Kogi Polls: It’s Audu’s Son Or Nobody, Lawmakers Tell APC

  • Say, we will impeach anyone outside Mohammed Audu
  • Kogi West/Central APC Exco roots for Faleke
  • There should be fresh polls – Ben Nwabueze

The constitutional crisis trailing the Kogi State governorship election took a new twist, yesterday, with All Progressives Congress, APC members of the Kogi State House of Assembly insisting that Mohammed Audu, the first son of the deceased APC Candidate, Prince Abubakar Audu, should replace his father in the December 5 supplementary governorship polls.

If the party fielded anyone other than Mohammed Audu, the legislators threatened to impeach the person, if elected. AUDU’s sonThis was the message the lawmakers took to the National Working Committee, NWC, of the APC at its national secretariat in Abuja, yesterday.

This came as supporters of late Audu’s running mate, Hon. James Falake stormed the party’s office in protest, demanding that the party should make Faleke step into the shoes of his principal, arguing that both of them ran the first election on a joint ticket.

Speaking to Journalists, Spokesman of the legislators, Alfa Momoh Rabiu (Ankpa 2) said their message to the APC national leadership was a unanimous decision of the APC members in Kogi state. He, however, said that it was not a threat but a demand that should be given utmost consideration because the  late Audu made sacrifices to popularize APC in Kogi state.

Hinting that the decision had the backing of the members of the national and state executives of the party, Rabiu also stated that the group resolved that Falake having run on the same ticket with Audu should also remain as running mate his son. He said: “Based on our discussion, we have taken a decision and taken our resolution to the national chairman. We are overwhelmed by the response from them but we are still waiting for a safe landing so that Kogi will not be doomed.

“We told the national chairman that on no account should anybody be smuggled in to occupy that position, which we worked for in conjunction with the late Audu without who, there will be no APC in Kogi state. We present to the national leadership, Prince Mohammed Audu to replace his late father. It is not because he is the first son, but try him, he is very intelligent and equal to the task. With him, we will have the Kogi of our dream.

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“We also resolved and we will appreciate if the leadership will understand that we came to complain to them with pains and tell them our position because of the commitment of our leader and we don’t want Kogi to be left in the hands of the PDP any longer. We are the legislators and have told the national chairman our position that in any case, if anybody is smuggled in contrary to what we present to them, we know the best way to remove him.

“It is not a threat, but we told them that we have no intention of washing our dirty linen in public. Removing somebody is just a two minutes job for us as lawmakers in the state. We want the change we worked for and we want Kogi to be part of the moving train… Prince Audu was the man who went through primary before nominating Faleke as his deputy.

“We are not asking Faleke to stay away from the ticket. We equally worked with him during the campaigns. What we are saying is that it should be Mohammed Audu/Faleke ticket. The two of them, must work together”.

However, supporters of Faleke in their numbers besieged the national secretariat, asking the party to nominate him as the governorship candidate of the party. In a letter to the National Working Committee on behalf of APC from Kogi West and signed by former Speaker of the State House of Assembly, Hon. Clarence Olafemi, they said the idea was justiceable in the interest of peace, equity and fairness.

The letter read in parts: “It is on record and it is common knowledge that about 95 percent of the process had been completed and the party has substantially complied with the electoral law before the election was declared inconclusive. “Also very well known is the fact that the APC governorship mandate is jointly held by the late Prince Abubakar Audu and Hon. Abiodun James Faleke and the more than 240,000 votes given by the good people of Kogi state are for the two of them. Hon. Biodun Faleke is still alive…

“We are drawing the attention of the National Working Committee to the need to avoid the mistake of compensating those who worked against the party and who would want to take advantage of the new primary being organised by the party and reap where they did not sow”. Indeed, the State Executive Committee  of APC in Kogi West/Central Senatorial Districts also called on the national secretariat of the APC to guide the joint ticket of Audu/Faleke ‘jealously’.

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The committee, which spoke in Lokoja, yesterday, urged the party to compel the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, through legal means to declare the party as the winner of the November 21 election. In a statement by the Deputy Chairman of APC in the State, Shuaibu Osune, they said the INEC erred in declaring the November 21 polls as inconclusive.

“We are drumming support for Abiodun Faleke to step in as the governorship candidate and Mohammed Audu as his running mate; this is in line with submission of majority of Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SANs). “The National Executive Council of our party should, for the sake of peaceful co-existence and unity of our beloved state take this resolution as the final decision.”

Meanwhile, for four consecutive days since Tuesday, the party had failed to assemble its stakeholders for a meeting to nominate a replacement of the vacuum created by the demise of Audu. National chairman of the party, Chief John Oyegun on Tuesday told Journalists that the party was going to conduct fresh primary elections to pick a substitute, but was not sure of the modalities for the primaries.

Pressed to comment on the issue by newsmen at the national secretariat in Abuja, Oyegun stated that the process was still ongoing, stressing that he would only speak after the process had been completed. “I don’t want to say anything now until the process is complete”, he said.

Meanwhile, Elder statesman and Chairman of The Patriots, Professor Ben Nwabueze (SAN), has criticised the decision of the INEC to conduct supplementary polls saying the best legal option is to conduct fresh governorship election. His words: ‘In Kogi there was an election and the man, who was leading died. As far as I am concerned, whatever votes he scored in the election died with him. We cannot ask votes to survive a dead man. Now that he is dead, there should be fresh elections in Kogi.’’