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Friday, 27 November 2015
PDP says Abubakar Audu's Death Curious
A Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) top shot in Kogi state, Faruk Adeja, believes there are more to the death of PrinceAbubakar Audu, the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the Kogi election that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) declared inconclusive on Sunday November 22.
Read more after the cut...
Adeja, who is from same ethnic group with Audu wants the Nigerian security agents to investigate the incident and the alleged complicity of the APC.
He speaks o this and more with our correspondent.
Q: What is the situation right now in Kogi state with the death of the APC candidate, Abubakar Audu?
I will be a little bit circumspect in describing the late Prince Abubakar Audu.
I’m a member of the PDP; we didn’t even consider that election satisfactory in the first place, but because somebody has died now, we should begin to leave details about out objections to that right now so that it would not appear that we are attacking a dead man, but I can assure you that the election was neither free nor fair.
It was completely militarized. They said they were bringing 16,000 policemen. To come and do what? How many do you have in Yobe? If you go and check right now, most of those 91 polling units they are talking about are PDP strongholds.
Where they know we are likely to win, their thugs would come, backed by police. In my own ward, there was a place some people went to thumbprint ballot papers and were going to dump in the ballot box.
And the councillor from my ward objected. But before you know, the APC guy called the police led by one Akindele Rafiu, I think an Assistant Commissioner of Police, and he was there in minutes. They sent the guy away from there and the people succeeded in dumping the ballot papers there.
In these days of social media and technological advancement, this allegation from you is just coming for the first time. How come?
Before we could start screaming…you could remember that even the governor did say he had problems with the election. He was quoted as saying the reports he was getting were alarming.
Who would get reports without screaming? It happened as the voting was going on. In my ward, there were three detachments of policemen were stationed there. It is a rural place; it is possible someone captured but I am not aware of that. Let’s look at the other issues that are garmaine.
What issues do you think are garmaine?
The death of the APC candidate before the declaration of result. It was a very curious death and it is so surprising and shocking that nobody is asking any questions.
One of the criteria for election is good health. Abubakar Audu is not known to be a sick man. Nobody has ever said this man was admitted. Then on the day he won election or was supposed to have won election, the man dropped dead.
I’ll tell you something. Information available to us was that this man died at about 4.30am. The APC kept the information and was waiting for INEC to declare the result so that (Abiodun) Faleke would benefit from the election. Why did that happen?
You know as a Muslim, the moment you die, you are buried and nobody investigates. That death was very curious. Why were they hiding the information? And they were shameless to come and tell Nigerians that the man died by 3pm.
You are a member of the PDP and it is surprising how Audu’s death is a burden to you.
Why it is a problem to me is that first, he was the first executive governor of my state. Then even in my place, Abubakar Audu is almost like a deity. I’m a local government chairman.
He was a member of my ethnic group. Politics aside, I was online to even apologise for my attacks on him after he died. This man died so cheaply and curiously and nobody talks about his death? While we were waiting to mourn, the next thing was that they started activating a plan that Faleke should come and take his votes.
Talking about activating a plan, don’t you think it is the right of the APC since INEC granted the party the opportunity to substitute?
We agree that all aspects of human existence are governed by law. I met with two lawyers who have taken a position on this issue. It is an election and like I said, Abubakar Audu died around 4.30am and I challenge them to deny that.
They were waitinf for the result to be announced. After the election was declared inconclusive, they now admitted that he had died. That’s my feeling and the feeling of so many people.
Now, somebody obtained votes, then you are saying the votes should be transferred; another person should succeed Audu.
The law talks about two cases where you can substitute-either withdrawal or death. So if Abubakar Audu had decided to withdraw at this point, would you say another person should come and collect the votes?
It is like you admit that Audu won the election judging by an earlier comment you made.
Maybe it was a slip of tongue, but the truth of the matter is that he had more votes than us, we can’t take that away.
He had 41,000 votes more than us. If Abubakar Audu were alive and declared winner, without prejudice to the election, I’m almost certain that the Captain Wada I know would call him to congratulate him.
You cannot deny the fact that he had 41,000 votes above the PDP. In fact, it is in black and white. What we are saying is; can somebody obtain votes and now call on another person to come and obtain the votes or inherit it?
Even the Sections (of the constitution) they are talking about, except you participate in every process of the election-you were nominated, you went for primaries, you receive votes-you cannot come and take the votes of another person.
The APC says it is conducting fresh primaries, but from what you have said now, is there an information that the party is gunning for Faleke?
Don’t make it look like I have a problem with Faleke. The problem I have is first, the very curious death of Abubakar Audu. Secondly, the manner the APC has gone about it. Look at the Attorney-General.
If you watched him when he was talking, you would see the partisan passion and emotion with which the Attorney-General of the Federation was talking about something that is supposed to affect all parties. And minutes after, INEC announced the same thing.
What are we talking about? Before this election, we screamed. The president called a meeting of INEC and security forces on the Kogi election. The president is not supposed to summon INEC to give them instruction on how to conduct elections. INEC is an independent body.
Now that the Attorney-General again has gone to talk and INEC has automatically bought into what he has said, then what kind of independence are you talking about?
Let’s know what you mean with the curiosity of Abubakar Audu’s death.
Like I told you, if you are going to contest election, your health should be an issue. If we were aware, and we are not, that Abubakar Audu was a sick, it would be an issue.
We would have acted on it, but he wasn’t a sick man. We agree that you can have cardiac arrest and things like that, but why hide it? And why would you come and tell the world that he died by 3pm when he didn’t die by 3pm? Our conclusion about the election is very simple.
The law makes it clear that you cannot run for such election without a running mate. But the moment that ticket is ruptured, like it is in this case, it is not an emitional thing anymore.
What should INEC have done in this case?
Declare the person with the next highest votes winner of the election. It is as simple as that.
And this is the PDP.
Yes. As it is now, APC does not have a candidate. Those votes are Audu’s votes. If Audu was not on the ticket, Faleke would not have had those votes. Let’s tell ourselves the truth. Section 141 has remedied what the lawyers call Amaechi mischief.
The Supreme Court, possible angry at the government of the time, said: “okay, you just wanted to prevent this man from becoming governor at all cost.” So it made Amaechi a governor. The fact of the matter is that even Amaechi did not even ask for that.
But the National Assembly, in response, amended the Electoral Act to state that until you must participate in every stage of an election, you cannot be declared winner. So this idea of votes belonging to a party has already been overtaken by the amendment. The votes do not belong to the party, they belong to the individual completely. The APC does not hold any vote.
You are a member of the PDP, but with the way you speak of Audu’s death makes one think of ethnicity.
Nigerians tend to stoke ethnicity most of the time. We have stated the fact that his death was curious. And we challenge the Nigerian police and other security forces to investigate how he died and how come nobody told us how he died. When Gani Fawehinmi died, a lot of Nigerians cried. When Abiola died, I was a reporter.