CNPP, ACF, Yoruba elders in the North mourn Audu
THE Conference of Nigerian Political Parties (CNPP) and leaders of the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) have commiserated with the people and government of Kogi State over the death of Prince Abubakar Audu.
Also, the Council of Yoruba Elders in the Northern States and Abuja, under the leadership of Ambassador Mohammed Arigbabuwo, has described the death of Prince Audu as a shock.
They urged people in the state to see his demise as the will of God and eschew political violence.
While commiserating with the family of the deceased, the Attah of Igala and the entire people of the state, Arigbabuwo described the late Audu as, “a great nationalist who will be missed by many because of his large heart and kindness.”
A statement issued by CNPP’s Secretary General, Chief Willy Ezugwu, described Audu’s death, “as a great loss not just to Kogi but to the entire country,” adding that “his political doggedness shall be greatly missed in the nation’s political sphere.”
“In his lifetime, Prince Audu’s loyalty to his political conviction was such that he was not known for the chronic cross-carpeting that is the undoing of Nigeria’s contemporary politics. He has through this trait contributed to the deepening of democracy that the country today enjoys.
“We prayed that God will comfort his immediate and political family as, well as the people of Kogi State over this enormous loss,” the statement said.
CNPP appealed to all sides in the governorship election in which the late Audu was a candidate to respect the position of the law in view of the legal challenges that his death has created.
In a related development, leaders of Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) said that the Forum regretted the death of Prince Audu, who they described as a foundation member of ACF.
A statement by the Forum’s National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Mohammed Ibrahim, pointed out that, “Prince Audu was an accomplished banker, a dogged, colossus politician who was the first elected executive governor of Kogi State in January 1992 after its creation on 27th August 1991.”
“He was again re-elected in 1998 and sworn-in as the second executive governor of the state on 29th May 1999 and ruled from May 1999 to May 2003. Prince Audu would be remembered for his legacies such the Kogi State University, Kogi State Polytechnic and many other projects executed by him in his first and second tenures.”
Arigbabuwo also sympathised with APC leaders, urging them to come together and present a candidate that would be acceptable to everybody, to ensure peace in the state.
The Yoruba leader while advising INEC to look at the inconclusive election in the state and find a way to conduct the remaining polls, said the Commission should “allow a level playing ground for all the political parties in the race.”
Meanwhile, constitutional lawyer and a member of defunct Justice Mohammed Uwais Electoral Reform Panel, Mr. Festus Okoye, said in an interview that there was no logjam on the constitutional provisions on the replacement of the APC candidate in Kogi State election while highlighting two major provisions of the law.
According to Okoye, “the first is section 36 (1) of the Electoral Law as amended. It says if after the time of the delivery of nomination papers and before the commencement of polls, a nominated candidate dies, the chief national electoral commissioner, that is the chairman of INEC or Resident Electoral Commissioner shall, being satisfied with the fact of death, counter-man the poll, that is, call off the poll in which the deceased candidate participated and the Commission shall appoint some other convenient dates for the said election, which shall be within 14 days.
Okoye also added that the contest for now is between political parties and not among candidates.