Nigerian presidential hopeful Atiku Abubakar’s January trip to Washington had a simple goal: end claims that he couldn’t go to the United States without being arrested.

The 72-year-old former vice-president has long been linked to two US bribery and money laundering scandals, and rumoured to have been the subject of a visa ban.

Abubakar has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing and his entourage dismissed talk of the threat of arrest as “fake news”.

But far from putting the issue to bed, the visit has only triggered even more questions about if and how he was able to secure a waiver.

Did lobbyists close to President Donald Trump facilitate the trip? How much did he pay? Why did he stay at Trump International Hotel, a stone’s throw from the White House?

Without any formal response, the questions are likely to linger well beyond February 16, when Nigerians go to the polls.

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