Irate youth go on rampage over Audu’s replacement
Controversies surrounding the All Progressives Congress, APC, candidate for the governorship supplementary election may have deepened following the decision of the leadership of the party to forgo primaries, instead selected Alhaji Yahaya Bello, as the party’s replacement for the late Abubakar Audu for Kogi State.
In a swift reaction, some aggrieved youth numbering a hundred barricaded the Itobe Bridge on Lokoja/Ajaokuta/Anyigba highways, thereby causing excruciating traffic gridlock for both intra and interstate travellers, who were forced to remain in long queues for considerable hours.
According to the motorists plying the road, the youths barricaded the entrance of the bridge on the River Niger-Benue at the Itobe end, stressing that they overheard the youths, saying that the APC national leadership should make their stand clear over the purported choice of late Audu’s replacement to avoid putting the state on fire.
Nigerian Pilot Sunday further learnt that the demonstrators halted movement forcing many commuters to terminate their journey even as others that could not do so, had to wait for hours until security operatives stormed the area and dislodged them.
The leadership of the party announced Bello yesterday, popularly called Fair Plus, who came second in the August 29, 2015 party primaries, as the party’s substitute for late Abubakar Audu in the supplementary election fixed for December 5.
This is against agitations by separate groups that Audu’s running mate in the inconclusive election, James Faleke, be made to step into his shoes, while others canvassed for Muhammadu Audu, the son of the late former governor as replacement even as another group has insisted that the party should conduct fresh primaries for the emergence of a new candidate.
Some leaders of the Kogi State branch of the party and some lawmakers in the state, clamoured for the first son of the deceased politician, Mohammed Audu, to be allowed to step into his late father’s shoes as the governorship candidate.
The lawmakers have threatened to impeach whoever is eventually given the ticket believing that he is likely to emerge the governor.
In the same vein, three days ago, Hon. Falake, late Audu’s running mate, wrote both INEC and his party, the APC, demanding that he ought to be declared the governor-elect after the death of Audu, having jointly secured votes substantially required by the constitution to win an election.
However, following yesterday’s announcement by the leadership of the party, it seems the agitations may have been swept under the carpet for Bello, who hails from Kogi Central to replace late Audu.
Nigerian Pilot Sunday recalls that the death of Abubakar Audu, the candidate of the APC, who died on Sunday November 22, 2015, while the results of the elections were being collated, threw up a legal challenge that was envisaged neither in the amended 1999 Constitution nor in the 2014 Electoral Act.
While the late Audu polled 1,109 votes to defeat 26 other aspirants who contested with him, Bello polled 702 votes to become Audu’s closest challenger in the keenly contested governorship primary election, which was adjudged free and fair.