By Hillary Asemota
With alert and terror threat looming, Presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Alh. Atiku Abubakar over the weekend held a crucial meeting with officials of the US States Department in Washington DC in Abuja.
The meeting, which focused primarily on enhancing cooperation with the U.S. authorities on Nigeria’s security challenges, elections and democracy was led by Atiku and Assistant Secretary, States Department, Bureau of African Affairs, Molly Phee.
According to sources from the PDP presidential candidate’s side, “the meeting last night with officials of the States Department could not have come at a better time with the terrorist threat alert by the U.S. UK and Canada and the withdrawal of its non essential staff by the U.S Embassy in Nigeria.”
A press statement signed by Paul Ibe, Media Adviser to Atiku, on Saturday, said that, “the focus of discussions were on the critical need to seek collaborative solutions to our local issues on democracy and governance, our deteriorating security and the economy.
“Most importantly, the meeting secured commitments to support for free and fair elections in Nigeria, an announcement of a sanction policy before the elections to deter anti-democratic forces, and commitments for continued partnership with Nigeria in areas of security and development.”
Other officials of the States Department at the meeting included Karl Fickenscher, Acting Assistant Administrator, USAID; Scott Busby, Acting Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labour; Michael Heath, Deputy Assistant Secretary
Bureau of African Affairs; Brian Neubert; Director Office of West African Affairs; Skye Justice, Deputy Director, Office of West African Affairs; Toby Bradley, Deputy Assistant Secretary, Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs; Christopher Landberg, Principal Deputy Coordinator, Bureau of Counterterrorism and Stanley Brown,
Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Police-Military Affairs.
Those on the official delegation of the PDP presidential candidate include former Senate President and Special Envoy to the presidential candidate, Dr. Bukola Saraki; Sokoto State governor and Director-General of the PDP presidential campaign council, Aminu Tambuwal; former governor of Imo State, Mr. Emeka Ihedioha and Minority Leader of the House of Representatives, Mr. Ndudi Elumelu.