From Victor Seyi, Ilorin
A third-time march to Lugard House, Lokoja for Prince Abubakar Audu was on Sunday aborted by Providence as the All Progressive Congress (APC) candidate in the governorship election on Satuday succumbed to the cold hands of death in his country home at Ogbonicha, Ofu Local Council of Kogi State.
Although the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) eventually announced that the gubernatorial election was inconclusive, Audu, who polled 240,827 votes, was on course to unseat the incumbent governor, Captain Idris Wada of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) who scored 199, 514 votes.
INEC could not declare Audu winner of the poll because of the irregularities that trailed the election, polling was cancelled in 59 polling units across the states. The following are the local government and numbers of cancelled votes: Adavi 2,134, Ajaokuta 1,406, Ankpa 6,021, Bassa 7,42, Dekina 17,454, Ibaji 2,665, Idah 3,10, Igalamela/Odolu 1501, Ijumu 705, Kabba/Bunu 1,767, Kogi 1689, Lokoja 2,854, Ofu 4,679, Okehi 403, Okene 676, Olamaboro 2,046, Omala 2,526 and Yagba West 375. Non-usage of the card reader, over-voting, ballot snatching and violence were some of the irregularities cited for the cancellation.
The Returning officer for the election and Vice Chancellor, Federal University of Agriculture, Makurdi, Prof. Emmanuel Kucha, said: “Since the number of cancelled votes was 49,953 while the difference between the votes scored by the APC and PDP candidates stood at 41,353, the election could not yet be declared as conclusive. Applying provision of INEC guideline, page 22 – 23 paragraph 4(m), the election will be re-conducted in 59 polling units across 18 LGAs”.
The breakdown of the result declared showed that the late Audu won 16 out of the 21 Local Government Areas of the state while Wada won five of the LGAs.
The APC won in Yagba East, Yagba West, Kabba/Bunu, Ijumu, Lokoja, Kogi, Okehi, Adavi, Ajaokuta, Ibaji, Ankpa, Igalamela/Odolu, Ofu, Olamaboro and Idah LGAs; while PDP won Mopamuro, Dekina, Okene, Ogori/Mangogo and Omala LGAs
The result of the election shows that all the leading candidates won in their respective local governments, with the late Audu winning his Ofu Council; his Deputy, Faleke won Ijumu; while Governor Wada won his Dekina Council; and his Deputy, Yomi Awoniyi won in his, Mopamuro council.
INEC, before the news of Audu’s death, had promised to communicate a new date for the conduct of the rescheduled election in the affected polling units to the parties.
How Audu Passed on
Sources said Audu had complained of stomach ache on Thursday in Lokoja, which then took a turn for the worse in his country home in Ogbonicha, but doctors and his aides were able to manage the APC candidate to vote in the election on Saturday.
His condition, however, worsened late on Saturday and he had died on Sunday morning even before the result of the election could be declared.
Sources disclosed that at least two doctors from the Federal Medical Centre, Lokoja and other medical personnel had been attending to him in his residence for some time and were with him until he died yesterday morning.
However, it was not until about 2.30 p.m. that suspicion on the fate of the APC candidate emerged to the outside world. That was when an ambulance from the Federal Medical Centre arrived to carry the corpse, but the ambulance eventually left without the corpse of the late Audu.
Drama At Burial
The remains of the Audu were committed to Earth on Monday at his residence in Ogbonicha, Ofu Local Government, Kogi State after burial rites by a team of Imams from across Igalaland.
Controversy had trailed the burial of the former governor when rumour filtered into town that he had resurrected. A prophet had earlier promised to revive Audu to life.
There was a huge drama between the prophet and members of the Audu family who refused to let him in. However, the youths of Ogbonicha broke the door to the room where Audu was laid.
The prophet however failed to resurrect Audu, prompting the youths to go berserk in search of the prophet’s head.
The burial was well attended as scores of who-is-who in Nigerian politics as well as members of the business community were in Ogbonicha to give their last respect to the departed APC candidate, amid a torrent of tears.
From Victor Seyi, Ilorin