In less than a month, the Kogi state electorate will again march to the polls to decide on their next Governor. For now, the choices are limited as only the two major political parties in the country appear viable in Kogi state. The People’s Democratic Party, PDP, which is the current ruling party in the State is presenting for a second tenure, Captain Idris Wada, the incumbent governor, whilst on the converse, the All Progressive Congress, APC, the National ruling party has decided on Prince Abubakar Audu a former Governor of the state as its candidate in the coming elections.
Even though the elections are like next day, many Kogi voters appear to be on the fence regarding their choice of candidate as it seems that they are still recovering from the stunning decisions of these two mega parties in selecting their nominees, which by some conflicting logic, are not considered the most popular candidates from the respective political camps. For the PDP, the choice of Captain Idris Wada only demands a dose of explanations especially on his new agenda for enhanced performance, nevertheless, the party has moved on to a new phase trying to use a purpose driven media initiative to create awareness on work done, develop a right perception in the minds of the public for increased acceptance of the party and perhaps, build a strong connect with voters across the state. For the APC, the story seems different as there still exist some in house wrangling and protests against Prince Audu Abubakar’s candidacy given his alleged unhealth past in office.
The unsettled situation in the APC remains a great worry to most Kogi citizens especially those that would have wished their State to be counted as part of the National ruling party, primarily because such an affiliation may attract better attention from the Federal government as led by the APC. Unfortunately, such a noble desire may be very far from actualization as Audu Abubakar APC’s Kogi governorship candidate has already upturned the popular President Buhari’s brand on anti-corruption and good governance by making it both weak and unattractive.
As it stands, Prince Audu Abubakar’s candidacy from the APC shows a deficiency in the knowledge that understanding the past is the key to unlocking the doors to the present and future. Therefore, for the APC to defend its decision on the choice of Audu Abubakar, it must show capacity to persuade the Kogi people that they would be better off with a governor with a baggage of alleged corruption charges and seeming proofs of looting of the state treasury. Indeed, the APC has to explain to the kogites and the world at large why President Buhari’s change agenda is tolerating and supporting a man with worldwide record of allegations on corruption that are rarely politically motivated but evidence based. Consequently, the belief by most objective minds is that as long as the Kogi APC is regarded as a cut from a similar robe of Audu Abubakar’s corrupt antecedent, it cannot be taken seriously as advancing Buhari’s change mantra.
Whilst, on one side of the divide, some people may wish to settle with the understanding that the nomination of Prince Audu Abubakar by the APC was based on acceptable standard practices of democracy especially given that the conduct of the state party primaries which produced him was widely adjudged transparent and fair.
On the other hand, many people believe that the selection of Abubakar Audu has left the Kogi electorate out from harnessing the enthusiasm for change under President Buhari and there is no way the APC can truly be regarded as hope for change especially in kogi State. To them, Audu Abubakar’s status as the APC nominee for the election not only betrays the party’s values but diminishes the trust that the Kogi people have for the APC. Consequently, many voters may even want to question President Buhari’s moral compass in relation to the rationale behind his acceptance of Abubakar Audu as APC Kogi nominee especially given that Mr. President in abiding by his tenets of non-compromise on issues of corruption or resistance to temptations on such was recently reported to have rejected a truck load of ram as Sallah gift purportedly sent to him from a Katsina state based friend whereas on the contrary, he has not queried the dent and stink that would come from an alleged corrupt Audu Abubakar as his party’s nominee for the Kogi election.
Surely, the Kogi electorate is awaiting answers from Mr. President in his likely visit to Kogi State for the launch of his party’s governorship campaign. As such, wisdom should inform Mr. President to prepare his mind that an unsatisfactory response regarding Abubakar Audu candidacy will not only lead majority of Kogi voters to the conclusion that his Party has deliberately excluded Kogi state from his ideological direction of change but would make them wave their angry fists at him as an expression of rejection of the APC nominee.
For now, the APC has made a terrible error by permitting inappropriate influence by a section of the party leadership to endorse Abubakar Audu as its governorship candidate. On this, most objective analysts believe that with Prince Abubakar Audu again in office, the APC can only provide quack solutions to Kogi state problems because Abubakar Audu, the self-absorbed hero certainly answers to no one because he believes he knows all.
Unfortunately, many clear minded Kogi citizens believe that Abubakar Audu is just a rabble rouser that wants to ride to victory on the band wagon of a Buhari change agenda.
All said, it is very important that before the election holds, the Kogi people should publicly conduct the big argument on how their resources under Audu Abubakar was utilized viz-a-viz the huge size of his alleged looted wealth. Perhaps, the findings from such will make the APC’s ambition in Kogi and its change mantra clownish.
On reading this piece which objects to Prince Abubakar Audu’s governorship aspiration, many people that have followed recent political activities in Kogi state especially the recent decamping of Jibrin Isa Echocho to the APC after his failure in the PDP primaries would be shocked why this writer, a well-known loyalist of Echocho and Co-ordinator of the defunct TeamEchocho, a foremost opposition to Governor Idris Wada‘s candidacy in the PDP will elect to stand on the other side of the divide against the new interest of his Principal, Echocho, after over six years of association.
In any case, the issue here is beyond personal affiliation and the reason is succinct and clear, campaigning for Audu Abubakar, falls short of my personal ideology for the good of Kogi people and perception of what constitutes common good for the State. This is certainly a tough private decision for me especially given that I have been in the lead of opposition and challenge against the incumbent Governor Idris Wada in my capacity as spokesperson for Jibrin Isa Echocho, the then arch rival to Governor Idris Wada in the PDP.
Thus, the tempting question herein is, would objecting to Audu Abubakar’s political ambition not suggest a reversal of position that will ironically advance the interest of Governor Idris Wada, the other candidate in the governorship election? The answer is obvious because, beyond the issue of frankness of a party faithful in the PDP, my conclusion is that Governor Idris Wada is the better of the two men and this for me is why any objective forward looking Kogi citizen endowed with clarity of well-intended purpose and lucidity of communication should not keep quiet over Abubakar Audu’s ignoble desire for a comeback.
Indeed, in my private capacity as a citizen and an insider in Kogi politics, I will not desist from engaging in interactions with the media and participate in debates on news channels on what will make the most sense for a great Kogi State.
After all, in Nigeria, it is only senior citizens with presumed status of ‘Statesmanship’ that possess the license to destroy their party membership cards or exit politics with bogus explanations regarding their involvement on a chequered past. Perhaps, until I get to the stage of men like ‘Jonathan, my son’ or ‘Baba Iyabo’, the duo which can speak and act out of impulse without minding the consequences of public backlash, I will restrict my contributions to employing intellect and courage to argue and persuade my fellow citizens of Kogi on the quest for good governance and the need to build a renewed solidarity that can help reboot Kogi for proper development irrespective of party affiliations.
The above narration is considered necessary as it stretches the need for Kogi citizens to continue making articulate contributions to politics irrespective of political differences.
*Shaibu is a Public Communications Consultant based in Abuja.
Pictured Above is President Buhari and one time Governor of kogi state, Audu Abubakar, who is also the Flag Bearer of the All Progressive Congress in Kogi State Forthcoming Election. Audu Abubakar Reporetdly Stole N11 Billion from Kogi State Treasury When he served as Governor of Kogi State between 1999 and 2003.