Sunday, September 06, 2015

Will Abubakar Audu return? »KOGI

A one-time governor of Kogi State, Prince Abubakar
Audu is at this point probably a few metres away
from Lugard House Lokoja, the official abode of the
state governor. Having won the party primaries of the
All Progressives Congress (APC) to become its flag
bearer in the forthcoming governorship election in
the state, it is more likely than not that he will
eventually win the race.

To start with, the Buhari factor may sway a number
of people to vote for APC meaning that candidate
Audu is only waiting in the wings to occupy
government house. From the pattern of results of the
last general elections it appears that notwithstanding
the incumbency of the candidate of the Peoples Democratic People (PDP) the candidate of the APC
may carry the day. What is more, Abubakar Audu had
previously served as governor of the state to the
admiration of some people who are obviously
looking forward to his victory.

However, politics is not exactly like mathematics
where the same variables always give the same
results. In politics, particularly the Nigerian variant,
anything can happen. Abubakar Audu can woefully
lose the election or trounce his opponents. The
Buhari factor may not produce the expected efficacy
because candidate Audu is not Buhari and yet the
personal standing of the candidate is crucial. Indeed,
Audu has 2 sets of strong opponents namely his APC
rivals and Governor Idris Wada with the power of
incumbency. Whether or not civil servants in the
state go without salaries for several months,
governor Wada can give Audu problems by throwing
into the contest, state resources as most of his
colleagues did at the last general elections. Besides,
commissioners, local council chairmen and
councillors would be mobilized to return the

Audu cannot also be too sure that his party members
who contested the party primaries with him will not
be spoilers as most losers do during elections in the
country. For example, before the primaries, no
fewer than 10 of the aspirants accused Prince Audu
of cloning permanent voters' cards to hand over to
his loyalists for proxy vote. While it is possible that
members of the group were overwhelmed by the
former governor's charisma, it does not rule out
enemy action from some of them just as others may
have since accepted the result of the primaries in
good faith.

This argument is readily confirmed by two points.
The first is the credibility of the chief returning officer
of the election, Governor Nasir El-Rufai, of Kaduna
State, who stated that the outcome of the election
was a true reflection of the wishes of the people. The
second is the solemn pledge of the runner's up,
Alhaji Yahaya Bello who affirmed that he would work
with Audu to deliver the state for the APC.

In earnest, it is difficult to downplay the strength of
Audu because not many can forget in a hurry, his
legion of achievements when he governed the state
earlier. Some of his major achievements ably spelt
out by his campaign team include the establishment
of three different housing schemes for public officers
consisting of over 1,500 housing units in Lokoja, the
transformation of Lokoja township with asphalt
roads, street lights, aesthetic roundabouts, over 75
electrification schemes and 50 water projects; the
Kogi State Polytechnic, the establishment of a
television station, radio station, both AM and FM, a
state newspaper and the transformation of the
colonial residence of Lord Lugard into an Ultra
Modern Government House Complex.

He also reportedly pioneered the construction of the
first ultra modern state liaison office in Abuja. He
also started work on an ultra modern stadium and a
five star confluence beach hotel in Lokoja, the
Obajana Cement factory, 250 units Housing Estate, a
Sport Complex, a Specialist Eye Hospital and 25 other
medical Institutions. Others are: a Special
Government Girls Secondary School on Student
exchange programme, 350 borehole schemes, the
procurement of 100 transit buses; the completion of
40 rural electrification projects and most importantly
the establishment of Kogi State University Anyigba.

Why then will former Governor Abubakar Audu not
win again? One Kogi state born political analyst
expressed two fears the other day. His first worry
was that the former governor has a case at the EFCC.
While we should all abhor corruption, we should be
serene enough to distinguish allegation from guilt.
The second fear of the analyst has to do with he
called Audu's pride.

The latter is alleged to be responsible for why he did
not win the last two elections. If the man's egoism
has hurt him that badly, it seems simplistic to
assume that the vice is hard to overcome. Again, it
would be unfair to ignore Audu's statement about
what the thinks he actually did wrong. According to
the former governor, the anger against him is
championed by those who persuaded him in vain to
share the federal allocation to them.

As the next election draws close, Kogi people may
have to listen to objective assessments of the
candidates before making a choice that can improve
their living conditions. What looks like a strong point
was made last week by a former member of the State
House of Assembly, Honourable Saidu Akawu Salihu
who argued that all the projects and infrastructure
executed and put in place by Prince Abubakar Audu
during his tenure as Governor were not comparable
both in quality and quantity to what operates now.

In which case, unlike the neighbouring Edo state
where Comrade Oshiomhole's performance
constantly reminds the people of the legendary
Samuel Ogbemudia, Abubakar Audu seems to be the
only one with an indelible legacy in Kogi. If so, is it
not time for the people of the state to bring him back
to power? If the Kogi people are influenced during
the coming election by the proven ability of a man to
perform, the return of Audu may take Kogi once
again to the era of development. It will however be
unfortunate if they allow the alleged pride of the man
to push them to pick a humble but ineffectual

AbleMoJah® Nigeria.

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