Abubakar Audu’s many prob­lems

Daily Trust - - OPINION -

Abubakar Audu con­ceived of a ce­ment fac­tory in Oba­jana. It is to his credit that the idea was taken over by the in­dus­tri­al­ist, Aliko Dan­gote and to­day Oba­jana Ce­ment is one of the big­gest ce­ment com­pa­nies in the world. But peo­ple con­ver­sant with the Audu per­sona re­call how the for­mer gover­nor al­legedly bagged ce­ment from another com­pany out­side the state with Oba­jana Ce­ment’ printed on it and brought same to the Lokoja Town­ship Sta­dium for launch­ing with fanfare. This was at a time when not a sin­gle tree had been up­rooted from the site where Oba­jana Ce­ment was sup­posed to be lo­cated.

Some of Audu’s elec­toral bur­dens have psy­cho­log­i­cal foun­da­tion.

Dur­ing his two pre­vi­ous ad­ven­tures in power, he ruled like an em­peror and saw the state as an ex­ten­sion of his fief­dom. He was no­to­ri­ous for his pom­pos­ity and out­right dis­dain for oth­ers. As a gover­nor, lesser hu­man be­ings in­clud­ing his com­mis­sion­ers and other top func­tionar­ies of gov­ern­ment cringed in his pres­ence. They dare not sit when­ever the em­peror was on the throne. Peo­ple were just ex­pected to crawl be­fore him and to obey him.

The prince of the Niger and the Benue was most in­sen­si­tive to the peo­ple he led. He talked down on peo­ple, At the height of his rule, Audu boasted that his party, the then Nige­ria Peo­ple’s Party, NPP would rule the Con­flu­ence State for a min­i­mum of 25 years. How­ever, the peo­ple’s ver­dict was louder. In the 2003 gov­er­nor­ship elec­tion, Kog­ites re­jected him as king when they voted for a po­lit­i­cally neo­phyte Ibrahim Idris. Four years later, Idris re­peated his hu­mil­i­a­tion. Again, in 2011, the hum­ble pie was forced down the throat of Audu.

The for­mer banker also car­ries a deeper sor­row from his so­journ in Lu­gard House. He is thought to have also helped him­self from the com­mon till. His knack for de­vel­op­ment came with a big price for the com­mu­nal purse. He was ac­cused of steal­ing about 12 bil­lion Naira from the state’s rev­enue. Audu drib­bled the Eco­nomic and Fi­nan­cial Crimes Com­mis­sion EFCC for years un­til its op­er­a­tives way­laid and caught him on a street in Jos, the Plateau State cap­i­tal. He was hand­cuffed and sub­se­quently ar­raigned at a court in Lokoja. Pro­ceeds from his loot­ing spree were said to have been used to ac­quire eye pop­ping prop­erty in Po­tomac USA, Dubai, Abuja and other places. He is still stand­ing trial over the mat­ter.

Has the for­mer gover­nor learnt his lessons? Not likely. Two weeks ago, while re­turn­ing from a trip abroad, a large num­ber of sup­port­ers were mo­bi­lized to Jama’ata bridge where they waited sev­eral hours for Audu. The long wait was said to have taken a toll on the health of an aged man who col­lapsed and was rushed to a nearby hos­pi­tal for re­vival. Re­cently, a re­porter was rep­ri­manded for hav­ing the ef­fron­tery to sit on the din­ing ta­ble in Audu’s Og­bonicha coun­try home.

Audu is a no­table politi­cian with in­sa­tiable thirst for power. He is a man of un­com­mon taste for de­vel­op­ment. He is the fa­ther of Kogi State. He likes to be seen as the sym­bol of Kogi’s de­vel­op­ment. But he has the ten­den­cies of mis­ap­pro­pri­at­ing state funds as is ev­i­denced by his tra­vails at the EFCC.

Us­man Mo­hammed, Ibrahim Badamasi Ba­bangida Univer­sity, La­paiNiger State, 07060815443, us­man­mo­hammed117@ gmail.com

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