As the scheming for who becomes Nigeria’s President next year intensifies with different permutations by the two major parties, the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has engaged the services of two prominent Nigerian influencers to lobby the United States (US) to support it to upstage the All Progressives Congress (APC) from the Presidential Villa in the next elections.
The two influencers engaged by the PDP to seek the support, understanding and goodwill of the U.S government towards the party’s success in the 2023 elections, are from the northern and South-East with substantial influence in Nigeria and abroad.
The former Aviation Minister, who has remained a strong advocate for the PDP in both electoral and economic issues, has lived and worked in the US before returning to the country to take up appointment with a major federal agency before venturing into full time politics.
The northern Catholic priest on the other hand, it was learnt from reliable party sources, was chosen to join forces with the ex-Aviation minister to make the U.S trip and lobby in support of the PDP because of his influence in Nigeria and overseas as well as his fearlessness in tackling the current administration under President Muhammadu Buhari.
A top party official, who is familiar with the trip, confirmed to Sunday Vanguard that the former Minister would travel out of Nigeria early next week to join forces with a group of Nigerian activists and lobbyists already living and working in the country to drum up support from the influential Washington Lobby Group.
According to the plan for the lobbying assignment, the former Minister, who was part of the team that successfully lobbied for the visit of former Nigeria’s Vice President to the U.S, would later be joined in the U.S by the outspoken Catholic priest to continue their pressure on the Black Caucus to secure political support for the PDP to sail through in the 2023 elections.
“The lobbyists will use the facade of an innocuous conference to garner support for their mission in the U.S but all those whose influence they consider as critical for their interest have already been contacted and their active support sought by the organisers,” a top party official said.
“The U.S lobby arm is being coordinated by a prominent Nigerian activist from one of the South-East states, who has been mobilising support for various political and economic causes in the U.S in the past”.
The party official, who is familiar with the trip, pointed out that the main thrust of the visiting Nigerian lobbyists to the U.S is to sell the opposition PDP to the international community as the only party in the country that can take the nation out of the current challenges.
Additionally, the team is to plead with the international community to give the PDP another opportunity to prove to Nigerians that the party has what it takes to redeem them from the economic and socio-political crisis currently bedevilling the nation under the current administration.
This is not the first time a Nigerian opposition party is engaging in lobbying US administration for support in election.
Sunday Vanguard recalls that in 2014, then opposition APC reportedly hired David Axelrod, the architect of Barack Obama’s election and re-election campaigns, to lobby then US government, leading to the defeat of then President Goodluck Jonathan who was seeking re-election and victory for President Muhammadu Buhari.03/2022