‘Audu, great in life, death’
• Buhari, APC, PDP, Saraki, Dogara grieve
AMID tributes, former Kogi State Governor Abubakar Audu was buried yesterday. Audu was only prevented by death from returning to the State Government House as he was leading in the governorship election that was declared inconclusive before his death
President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday in Tehran expressed shock over the death of Audu, the All Progressive Congress (APC) candidate in the inconclusive Kogi governorship election.
The president, who is attending the Third Gas Exporting Countries Forum in Tehran, in a statement issued by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu said; . “We are obviously devastated at the loss.”
Buhari described the late Audu as a “talented politician, a family man, immensely courageous and a respected community leader’’.
Buhari condoled with the family of the late governor, the government and people of Kogi as well as all APC party members, who stood with the deceased in his bid to return as governor.
He, therefore, prayed to Allah for the repose the soul of the deceased and to give his family, the people of Kogi as well as the APC members across the country the fortitude to bear this loss
The ruling APC yesterday expressed shock and disbelief over the sudden demise of Audu.
In a statement by its acting national publicity secretary, Mr. Timi Frank, the party described Audu as “a strong political pillar and an irreplaceable politician.”
It, however, maintained that the party would be guided by the dictates of the rule of law over whoever takes the place of the deceased politician.
It noted: “We are exploring all known choices and alternatives to us in line with our party’s dictates and respect for the rule of law as is in conformity with laid down laws and rules of our country.”
The APC Governors Forum through its chairman, Imo State Governor Rochas Okorocha, in a statement yesterday said:”Prince Audu Abubakar’s dogged political profile translates to consistency in pursuing the greater good. He was one of the few leaders who championed the campaign for the creation of Kogi State.
“In death, we celebrate a great son of Kogi State and Nigeria. As Progressive Governors, we remain resolute and shall stand by the family of Prince Audu Abubakar, the defiantly progressive people of Kogi State and Nigeria and our reliant leaders of APC at all levels to consummate the electoral victory of APC in Kogi State.”
The opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on its part warned against hasty comments and conclusions on the emerging situations in Kogi State as a result of Audu’s death.
The party, in a statement issued by its National Publicity Secretary, Olisa Metuh, in Abuja expressed shock at the news of the death pointing out that ”at this critical moment, the PDP refrains from comments on the conduct of the election.
“That is not important now. What is important at this point is the sanctity of human life. Our deepest thoughts and prayers go to the family of Prince Abubakar Audu and indeed, the APC fold.”
The Senate President Dr. Bukola Saraki and the Speaker, House of Representatives also paid tribute to the late Audu.
While Saraki described him as “a visionary leader” whose sudden death is “painful and shocking,” Dogara , in a statement said the news of Audu’s sudden death came to him as shock.
Condoling with the Audu family, government and people of Kogi State over the great loss, Dogara said that the APC had lost one of its strong pillars who helped built the party in Kogi State.
Also, Benue State governor, Samuel Ortom and his Ogun State counterpart, Ibikunle Amosun have condoled with the family and people of Kogi State.
“Prince Audu’s death came to me as a rude shock. All I can do at this point is to pray for the repose of his soul,” Amosun said , while to Ortom: ‘‘Audu was a development-oriented man who was committed to selfless service and was loved by his people.”
From Jigawa, Governor Abubakar Badaru described the death as a great loss not only to the people of the state but the nation in general, praying that “Allah Almighty grant him aljanatu Firdausi”
The late Audu’s burial in his hometown, Ogbonicha , yesterday which was witnessed by former governors and leaders of the APC, however, had a bit of drama when a ‘prophet’ brought in by grieving youths vowed to raise the late politician from death.
The prophet was brought into the home of the deceased amidst resistance by security agents deployed in his house. The youths succeeded in breaking the door to the house and prayed fervently that God should raise him from death.
Amidst shouts of ‘‘Allahu Akbar!’’ and ‘‘Holy Ghost Fire!’’, the whole environment was thrown into confusion as the youths took control of the house while the security agents watched helplessly.