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PDP’s US lobbyist denies predicting Buhari’s victory


Nigerian opposition presidential candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) Atiku Abubakar speaks during a campaign rally at the Ahmadu Bello Stadium in Kaduna on January 24, 2019, ahead of Nigeria’s general elections of February 16. (Photo by Sodiq ADELAKUN / AFP)

A United States lobbying firm, Ballard Partners, has disowned a letter purportedly written by the firm, predicting the loss  for Atiku Abubakar, presidential candidate of the People’s Democratic Party, in the presidential election holding on Saturday.

“My signature has been forged. Ballard Partners has not conducted any survey research on behalf of the People’s Democratic Party of Nigeria,” said Ballard.

“The entire contents of the letter are false, and no individual employed by Ballard Partners has been involved in any of the actions cited in this phony letter.”

Ballard Partners, founded by Florida-based lobbyist Brain Ballard, was hired by PDP last year ahead of general elections to help the party “maintain political and security conditions free of intimidation and interference”.

The lobbyists firm also played a vital role in Atiku’s visit to the US after 12 years of visa denial due to corruption charges.

In the letter dated February 5, the firm allegedly sent to Bukola Saraki, director general of the Abubakar’s campaign, said its survey on the presidential election showed that Atiku has a very slim chance of winning.

“I stress that access to this report should be for you and the candidate‘s eyes’ only,” the letter reads.

“Our figures demonstrate that we have a very slim chance of winning. I believe that all possible urgent steps need to be taken to rectify the situation.

“As you may recall, as far back as mid-December, you referred to possible steps required to guarantee an upper hand. These steps should now be taken,” the letter read in part.

Festus Keyamo, the spokesman of President Muhamamdu Buhari’s Campaign Council, retweeted a copy of the letter. The tweet has 710 retweets at report time.

Ballard Partners insisted that the letter could not have originated from it.

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