The Ekiti state chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) says there is nothing to show that Aisha Buhari, the first lady, was at the George Mason University or the US Institute of Peace — two institutions she reportedly visited during her recent trip to the US.
The first lady was in Washington DC last week, two months after Ayo Fayose, governor of Ekiti state, alleged that she had been evading the country over her involvement in the Halliburton scam.
“I challenge the president’s wife to visit the United States of America to convince Nigerians that she was not the Aisha Buhari mentioned in the judgment convicting William Jefferson,” Fayose had said, insisting that she was the one indicted by a US court for transferring $170,000 to Williams Jefferson, a US congressman.
“It is on record that the president has visited USA three times and his wife did not travel with him. Equally, she ought to have visited USA last year September to chair a United Nations programme but she sent wife of the Senate President, Mrs Toyin Saraki to represent her.”
His party has now questioned the veracity of that visit, saying the state chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) only celebrated it out of “total ignorance”.
“Even the presidency has not told anyone that wife of the president travelled to the USA and in official communications, only ignorant and mischief makers in the APC will believe that a trip to the USA will be made by Mrs Buhari and Nigerians will only get to know about it through online media,” read the statement, issued by Jackson Adebayo, state publicity secretary of PDP.
“It is only in the world of the APC that wife of the president of Nigeria, the most populous black nation in the world, would travel to the USA, ostensibly to debunk her involvement in a major scam and no television station will report her departure and arrival. The question is, did she travel to USA or Qatar?
“If the presidency has not been bold enough to tell Nigerians that Mrs Aisha Buhari travelled to the USA on official visit, only a party of scammers like the APC will go on the rooftops to celebrate photoshoped pictures as evidence of visit to USA.
“It is strange that wife of the president of Nigeria could travel to the USA and purportedly attended events there without
international television stations like CNN, Al jazeera, BBC, Sky News etc and local stations like Channels TV, NTA, AIT and others reporting it. Or are they still ‘editing’ the video clips?”
While casting doubt at the purported trip, PDP said: “Even if Mrs Aisha Buhari actually travelled to the USA, does that erase the fact
that in the judgment delivered by the United State District Court, Eastern District of Virginia, Alexandria Division, USA, in criminal No
1: 07 CR209, that indicted the USA Congressman, Williams Jefferson, it was mentioned that $170,000 was transferred from account in Nigeria in the name of Aisha Buhari to an account in the name of The ANJ Group, LLC, identifying William Jefferson as beneficiary?
“As a party of responsible and discerning minds, PDP in Ekiti State would have elected to ignore the APC and allow the party the freedom to advertise its idiocy. This is more so that the matter is now a subject of litigation and no one has denied the existence of the judgment that indicted Williams Jefferson and featured conspicuously at page 22, the name of Aisha Buhari as having transferred $170,000 from account in Nigeria to William Jefferson.
“Most importantly, Nigerians have witnessed more heinous forgeries from the APC, one of them being pictorial claim that President Buhari
(as APC presidential candidate then) had an interview with Kemi Fadojutimi on ‘All Eyes on Africa’ TV show in London, whereas the interview was held in Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Abuja.
“However, it is important to point out that from all evidences, the pictures circulated as arrival of President Buhari’s wife at Dulles
International Airport, Washington DC could have been taken at the Doha International Airport, Qatar. Even on the official website of George Mason University and US Institute of Peace, USA where the president’s was said to have attended events, there is nothing to show that she attended any event in the two institutions.”
The party said it had “seen pictures of Wife of the Senate President, Toyin Saraki with President Barrack Obama’s wife, Michelle” and “pictures of Mrs Patience Jonathan with Michelle Obama when she visited the USA”.
“Where are Aisha Buhari’s pictures with the First Lady of USA and major government officials from the country? Or could she have arrived and departed from the USA like a spirit?” it asked, adding: “It is even more important that nothing official has been said about the purported trip. Not from the President’s spokespersons.”