Laleye Dipo in Minna
Former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar Sunday paid a private visit to Nigeria’s former military president, Gen. Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida, at his Minna uphill residence in Niger State.
Atiku was accompanied by some members of his presidential campaign organisation.
The former vice-president, who is a frontrunner for the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) presidential ticket for the 2019 elections, arrived Minna International Airport at about 12.35 pm and drove straight to the residence of Gen. Babangida in a convoy of about 15 vehicles.
He was said to have met privately with Babangida for close to three hours.
The meeting between the duo may not be unconnected with Atiku’s presidential ambition, a source close to Babangida’s mansion THISDAY.
However, it could not be said who accompanied the former vice-president on the visit as journalists were kept at a long distance from the former head of state’s residence.
Even on their way out, the long convoy sped away at top speed in vehicles with tinted glasses.
Several supporters of the Waziri Adamawa, who stormed Babangida’s residence turning the place into a carnival of a sort with their singing and dancing, were disappointed when the presidential hopeful did not show any interest in them.
The supporters came with various placards with some with inscriptions lauding the qualities of Atiku.
The supporters, some of whom had waited for over two hours, were disenchanted when Atiku and his convoy sped off to the airport without acknowledging their presence.
One of the aggrieved supporters, Hajia Nabila Mohammed, said she was disappointed, adding that: “I am not happy at all because we have been waiting for him for the past four hours. He could not even wave at us.
“This is a man we have been fighting for his course. He just came out and ignored us. He is not fair to us but we will still support him.”
The Niger State Coordinator for ‘Hope for Atiku 2019’ Mohammed Kutigi however disclosed that even though Atiku did not acknowledge them, they were still happy he (Atiku) visited Niger and he is aware he has supporters in the state.
The PDP in the state also claimed ignorance of the visit. A leader of the party said: “It must have been a private visit, we were not carried along.”
Journalists that waited for the former vice-president were similarly disappointed as a message came from Babangida’s house asking pressmen to leave, saying: “This visit is a private visit, he can not talk to journalists.”
The Media Assistant to Atiku Abubakar, Mr. Paul Ibe, had earlier informed reporters that the visit was a private one, saying: “Atiku will not speak to anyone.”