The governorship primaries election to pick the flagbearer of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) in the confluence state of Kogi might have produced two-time governor of the state, 72-year-old Abubakar Audu, a storm is however, gathering over his choice.
Aside the various petitions and protestations, damning allegations of corrupt, high level moral decadence and arrogance being leveled against Audu, President Muhammadu Buhari and the National Executive Council (NEC) of the party are now being told to either drop Audu, who they claimed collected up to N1 Billion from ex-president Goodluck Jonathan to sabotage the APC during the presidential poll.
“This is a well known fact within the highest level of the party, so we wonder why he was even cleared to contest the elections in the first place. The baggage this guy carries is so enormous, apart from his case with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), which is still on-going, there are other issues bordering on probity against Audu.
‘Ask him how much he took from some senatorial candidates, it is unimaginable. He took N100 Million each from some of them; he took N70 Million each from some House of Reps candidates and N20 Million each from some candidates of the state house of assembly. Some of these guys, who won are still indebted to him, that man is not the best we have.
Apart from the corruption allegation, marginalization and perceived callousness of Prince Audu, his moral comportment, according to one of our sources, leaves much to be desired as it is said to have affected his marriage to a 13-year-old daughter of an Egyptian cab driver and marriage to a 24-year-old lady, “this is not the kind of character Kogi State needs at this time,” an aggrieved source lamented last week.
A source exclaimed that in saner climes, 72-year-old Audu would be behind bars for paedophilia, but that this is Nigeria, ‘where sadly anything goes unpunished no matter how grievous; if not how will a man be on trial for over 12 years and the case is still in progress?’
Members of the APC, who spoke with First Weekly Magazine shortly after the primaries said that the emergence of Audu might be the commencement of an agonizing journey to perdition. This they attributed to the harrowing experience of the people under the despotic rule of Prince Audu from 1999 to 2003 and this explains why he eventually lost in his bid for a second term to former governor Ibrahim Idris despite the power of incumbency and the large war chest at his disposal.
Apart from the preposterous corruption prosecution Prince Audu has been facing since 2003 for an alleged N11 billion heist which is in the public domain, the generality of Kogites wonder what informed the mantra of Audu’s campaign; “to rescue Kogi” ‘considering the fact that the rot and parlous situation of Kogi State presently is a manifestation of the chaotic and horrible rule of Prince Audu.’
Our source further revealed that the apparent marginalization of the people of Kogi West and Central was the brain-child of Prince Audu, which solid foundation he was said to have laid and built on during his second term as governor.
Audu allegedly promoted mediocrity over merit and he was said to have embarked on a systemic ethnic cleansing of the state civil service, “which at the end of his tenure resulted in his Igala kinsmen from Kogi East having 24,601 as employees of Kogi State Government, while Kogi West has 6,519 and Kogi Central was left with a paltry 4,069 in a state where the combined population of Kogi West and Central constitute over 55% of the total population of the state.”
“While the East has 9 of the 21 LGAs in Kogi State, it is contributing only 7% of the Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) as against the 93% generated from Kogi West and Central with 7 and 5 LGAs respectively.
“But in a bizarre and ironic manner the Eastern axis gets 80% of capital projects and 70% of the revenue whenever it is shared. This is the sad commentary of the people of Kogi State as initiated by Prince Audu which his successors have sustained,” said a competent source.
The pitiable situation of Kogi State civil service is in right now was set in motion by Prince Audu, according to reliable sources in the state, who said that even before workers were being owed for months.
“It was Prince Audu that ordered that there would be no leave allowances and bonuses for civil servants under his watch; a convention that has degenerated to situations where government workers at all tiers of government in the state are not paid sometimes for up to 12 months.
“Kogi equally boasts of the ignoble record of paying gratuity of retired workers on instalments that have seen retirees of close to 10 years not been able to collect their gratuity in full,” said a source.
Prince Audu is seen as vindictive, egocentric tribalist, who believes that apart from his kins and kith, people from the west and central axis of the state are vassal citizens, ‘who must be subjugated and kept in perpetual servitude
with the active connivance of greedy and specious leaders from these zones.’
Our sources also spoke of Prince Audu’s alleged legendary lack of respect for the traditional institution adding that this will not make his return to Lugard House a palatable anticipation for the traditional rulers, who will now have to sit on the floor when meeting with Prince Audu.
One person jokingly added that the furniture allowance under Audu should be lower since people who go to him for meetings him are not expected to seat on chairs.
The only reasonable explanation for the manifest desperation of Prince Audu for another stint at Lugard House, according to reliable sources, is the opportunity of being spared the EFFC prosecution that is on-going for another
four years because of the immunity he hopes to enjoy notwithstanding his alleged dubious claim of genuine love for Kogi State.
“Prince Audu’s contemporaries have long moved on to higher callings, but he is strangely still fixated in the illusion that the state is his fiefdom.
Audu’s alleged marginalization is equally reflected in political appointments, capital projects which our sources highlighted thus;
Description Kogi East Kogi West Kogi Central
Commissioners 10 5 4
Special Assistants 33 16 8
Snr. S.A 60 10 4
Board Chairmen 14 3 8
Board members 200 50 50
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