Between 1881 and 1914, virtually all parts of Africa were effectively under the control of the European gladiators who scrambled for the soul of the continent. The Berlin Conference of 1844 officially kick-started the process and in a short while, the Belgians, the British, the French, the Germans, the Italians, the Portuguese and the Spanish were superintending over the affairs of the besieged continent. From 10 per cent of Africa being under the colonial rule in 1870, by 1914, the conquest of Africa was 90 per cent.
In a way, the sudden death of Prince Abubakar Audu on November 22, 2015 at a time he should be celebrating has re-enacted the historical scramble. This time around, it is the scramble for the soul of Kogi by the political gladiators who are desperate to exploit the unfortunate death of the man who laboured and toiled for office before death snatched him from savoring the sweet taste of victory.
The death of Prince Audu was perhaps another reminder of the futility of man’s ambition. Death hacks one down at the time least expected. Born into the royal family of the late Pa Audu Oyidi Orego, the paramount ruler of Ogbonicha-Alloma in Ofu Local Government Area of Kogi State on October 24, 1947, the late Prince had the world at his feet and became the first Governor of the newly-created Kogi State in January, 1992.
When the truncated democratic process was re-launched in 1999, Prince Audu still contested and he won with a wide margin, leaving his opponent with barely 30 per cent of the entire votes cast. He became the Governor of Kogi State again in May 1999 under the platform of the All People’s Party. His attempt to keep his seat in 2003 was futile as he lost to Ibrahim Idris of the People’s Democratic Party. Again, in 2007, he was trounced by the incumbent Governor. Not deterred, he contested again in 2012 against Captain Idris Wada of the PDP and lost.
Prince Audu contested the November 21, 2015 election with James Abiodun Faleke as running mate and everything was going well with his victory in 16 out of the 21 Local Government Areas of Kogi State. Audu polled a total of 240,867 votes while the incumbent Governor Wada garnered some 199,574 votes. The election was declared inconclusive though Audu was maintaining a comfortable lead. He died a day after the election creating an unprecedented political logjam that made lawyers appear like laymen with circumlocutions and pontifications. Adieu, Audu!
Therefore, the scramble began and many political gladiators want to profit from the sudden death of the winner. The battleline is drawn. Four political actors believe they are the most qualified to benefit from Audu’s death and there has been a serious scramble through all sorts of permutations to outsmart the others. While the incumbent Governor Wada wants to be declared winner, Audu’s running mate is crying blue murder because it was a joint ticket they had and he should be declared winner. There is also the son of the late Prince, Muhammed Audu, and there is Mr Yahaya Bello, the candidate adopted by the APC as the late leader’s replacement.
The choice of Mr Yahaya Bello by the All Progressives Party is in order in my view, afterall, it is the prerogative of the party to choose. He emerged second in the APC’s primary held in August 13 and being asked to complete the race for the party is reasonable. Mr Faleke is justified to be aggrieved but it is the party who provided him the platform he should be loyal to since the constitution did not envisage what happened. Faleke’s political masterstroke of teaming with Muhammed Audu, the well-favoured son of the late Prince, can be very strategic but that is where it ends.
One thing is certain. The house of the APC is not in order as everything is set for the supplementary elections tomorrow. Whichever way the results of the votes go, there is no doubt that the real battleground for this scramble is in the court rooms. Regardless of the claims and counter-claims of politicians, the decision of the courts ultimately will determine who will occupy Lugard’s House next year.
What is important is that all actors must be committed to peace and no one should be allowed to take the law into his own hands as the scenario still unfolds. If the house of APC is not in order, there is every likelihood of the PDP benefiting tremendously from the election in which it is a loser. When all is said or done, it is left to be seen whether this scramble is for the interest of the Kogi people or the politicians whose interest in Kogi may not be more than the interest of the colonial powers in Africa after the Berlin conference.
DOKPESI’S BLOOD MONEY
Towards the beginning of the 2015 presidential elections, two major television stations played ignoble roles in promoting hate speech and going beyond the limits of professionalism in their partisanship. The stations are Raymond Dokpesi’s African Independent Television (AIT) and the Federal Government-owned Nigerian Television Authority (NTA). The roles the two played still remain in infamy.
Now, the chickens are coming to roost and Dokpesi is singing. He was invited by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) during the week in order “to shed more light on some payments that were made to him through the office of the erstwhile National Security Adviser to the former President, Malam Sambo Dasuki.”
It is interesting that “Dokpesi explained to the EFCC officials that N2.1 billion that he collected from the former NSA was payment for publicity and media political campaigns during the 2015 General Elections”, as The News magazine reported. However, he claimed earlier that he never did business with the NSA’s office, according to his lawyer, Mike Ozekhome, SAN.
So, the money that should be spent on procuring arms and equipping the soldiers to save the lives of innocent Nigerians including the soldiers themselves was funneled into the long throat of Dokpesi to prosecute character assassination. No one should make insinuations about the current investigations and Dopkesi should face the full wrath of the law for his contribution, through receiving blood money, to the orgy of death and destruction in the North Eastern part of the country.