The presidential aspiration of former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar, may be threatened following allegation of extortion of various support groups by an unnamed official in the Atiku Abubakar Campaign Organisation. Blueprint scooped from impeccable sources that an official from the campaign organisation had over the weekend convened a meeting with many support groups where a fee N10,000 each was imposed as pre-condition for registration. The official, we learnt, had insisted on the fee on the grounds that it would assist the campaign organisation to evaluate their seriousness as well as provide some basic facilities for the groups to function.
However, the groups numbering 46 smelt a rat when the fee was neither receipted for to acknowledge payment nor was any screening done to attest to the validity of the fee paying support groups. Following what they claimed was shady registration and screening exercise, the members of the Support Groups threatened to withdraw their loyalty from the Atiku 2019 Presidential aspiration. One of the groups, which did not want its name mentioned, said the resort to extortion apart from being corrupt clearly showed that some officials in the Atiku Campaign Organisation were out to ruin the former Vice President’s aspiration.
The groups urged the Campaign Organisation to step in and nib such untoward practice in the bud because it is capable of not just creating bad blood but thwarting the support by Nigerians for Atiku 2019 ambition. “How can groups, which are working assiduously to ensure that Atiku is elected in 2019 to liberate Nigeria and Nigerians from the current economic miasma, be compelled to pay N10, 000 registration and screening fee so that they will be recognised by the aspirant? “We are worried that such demand has emanated from the Campaign Organisation of the former Vice President. We think either someone wants to sabotage Atiku’s Presidential aspiration or the man himself is not just serious about becoming Nigeria’s president in 2019”, another group said.
Commenting on the alleged scam, the National Secretary, Atiku National Youth Organisation, Comrade Samuel Tiku, appealed for calm from the groups and called for comprehensive investigation of the allegation. Also, the Director in charge of Youth Organisation and Other Support Groups, Dr. Natt Yaduma, said such extortion is a clear scam. “Collection of registration fee from the support groups was an illegal act and will be treated as such.