Kogi 2015: The return of Audu? by Saidu Akawu Salihu

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Kogi is once again returning to the centre of national discourse. This is because its governorship election is expected to come up either by October or November.

Already, political gladiators have started forming alliances to produce aspirants capable of winning the hearts of the electorate for the governorship election. The days ahead will be very hectic as top ranking politicians will try as much as possible to out-do each other in order to gain acceptance from the electorate.

While the expected governorship election gathers momentum, the recent general election comes handy in testing the upcoming governorship election in Kogi State. Even though the general election has come and gone, the marks it left behind are still fresh on the political landscape of the State.

During the presidential election held on March 28, the All Progressives Congress (APC) Party won in the state. The result of the election was a proof of the strength of the party there. During the state assembly election held on April 11, APC almost repeated its winning streak in the state. The party won convincingly eleven of the twenty five assembly seats in the state. With the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as the ruling party in the State, no one expected APC to have performed such a feat.

The outcome of the last general election in the state is a mark of the political dexterity of the APC led by the strong man of Kogi politics, Prince Abubakar Audu. There is no doubt that the politician is a pillar in democratic activities in Kogi State, given his record of performance.

Today, Kogi electorates are beckoning on Prince Audu who is popularly known juggernaut in the nation’s political landscape as the Prince of the Niger to contest the 2015 Kogi governorship election.

If anything, the performance of APC in the last general election has also added political impetus to the call for APC to take over the reins of leadership in Kogi State.

Prince Audu is a household name in the nation’s polity. As one time Finance Commissioner in old Benue State and Governor in Kogi State, he has bestridden the nation’s political landscape like a colossus. It is on record that at the end of his tenure of office in 2002, he clinched seven awards as the most-performed governor in the country.

During his first tenure, Prince Audu took up the gauntlet and tackled darkness with utmost zeal in his government’s extensive electrification programme. Massive construction of roads within Lokoja the state capital and across the Local Government Areas of the state was not left out.

By the time he ended his first term, the state capital Lokoja which for long was dotted with shanty buildings got a tremendous facelift.

He indeed it was who initiated the establishment of the now famous Kogi State University, Anyigba, Kogi State Polytechnic Lokoja and provided scholarship to indigent students, to say nothing of the funds he provided to primary and secondary schools.

Since then however, things have deteriorated so much that the state is not recognisable form its glorious past. Practically every government institution is in shambles. It is this unfortunate turn of events in Kogi state today that Audu is now seeking to reverse, if the people give him their mandate in the forthcoming election.

With the decay in social and economic infrastructure across the state, the call for a change of leadership has become glaring. The people of Kogi state see no other time for this change than at this time that the state is preparing to elect a new Governor.

As he himself pointed out in a recent newspaper interview, the State has remained as I left it. There has been no infrastructural development since I left office in 2003”. This of course is the truth of the matter and this is why Kogi electorates are yearning for him to contest the 2015 governorship election in the state. Will he answer the clarion call?

Chief Salihu, a former commissioner in Kogi State, just concluded his term as a member of the state’s House of Assembly <sasalihu2011@yahoo.com

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