Wailing for Kogi People As Audu Clinches APC Ticket -By Jaafar Jaafar

Filed under: Political Issues |
Jaafar Jaafar

Jaafar Jaafar


If APC allows these characters to get public office again, then the change Nigerians fought for is more elusive than ever.

From all indications, Abubakar Audu, a former governor standing trial for corruption, has clinched the APC governorship primaries ticket in Kogi State.

With immunity (or is it impunity?), Audu’s corruption case, which tarried for 12 years without conviction or acquittal, will likely add four years feeding on the lactose of immunity. By 2019, Audu will celebrate the Sweet 16 party of the case. And life goes on. Sad, so sad for the country.

It is irking that in this era of placing high premium on “competence” and puritanism, morally deficient characters like Abubakar Audu are allowed to take the governorship ticket of APC.

A key staff of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) once told us how they traced a $5 million Audu loot to the remote island of Bermuda. But due to lack of cooperation from the country, Audu went away with it. Forget the towering buildings in choice locations in Abuja and Lagos, and just focus on the quantum of raw money Audu siphoned from a state, leeching principally on morsels from the Federation Account, which the State needed to survive. How heartless could a leader, who did not create ways of generating internal revenue, but to empty the little resources of a state, be?

During his tenure as Kogi State governor from 1999 to 2003, Audu allegedly looted over N11 billion from the state treasury. While some amounts were traced to Nigerian banks, others were channelled across the sea — like fibre optic — to as far as Bermuda Island.

In Hausa, we say “idan rakuminka ya bata har a kura-tandu nemansa ka ke yi” (if you lost your camel, you even check a kohl tube in search of it). Actually, I don’t know where Bermuda Island is located. I am aware of the Bermuda Triangle, but I’m only just learning about this island of 64,000 people. How EFCC thought of looking beyond the US, UK and Asia is just beyond me! But that was when EFCC was still in its determined prime.

I had to use Google to find the details about this sleepy country. According to Wikipedia, Bermuda Island is “a British Overseas Territory in the North Atlantic Ocean, located off the east coast of North America. Its nearest landmass is Cape Hatteras, United States, about 1,030 kilometres (640 mi) to the west-northwest. It is about 1,239 kilometres (770 mi) south of Cape Sable Island, Canada, and 1,538 kilometres (956 mi) north of Puerto Rico. Its capital city is Hamilton.”

Interesting facts. Thieves are often ingenious in safekeeping than the owners.

In giving detail of how Audu looted Kogi dry, a banker, Uchenna Agagara, testified before an Abuja High Court in March this year of how Audu diverted money from the First Bank account of Directorate of Rural Development of Kogi State and lodged it into the Diamond Bank Plc account of Bulkom Nigeria Ltd, a company he allegedly had interests, and executed major projects through this during his tenure.

I met with a serving commissioner in the cabinet of Governor Idris Wada, who seemed to have lost hope in her principal winning the second term. “If PDP gives Wada the ticket, it is a bad case. If PDP fields another candidate, it is worse. Kogi is in dilemma,” said the commissioner last weekend.

If the commissioner’s take is anything to go by, then the corrupt person APC has given the ticket to will very likely win the governorship race. With the APC ticket at hand, as gor-bellied as Audu is, he will run faster than Usain Bolt to get to Lord Lugard House.

The best way to help the people of Kogi State is for the party to withdraw the ticket from Audu since this is a serious disparagement on the war against corruption drive of the Buhari administration.

If APC allows these characters to get public office again, then the change Nigerians fought for is more elusive than ever.