THE 20-minute telephone conversation between United States Secretary of State, Antony Blinken and President-elect, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, last Tuesday is causing fears in the camps of the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar and his Labour Party (LP) counterpart, Peter Obi.
Inside sources informed Sentry that the development came to both men, who are challenging Tinubu’s victory in court as a rude shock, saying that it was the least they and their supporters expected after their “strenuous efforts” to discredit the election.
Coming a few hours after an announcement by the US that it might place visa bans on some Nigerians believed to have worked against the country’s democratic progress, Blinken’s call to Tinubu and the tone of their interaction are said to have left the presidential aspirants confused as they now fear that they and not Tinubu or his supporters, could be the ones being targeted for the ban.
Their fear is said to have further heightened during the week with the US announcement of a powerful delegation to represent the country at the inauguration of Tinubu as President Muhammadu Buhari’s successor at the Eagle Square, Abuja on Monday.
A source familiar with goings on in Obi’s camp said that the mood there had changed since last week when they realised that, contrary to their initial thinking, Tinubu remains in the good books of America after the election as a respected democrat.
“It came as a shock to them that America was not taken in by all the propaganda and campaigns of calumny that have been launched against the person and character of Tinubu since the race for the nation’s number one seat began.
“America proved itself a country that is too meticulous and too sophisticated to be deceived by the lies told about the person and character of Tinubu on the social media as well as some traditional news media, especially the propaganda machine of the supporters of Obi and Atiku.
“The killing of some American envoys in Anambra, the state where Obi won 98 percent of the votes, the same day Blinken spoke with Tinubu has also put the LP presidential candidate in a very difficult position as accusing fingers are being pointed in the direction of his supporters.
“Remember that his trip to the UK last Easter ended in a fiasco as he was reportedly turned back from the Heathrow Airport over issues that bordered on impersonation.”