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PDP reportedly pays US firm N400m to win election for Atiku

A report says the PDP is paying a US firm N400m to help Atiku Abubakar win the 2019 presidential election.

The online newspaper names the lobbyist as Brian Ballard.

Who is Brian Ballard?

Politico magazine writes that Ballard is closer to President Trump than perhaps any other lobbyist in town.

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“He’s parlayed that relationship into a booming business helping clients get their way with the Trump administration — and his clients and even some of his rivals say his firm has a better grasp of what’s going on in the West Wing than almost anyone else.

“Ballard was one of the top fundraisers in the country for Trump’s campaign and continues to raise millions for his reelection campaign. Wiles, one of his top lieutenants, ran Trump’s campaign in Florida and delivered the nation’s biggest swing state to the president”,Politico writes.

Wording of contract between PDP, Ballard's firm

TheCable writes that it has seen contract papers of the deal between Nigeria’s major opposition party, PDP, and Ballard’s firm.

According to TheCable, the PDP has agreed to pay $90,000 (N31.5m) to Ballard Partners Inc. on a monthly basis throughout the duration of the contract.

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The story states that the contract which was signed on September 21, 2018 is for a year, meaning Ballard would rake in close to N400 million from the deal.

Excerpts from the contract as seen by TheCable reads as follows: “This contract is entered into between the Peoples Democratic Party of Nigeria (“the Client”), Plot l970 Michael Okpara Street, Wuse Zone 5, Abuja, and Ballard Partners, Inc. (“the F irm”), 601 13th Street NW, Suite 450N, Washington, D. C. 20005.

“This agreement shall automatically renew for successive one-year periods on the anniversary of the effective date of the agreement unless either party terminates the agreement. Upon renewal this agreement may be terminated within thirty (30) days written notice by either party.

“Duties of the firm. It shall be the Firm’s duty to consult with the Client and advocate on its behalf those issues the client deems necessary and appropriate before the US Federal government.

Issues and objectives may include, but not be limited to, enhancement of US Nigerian relations; strengthening and advancing democratic values and the rule of law in Nigeria, with a special focus in the coming months on maintaining political and security conditions free of intimidation and interference in order to ensure the success and fairness of Nigeria’s national election for president in 2019. It shall further be the Firm’s duty to inform the Client of developments in legislation and policy relevant to the Client’s issues and objectives.

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“It shall be the Client’s duty to provide the Firm the information necessary to best represent the Client. It shall also be the Client’s duty to timely compensate the Firm for its services.

“Compensation. The Firm shall receive from the Client $90,000 a month, payable in quarterly installments for this agreement, plus the reasonable costs associated with the representation, including but not limited to, necessary registration fees; and travel expenses.”

A former Aviation Minister, Mr. Osita Chidoka, was said to have appended his signature for the PDP.

Contracting foreign PR firms is a thing these days

Atiku and top ranking PDP chieftains have briefly relocated to Dubai where they have been locked in “strategy meetings”.

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It is not the first timea Nigerian political party will be enlisting the services of a United States or foreign Public Relations (PR) firm to win a presidential election.

In 2014, the All Progressives Congress (APC) signed up AKPD Media and Messages to frame the narrative for election season.

AKPD is a political consulting firm founded by David Axelrod.

Axelrod consulted for Barack Obama in 2008 and advised Obama as President.

Another US firm, Levick which is led by former US President Bill Clinton’s confidant Lanny Davis, was hired by the Jonathan administration for the 2015 election.

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More notoriously, London based Cambridge Analytica was also reportedly recruited by the Jonathan campaign team to swing the 2015 election the incumbent president’s way.

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