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Abubakar Audu: The tragedy, the APC dilemma



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THE political tragedy arising from the sudden death of Prince AbubakarAudu, former Governor of Kogi State, and governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), in the Saturday, November 21, 2015, governorship election in Kogi State, is already mix up in the APC. If the argument for a fresh poll eventually prevails following the constitutional crisis Audu’s death last Sunday is beginning to generate as the APC was leading in the inconclusive election, chances were high the APC might lose its near victory when the supplementary election comes.
Many believe the late Audu, on his own clout, garnered the 240,867 that put him ahead of his rival Governor Idris Wada, candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), in the governorship election, though he contested on the APC ticket.
As a politician, the late Audu was a heavyweight. In terms of experience, he had been contesting Kogi’s guber election since 1992. The Saturday attempt was the sixth Audu had made between 1992, when he became Kogi’s first governor, and November 21 when he could have been declared winner for the third time. He won the governorship, for the second time, in 1999, on the platform of the All Peoples Party (APP).
And for all the times he was at the helm of affairs in the state, the former governor, many believe, delivered the goods. His landmark achievements include the Kogi State University, the Kogi State Polytechnic, the new Government House built out of the Lord Lugard colonial building, the 1500 units of housing estate for civil servants in Lokoja. Others are the 75 electrification schemes, 50 water projects, road construction, the state radio and television stations, and other infrastructure.
His persona was somewhat magnetic, too. And that was why he’d been able to spearhead opposition in the state for about 13 years, while in the process challenging the N11 billion-corruption allegations the EFCC leveled against him for about a decade.
Naturally, a politician of such charm will make a crowd puller, especially, as a big spender that Audu was. He was said to have been financing all political parties in the state he joined all along, including the Nigerian Republican Convention, the All Peoples Party, the ACN, and even the APC.
But Audu’s running mate, James Faleke, who the APC leaders may work out to become the flagbearer if INEC calls for a fresh election, comes across as a lightweight, politically.
Faleke had only played at the local level, as a local government chairman in Lagos before he moved on to the House of Representatives in April 2015, representing Ikeja Federal constituency. He has been apparently propped up by the APC national leader, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, to play the sidekick for Audu.
Besides that, Faleke comes from the minority Yoruba stock in the confluence state. And that is some kind of minus because Audu’s ethnic, the Igala, has been the largest and strongest, politically. The Igala has a sweeping hold on elections in the state, and has produced all the governors that have ever ruled the state.
But in case the court interpretation eventually sways in favour of INEC lawyers, who have claimed there’s no use ordering a fresh election, then, Faleke, if the party decides, can claim Audu’s victory to emerge governor.
Those arguing along this line have a precedent. Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar contested and won Adamawa’s governorship in 1999 before he got a leg-up from ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo to Aso Rock. It was Atiku’s running mate, Boni Haruna, who eventually lapped up the victory, and became governor. And no fresh election was called. These are, however, no similar situations. The election was concluded and won by Atiku before going for the vice president; in Kogi, the election is inconclusive and supplementary election still pending in 91 polling units in the state. Atiku was declared winner and Audu was yet to be declared winner before his death. So, there is clearly a constitutional crisis. Invariably, there’s a political implication analysts believe may create a failure-at-the-edge of success scenario for the leading APC in the Kogi election.

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