#KogiDecides: De–Mystifying Audu, a Pseudo–aristocratic Oligarch

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By: Ogali Kingsly Omachonu

The man Abubakar Audu, no let us address him with the title he likes to revel himself in: Prince Abubakar Audu, is an enigma who likes to build a castle of illusion around his person. This is a man who had already appropriated to himself the royal title of “Prince” before he started putting in place structures that would make the world believe that he is of the aristocratic stock – if not of the royalty itself.

And how did he set about it? Simple: by erecting a magnificent structure at Ogbonicha during his tenure as Governor of Kogi State, with the tax – payers money and having his uncle decked and installed with the title of Orego – Attah with a palatial edifice of a building to match. Any visitor to Ogbonicha will not fail to notice Audu’s modern castle there. In fact, it would seem as if the whole Kogi State Government House has been transplanted there with Audu’s fiat! No wonder the man is still having a chat with the EFCC.

Audu’s ancestry however, is still shrouded in mystery for there are many who would challenge his claim of Ogbonicha as his ancestral home. But that is a topic for another day.

Audu’s debut into the world of politics before 1999 and his subsequent victory that year followed a perception people of Kogi East had of him as being instrumental to the construction of the road linking Ejule with Otukpa Branch via Alloma when he was serving as Commissioner of Finance in the administration of David Jonah Jang then military Governor of Benue State. It has to be admitted here that Audu did some things right as Governor of Kogi State between 1999 and 2003. People acknowledge his taste and this is evident in the type of structures especially, buildings he erected in Lokoja and other parts of the State. The construction of Ajaokuta – Lokoja road during the early part of his administration also endeared him to many.

However, Audu’s huge ego always gets in the way when he related with people. He finds it quite difficult to climb down from his Olympian heights to relate with people on equal terms. His relationship with the rest of humanity has always been that of Master/servants. Yes, the serfs must always be reminded of their lowly position and be made to sit down on the floor while the imperial Audu holds court in a regal manner on his royal throne.

And that has always been his undoing because a politician who cannot relate with the electorates on equal terms, who cannot discuss issues of grave importance with his colleagues in the same party and who cannot defer to a superior wisdom or arguments but must arrogantly bulldoze his way through all the time must be floored repeatedly ever since his emergence in 1999 as Governor of Kogi State on the platform of the then APP. Even his triumph that year as Governor was due mainly to a factor which many tend to forget these days. Dr. Stephen Achema, the well – known politician from Kogi East who had a lot of followers from that area had been defeated at the PDP primary by Dr. Stephen Olorunfemi, a politician with a very deep pocket from the Okun land. Audu’s who had secured the APP ticket would have had no chance of winning the election if Achema had not given the nod to his followers to vote for Audu a fellow Igala compatriot. That was how Audu emerged victorious that year. But to show clearly that Audu is not the man of the people he has always portrayed himself to be egged on by sycophantic followership he could not repeat the feat in 2003 when he had to trade tackles with Ibrahim Idris, a better grassroots politician whom Audu had earlier dismissed as a mere carpenter. Since then all efforts to return to the Lugard House had failed woefully. From the above, it is crystal clear that Audu is not the astute politician that a few sycophantic and uncritical followers would like people to believe.

Audu has a way of frittering away people’s goodwill towards him. ask Ibaji, Bassa and Oworo ethnic groups and they will readily tell you why Audu can never be their choice as Governor of Kogi State again. This is as a result of very damaging pronouncements he made concerning the above ethnic groups while on political campaign some years ago. Such damaging statements continue to hurt the feelings of these ethnic groups till today.

Even when Audu offers gifts to anybody or group in either cash or kind, the offer is made in such a way as to demean or humiliate the receiver and massage the ego of the giver. Check his present crop of followers and you will discover that no person of worth is with him. Having little formal education himself but relying mainly on his oft – repeated experience as a banker, he surrounds himself with semi – illiterates or down – right illiterate people who would not pose any challenge to his quest to secure power at all costs and to tenaciously hold onto same. And to Audu, this power must always lead to Lugard House which is always a fascination with him. Nothing else will do.

When a few years back Audu found himself with the progressive and a bill – board appeared showing Audu with Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, this writer immediately knew that Asiwaju was in wrong company for Audu can never be a democrat. While Asiwaju was forced to go on exile in order to challenge the despotic reign of terror unleashed on the country by the Abacha Junta, Audu was playing the errand boy to the Babangidas and the Abachas of  this world. Audu is essentially an oligarchy whose credentials easily give him away as such. His brand of politics is not the decent one.

Instead, it is the glorification of thuggery, election  rigging, ballot – box snatching and declaration of losers as winner as winners. Our new internet age of the 21st century has no room for such politics again.

Finally Audu should take his cue from Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, who gave his best to the country as an activist, a Senator, a Governor and now a highly esteemed Statesman who contributed immensely to the merger that midwife the present administration of Gen. Mohammadu Buhari. Audu may not know it but those of us who are looking at the political arena from the sidelines know that he is a spent force, or rather a spent market.

And lest he should forget, it will be instructive for Audu to note that we are now in the time of change. President Buhari wants to build a corrupt – free Nigeria and he has zero – tolerance for corrupt people. And as stated in legal parlance “he who must come to equity must come with clean hands” Audu should first shed his odious baggage with the EFCC before facing the electorate. That anti – corruption organ must declare him free of financial sleaze before anybody can take him seriously in the State. Anything less is quite unacceptable to the good people of Kogi State.