Things you may not know about Abubakar Audu, the APC governorship candidate in the 21 November Kogi elections
By Philip Obin
Born 1947. Was twice the Governor of Nigeria’s Kogi state. His first tenure was from January 1992 until November 1993 and the second from 29 May 1999 to 29 May 2003.
Early Life and Education
Prince Abubakar Audu, first Executive Governor of Kogi State was born on 27 October 1947, to the family of his Royal Highness, the late Pa Audu Oyidi, Orego Atta of Igala Land and the paramount rule of Ogbonicha-Alloma in Ofu Local Government Area of Kogi State.
He started his education career at the then N.A. Junior Primary School, Alloma, and later N.A Senior School Ankpa, from where he proceeded to Dennis Memorial Grammar School, Onitsha. He later transferred to the Jos Commercial College where he obtained both the GCE O and A level.
After a stint as a bank worker, Prince Audu later proceeded to London from 1975-1978 where he studied banking and personnel management, obtaining professional qualification as a certified secretary; and a Fellowship of the Association of International Accountants of London, as well as the fellowship of the chartered institute of industrial administration of Nigeria.
Prince Audu spent a total of 25 years with the First Bank, formerly Standard Bank, where he served in different capacities at management levels until 1991. During this period, Prince Audu made history as the first black training officer for the bank and one of the first black senior management staff of Standard Chartered Bank in London and New York.
He was appointed Commissioner for Finance and Economic planning in the former Benue State in 1986 serving in this capacity for two years. When that council was dissolved he went back to First Bank of Nigeria Plc as General Manager.
In 1991, Prince Audu was appointed Executive Director of FSB International Bank PLC before he was invited into politics to contest for the Governorship position in Kogi State under the ticket of the National Republican Convention (NRC). He was sworn in on the 2nd of January 1992 as the First Executive Governor of Kogi State. It was in this capacity that he transformed the infrastructural landscape of Kogi State.
Within the 22 months lifespan of that administration, which was abruptly terminated by Military intervention, Prince Audu made monumental landmarks in virtually all sectors, particularly in the area of housing, electricity, roads, education, and health care services.
His social-economic contribution in the State is to date a point of reference to the generality of the people and many aspiring leaders. Some of his major achievement during his brief 1st term of office includes the establishment of three different housing schemes for public officers consisting of over 1,500 housing units in Lokoja, the transformation of Lokoja township with asphalt road, street lights aesthetic roundabouts, the construction of inter-township and rural roads, over 75 electrification schemes and 50 water projects.
Other achievements include, the founding of Kogi State Polytechnic, the establishment of a television station, radio station, both AM and FM, a state newspaper and the transformation of the colonial residence of Lord Lugard into an Ultra Modern Government House Complex, the construction of office blocks for ministries as the new state had no office accommodation, the construction of shopping arcade complex to enhance commercial activities among others.
Abuja Liaison Office
He pioneered the construction of the first ultra modern state liaison office in Abuja. He also started work on an ultra modern stadium and a five star hotel in Lokoja, which were not finished due to the abrupt manner the lifespan of that administration was truncated. With the restoration of democracy in 1998, Prince Audu again offered to serve as Executive Governor of the state. He received the overwhelming support of the people and scored over 700,000 votes at the Governorship election while his opponent hardly recorded 50% of the vote cast. On 9 January 1999, Prince Audu got re-elected into the saddle of leadership of Kogi State under the ticket of the All Nigerian People’s Party. He was sworn in on 29 May 1999 as the 2nd Executive Governor of Kogi State.
On assuming office, Governor Audu took steps to woo prospective investors to harness the numerous solid mineral potentials that abound in the State. The big prize was the establishment of Obajana Cement Factory. The project, which was on going before he left office, attracted the support of the United States Government. During the visit of former President Bill Clinton to Nigeria, the State Government signed the agreement with the US Trade Development Agency (TDA) for a grant to finalize the feasibility work on the project. The cement project is what is now operational as Dangote Cement Plc.
Establishment of Kogi State University Anyigba
The establishment of a state university, Kogi State University Anyigba, is another testimony to the vision, and resourcefulness. The foundation stone was laid on 30 November 1999, when former President Olusegun Obasanjo, visited the state. About a year later, the President returned to Anyigba during a state visit to commission the University complex. According to a report of a visitation panel to the university from the Nigeria University Commission, the institution was then described as the fastest growing university in the country. The university received tremendous international support, which included an affiliation programme to Morgan State University Baltimore. Also, seven visiting professors from various universities in the United States were at the university to review its curriculum and align it with their own universities and prepare the students for exchange programme to give the university an international acceptability.
Prince Audu completed several landmark projects within four years. They include: the five star confluence Beach Hotel, 250 units Housing Estate, a Sport Complex, a Specialist Eye Hospital and 25 other medical Institutions. Others are: a Special Government Girls Secondary School on Student exchange programme, 350 borehole schemes, 300 kilometers of township roads, the procurement of 100 transit buses and completion of 40 rural electrification projects.
A highly traveled politician, Prince Audu brought so many honors to the country through his personal relationships with foreign statesmen. It is known that he enjoys a very intimate relationship with the former British Prime Minister, Mr. John Major. In 1993, he and the member of his family were special guests of the British Prime Minister at No 10, Downing Street where he hosted them to a State Banquet. Also in 1993, His Excellency attended the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Cyprus. His connection with the international community saved Nigeria during the heady days of Shonekan administration from economic embargo. In December 1999, he was on the delegation of President Olusegun Obasanjo during the State visit to Germany. On every account, Prince Audu who maintains a good circle of friends across the country is by every judgment a great patriot, visionary, humanist and nationalist. The outstanding achievements of Prince Abubakar Audu have been acknowledged by several organizations within and outside Nigeria through awards and honours presented to him.
Prince Abubakar Audu contested and was rigged out in the 2003 Kogi State gubernatorial elections. 2003 is generally acknowledged in Nigeria’s history as the beginning of a period of fraudulent electoral process carried out by the then PDP-led federal government.
In 2007 when election bells rang again, Prince Audu went to the polls, and was again defeated by massive electoral fraud committed by the then incumbent – Ibrahim Idris. Prince Abubakar Audu thereupon went to the Election Tribunal who nullified that election, and ordered fresh elections. Again, Prince Abubakar Audu contested against Ibrahim Idris, and again, was defeated by a fraudulent electoral process.
In 2012, Audu again contested against a new comer to the field, Captain Idris Ichalla Wada, and again Audu was defeated by another election fraught with fraud.
It is clear that these electoral losses were due to the tremendous amount of electoral rigging and fraud that existed under the then PDP-led federal government. At times, election results were declared on national media in Abuja while voting was on going in Kogi State.
He has also been linked with allegations of corruption. This can also be attributed to the previous government in the state which focused on trying to ruin his reputation rather than develop Kogi State.
Prince Audu’s many achievements were accomplished with less than N400 million monthly state allocation. The current government receives about N3.8 billion monthly allocation plus a N50 billion salary intervention fund from the federal government, yet they have not achieved up to 25% of Prince Abubakar Audu’s government. To put this in context, Prince Audu received less than N19 billion throughout his tenure and accomplished many things. The PDP-led government has received over N500 billion since Prince Audu left office, yet he accomplished much more for the state. It is blatantly clear that the anti graft agencies were politically motivated in their pursuit of Prince Audu.
Fortunately for us Nigerians, the PDP is a distant memory of a period of darkness and injustice that we are happy to have survived. Although the scars are still fresh, the future is here and it promises CHANGE. Kogites are yearning for CHANGE for a state that was undergoing rapid development like during the tenure of Prince Abubakar Audu.
Prince Abubakar Audu emerged as the candidate of the APC at the August 28th Kogi State gubernatorial primary election. A party that is synonymous with credible leadership and success for the common man. A feature that Prince Audu possesses in spades. Once again it is time to return to the polls and with election rigging a thing of the past, it is clear that the antecedents of Prince Audu far surpasses that of the incumbent. The voters are far more enlightened than ever before. Come November 21st, 2015 the people of Kogi State will speak in one voice and the choice of their next leader will be clear for all to see. The people will once again vote for the only leader that has brought tremendous success to Kogi State. They will say it is time once again for Sweet Prince! Time for Change! Time for Success!!!