Audu’s Undying Ambition And Kogi Governorship Election | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Audu’s Undying Ambition And Kogi Governorship Election

Posted: Sep 25, 2015 at 12:03 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

By Augustine Adah

The emergence of Prince Abubakar Audu as the Kogi State governorship candidate of All Progressives Congress (APC) in the August governorship primaries was received with mixed feelings. While some people especially other contestants accepted the outcome of the primaries and promised to abide by the outcome, a group of people few days after primaries staged a protest against his emergence at the National Secretariat of the party in Abuja. The group claimed that the former governor is not qualified to contest the election because he has a corruption case with Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC).

 Since the victory of APC at the last general elections, Audu’s position as the leader of the party in the state has been a subject of controversy. Some chieftains of People’s Democratic Party (PDP) who defected to the party at the twilight of the last administration were agitated over Audu’s position as the leader of the party and wrote petitions to the national leadership of the party in Abuja. One of such person, Dr. Alex Kadiri accused him of responsible for the poor performance of the party in the state House of Assembly election in the state where APC won 11 out of 25 seats. Others accused him of being arrogant. 

Since Audu lost the bid to be re-elected governor of the state in 2003, his quest to return to Lugard House has been undying. In 2007, he was the governorship candidate of the then All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) while in 2011 he offered himself for the same position under the platform of the then Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN).

Many political observers thought that the 2011 election would be the last election Audu would be contesting as governor. However, Audu, who was first elected governor in 1991 offered himself to contest the 2015 governorship election despite several appeals from some interest groups for him to step down this time around.  

Those agitating for power shift in the state few weeks to the party’s governorship primaries met with him in his Abuja residence to prevail on him to shelve his ambition and allow power shift to the two other zones that has not produce  governors in the state since its creation. But all appeals for Audu to drop the ambition failed to yield result as he insisted  he would run.  

 Though appeared controversial, one thing that has endeared Audu to some people in the state is his track record of performance while in the office. Even his critics and detractors have agreed that he has done better than his two successors.  Some of the legacies of Ogbonicha born politician in the state include the establishment of the State Polytechnic, Lokoja, Kogi University among others.  He also initiated the establishment of Obajana Cement which Dangote later became the major investor.  The former governor who was accused of naming some institutions like Kogi University after himself when he was the governor in 2003 explained on several occasions that the idea did not emanate from him.  

Audu  a retired bank executive came into political limelight in 1986 when he was appointed commissioner for Finance by the then Military Governor of old Benue State, Col. Ishaya Bakut. His performance at that time prompted his invitation to come home and contest the governorship election after the creation of Kogi in 1991.