He also plans to create 12 million jobs in 4 years. Moghalu plans to dedicate 20% of the country’s budget to education and 15% to health. As well as a ₦1 trillion fund to boost investments. Ezekwesili will set up a national skill program to train 900 000 Nigerians annually to gain skills. She also plans to increase defence spending by 15% to improve national security.
Watch them take the time out to explain their plans, like people who actually care for our votes here.


Sure About These?

We’re going to need the candidates to show workings on the following plans: Oby’s idea to have half her cabinet consist of young people. Will they have the experience? Durotoye plans to fund education by dipping into government savings and alumni pockets? Moghalu will cut government costs but treble the police force? Who is this private sector they all plan to meet for money and why should they help? Durotoye will cut costs by entering buses with his ministers? He also plans to give free healthcare to persons above 60 and those below 5. On whose tab? Moghalu has a  ₦1 trillion dream, but realistically funding it? Questions, questions.


With all of  the week’s craziness, here are some of the things that went under the radar:
Rochas Okorocha
 —  the Imo State Governor and current Senatorial candidate, got suspended from the APC for anti-party activities on January 17th.
INEC de-listed all Rivers APC candidates from the 2019 elections. That’s governor, senator, House of Reps, the whole works — over disagreements within the party. Yikes!
El-Rufaibelieves in his drip. Despite facing criticism for picking a Muslim deputy, he remains confident of a win in the Kaduna gubernatorial elections.
Sanwo-Olu made an app nobody asked for.


While Vice President Osibanjo spent most parts of last week campaigning to bring the presidency home, he may have popped out for a minute or two to perform his vice-presidential role as the Deputy Chairman of the National Security Council.

The National Security Council advises the president on matters relating to public security, including matters relating to any agency established by law for ensuring the nation’s security.

While the President serves as Chairman, we know how a busy schedule can keep him from attending important things he’s had prior knowledge of — so his vice-president can take the reins and see to it that the nation’s security is under control.

Other members include the Chief of Defence Staff, the Ministers of the Government of the Federation charged with defence and foreign affairs, the National Security Adviser and others appointed by the President.



You made it to dah end!

You badass you! If you enjoyed reading this, please tell 5 people I spent all night looking through Atiku’s Insta to put it together. Get them to subscribe too.  Catch you next week!

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October 28, 2019

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