DAILY POST——-As the forthcoming Kogi State governorship election draws nearer, a group, Centre for Human Rights and Social Justice (CHRSJ) has advised the former governor and governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the election, Prince Abubakar Audu to disqualify himself from the race. According to the group, this was over the allegation of N11 billion fraud during his tenure as the state helmsman between 1999 to 2003, insisting that Audu’s insistence to contest the November 21st guber election was against the current anti-corruption stance of the present administration in Nigeria.
Consequently, the group commended President Muhammadu Buhari for distancing the Presidency from the last Saturday’s grand rally of the All Progressives Congress (APC) held at Lokoja
international stadium which witnessed APC bigwigs.
The group urged the party faithful to support the anti-corruption crusade of President Buhari, disagreeing with the notion that Buhari was waging a vendetta war against Audu.
In a statement, the CHRSJ’s Chairman, Comrade Adeniyi, Sulaiman, said the N11billion fraud allegation leveled against Prince Audu and his subsequent prosecution by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission(EFCC) was enough for the electorate in Kogi State voting against Prince Audu at the forthcoming election in the State. He alleged that Audu is a disgruntled element not fit to hold any leadership office again, stressing that the group has concluded arrangement to storm the State and mobilise the people of the State against the candidature of the Prince Audu.
Comrade Sulaiman who stressed that corruption has been the cankerworm that had eaten deep into the fabrics of Nigeria system, noted that the menace has also been the biggest threat to Nigeria’s democracy and development, advocating that the fight against corruption should be the joint responsibility of all and sundry in the land while the electorate in the country should not allow politicians like Prince Audu to emerge in any political contest again.
According to him: “The emergence of Prince Audu as the candidate of APC in the forthcoming governorship election by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), is contrary to the anti-corruption stance of the President Muhammadu Buhari.
“Prince Audu’s candidature is a disappointment and disgrace to the ruling APC as a party with the change mantra the party stands for. It is better for Prince Audu to disqualify himself from the governorship race and allow the great party (APC) to field his (Audu) deputy, Honourable James Falake, representing Ifako/Ijaye Federal constituency of Lagos State in the House of representatives presently, to flag the party banner during the forthcoming governorship election .Audu has been tested in governance and failed the people with the question of N11billion allegation handing on his neck.
“The absence of President Buhari during the last Saturday grand rally of the All Progressives Congress (APC) held at Lokoja international stadium which witnessed the presence of few party (APC) bigwigs, deserves commendation and this development is commendable as this has moral burden on the President, the ruling party and party leadership and followers should follow the stance of President Buhari as corruption cannot be fought with deception. It will not augur well for kogites to vote for politicians like Audu so as to save the State from future doom”.
It would be recalled that Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had earlier advised President Muhammadu Buhari, through a letter, to prevail on the leadership of the ruling All
Progressives Congress (APC) not to field Audu as its Kogi State guber candidate, in demonstration of its commitment to the ongoing anti-corruption crusade of Mr. President.
According to the EFCC’s letter dated September 21st, 2015 with reference number-EFCC/EC/SGF/03/59 and titled: FRN vs Abubakar Audu& 1other in charge No: FCT/CR/115/2003, EFCC’s chairman reminded the Secretary to the Government of the Federation(SGF), of Prince Audu’s trial for corruption.
The EFCC’s letter reads in part, “Prince Audu was arraigned by the Commission for abuse of office, theft of public funds and money laundering during his tenure as Executive Governor of Kogi State between May 29th, 1999 and May 29th, 2003 at both Kogi State High Court, Lokoja in 2006 and Federal High court, Apo, Abuja in 2013.
“While not being unmindful of the Constitutional presumption of innocence of all accused persons until proven guilty, we are nevertheless greatly concerned that swearing in another accused person as Executive Governor in Nigeria, may not be in consonance with the current anti-corruption policy of the new administration”.
CHRSJ Chief further explained that immediately the SGF, Engineer Babachir Lawal received the Lamorde’s letter, SGF wrote the ruling party’s National Secretariat in Abuja to take necessary action on the subject matter. In the SGF’s letter dated September 22th, 2015 with reference number-SGF:/30/s.11/T, noted that: “I wish to forward the attachment document from the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on the above subject matter for your information and action”.
Sulaiman therefore urged the good people of Kogi State to summon uncommon courage to vote for candidate of their choice out of other contestants in the race by reject Prince Abubakar Audu during the
forthcoming governorship election in the State so as to serve as deterrent to other politicians that were enjoying the conversion of public wealth into their personal pursue when entrusted with the
position of authority”.