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Kogi 2015: When Water Flows Uphill

By Phrank Shaibu

In the past three months  or thereabout, Kogi state has witnessed many political activities.  A large part of them have focused on preparatory activities for the 2015 gubernatorial elections. Specifically, barring all odds that may count against  the elections being held as proposed by the Independent National Electoral Commission, in less than three weeks  time, it is expected that a winner would have emerged from the governorship contest from any of the two great parties, the PDP and APC. Presently, these two parties are adjudged by most pollsters to be of almost equal electoral strength, yet every week comes with a fresh political motivation which brings with it a new set of party members decamping to and fro either of the parties. Indeed, it is in this context that one would say that an outright victory seems difficult to predict for any of the parties. Nevertheless, both parties despite their boisterous posturing of assured victory are still at work to ensure that a loss does not greet them at the polls as there is much at stake including pride and usual political harvests that come with triumph.

At the moment, a credible survey conducted on Kogi politics revealed that at the party level, the shock of the last electoral loss by the Kogi PDP seems to have awakened its leaders to the fact that politics of today is no longer business as usual. What the PDP Kogi seems to be doing is to halt their membership decline, endear its displeased members back to its fold yet work towards winning.  On the other side, what the APC hopes for, is to use the popularity of President Buhari of the APC, the ruling national party to supplant the PDP but this may no longer be an easy task especially with the recent cracks in the membership of the Kogi APC. Nevertheless, the APC is still hard at work attracting new members but this seems to have hit a brick wall because of the confusion and disagreements that greeted Audu’s emergence as its governorship candidate. For some political analysts, this may just be a new window of opportunity for the PDP to win back its earlier lost members to the APC. In any case, as the APC continues to confront the question of why it chose Audu , the Kogi electorate are watching and thinking.

Precisely, the PDP has  a candidate with little or no blemish, thus it has gone ahead to focus on building its capacity which witnessed gross decline in the recent general elections that President Buhari’s influence had a bandwagon effect in favour of the APC. As earlier stated, the saving grace for the PDP in the coming governorship election may be the absence of ‘Buhari’ in the equation and emerging possibility of attracting new members from the APC’s  house of commotion courtesy of the divergent views on its choice of Prince Audu Abubakar as candidate for the governorship race. How well this works for the PDP will depend on its tools of enticement and articulate propaganda strategy.

For the APC, it is important to state that already, a wave of criticisms is on the party leadership over Prince Audu Abubakar’s emergence and this has introduced complexity upon the real interpretation of the APC manifesto. For most political analysts, an APC Kogi governorship ticket in the hands of Audu  rightly means it is already dead end to the fight against corruption as his alleged fraudulent antecedents clearly contradicts the policy of President Buhari’s  government at the centre from the same APC. Emphatically, the public record on Audu  destroys all that the President Buhari’s led administration claims to represent. Realistically, if the truth be said, what is going on in APC Kogi cannot be the nature of progressive politics the Kogi people crave for under a man like President Buhari that is widely acknowledged to be the least corrupt leader in Africa. Thus, it will not be wrong to state that Audu’s selection as governorship nominee is a firm indication that in the Kogi APC, there are divisions in ideology and comfort zones for untoward characters.

Right now, Audu  has certainly inflamed the Kogi electorate with promises that are highly unachievable. A clear instance is his promise on revamping the Ajeokuta Steel mill. Saying that he would raise money through the Capital market clearly shows complete absence of any idea as to how Ajeokuta Steel will ever work again and it obviously indicates that his promises make no sense.  Despite Audu Abubakar’s mumbled rhetoric, the fact is that he is far from convincing in advancing the case for employment through Ajeokuta Steel because his inability to produce any coherent argument on the Ajeokuta Steel revitalization shows his gross continued allegiance to use falsehoods to convince or confuse shallow minded persons. Such is not far from crude strategy of political inanity used for an uninformed electorate. Fortunately, the Kogi people are more informed now as Audu’s target campaign on job creation through Ajeokuta steel mill is highly

irrelevant as it is unachievable. Realistically, there is no way Audu’s form of creating wealth can emerge from his antecedent that is akin to the infamous Ali Baba’s antics. If truly he wants to be Governor, he needs to seek marco economic radical ideas of development that are relevant to today and tomorrow’s Kogi, not his yesterday’s administration. Certainly, this will necessitate a verification of his ability to address the challenges of a modern Kogi which requires a  new form of commitment to tackle poverty from its leaders than the offering of empty promises to voters.

Indeed, through a mix of  ignorance and arrogance, what Audu Abubakar is doing is to deceitfully tap into the large unemployed labour market and financial weakness of the Kogi masses to make bogus promises forgetting that if the historical underdevelopment of Kogi State is properly documented, the first appropriate step at rejuvenating Kogi state will be for kogites to hold him responsible over the alleged gross embezzlement of their state resources in his past administration of which the charges against him at the  EFCC is  put in the range of tens of billions of naira. Yet, an innocent Audu  is  cunningly avoiding a proper trial.

Even Audu’s recent outpourings “The voice of men are the voice of God, the people are yearning for me to come back because of my performance between 1999 and 2003” in which he attempted to depict himself as a performer in his past years in office will only make sense to people of  little intellectual ability because any attempt by him to inveigle himself into the hearts of the electorate with bogus claims of past performance and promises is highly condemnable as it is cheap naked political deceit. Indeed, such comments usually rest more on impunity and nuisance than electoral weight. In this case, it may just be the allurements of office that is Audu’s best attraction to be number one citizen of Kogi state especially having watched his alleged looted resources deplete at the past four failed attempts to return to office.

This is why anytime I hear Audu  inveighing against the present administration of Governor Idris Wada, I get very disturbed about the deadly future of a Kogi state in his control.  Again, Audu  certainly loves the idea of claiming that he laid the foundation of Kogi state university, indeed, that can never be doubted but extending it to the point that the university is what it is today makes him a man on a deliberate mission to misplace facts because any objective mind should understand that such claims can only come from the mouth of a political dilettante that believes the electorate are incapable of ordering their thoughts. Simply put, for the past twelve years, it is obvious that Audu  does not have the faintest idea on how successive governments in Kogi state have upgraded the facilities of the then glorified secondary school and struggled for accreditation from the NUC for the University to be categorized as a standard tertiary institution.

Indeed, the inarticulate decision of the APC on  Abubakar Audu to lead Kogi state is a gross political miscalculation that could have been avoided with focused sincerity. Unfortunately, the direction of the APC in Kogi has become doubtful with the overwhelming influence of Asiwaju Bola Tinubu. On this, the issue of imposition of James Abiodun Faleke, a  Lagos state lawmaker and stooge of Asiwaju Bola Tinubu as deputy governorship candidate to  Abubakar Audu is still boiling but that will form a sufficient discourse elsewhere especially given that the political arithmetic by Asiwaju Bola Tinubu to politically control both South west and North central regions deserves an expansive discussion on the merits and consequences. However, what seems most striking here is that everyone that wants to be objective knows what it means for Asiwaju Bola Tinubu a.k.a Lion of Bourdillon, to hold  Abubakar Audu in bondage and to some extent, the entire APC leadership

in North central region. Indeed, even if some kogites are warming up to  Abubakar Audu over their ignorance on his inability, the danger that a likely Faleke governorship will portend for Kogi in the next eight years after  Abubakar Audu under Bola Tinubu’s manipulation far outweighs any likely gain that  Abubakar Audu may bring. As such, any good analyst on Kogi politics must appreciate the reality that except water starts to flow uphill, it will difficult for the Kogi people to believe that the APC means well with Audu  as their next governor.

*Shaibu, is Chief Communication Manager to Governor Idris Wada


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