For Prince Abubakar Audu, death started knocking at the door on Friday, a day before the all-important governorship contest in which he was the APC candidate. He collapsed after having a stroke. His doctor considered it mild and treated him. On regaining his strength, he appeared ready to go out and vote on Saturday. He voted, as did over 450, 000 other voters in Kogi State.
The APC candidate’s health relapsed on Saturday evening. And he developed complications. As INEC, voters and politicians of both the PDP and APC were in frenzy over the election’s outcome, doctors resumed the battle to save him.
The outcomes of both ex-governor Audu’s health and the election he was contesting with the PDP candidate and incumbent governor, Capt. Idris Wada, were decided on Sunday. Audu polled 240, 867 votes while Wada got 199, 514 votes. But INEC declared the election inconclusive because as many as 49, 000 voters were not accounted for in over 90 polling stations where election did not take place or was voided – the number could cause an upset.
INEC was to announce another date for a supplementary poll in the affected local government areas. However, the election was as good as won and lost: Audu would lose only if all the 49, 000 registered voters turned up and voted for PDP candidate Wada, a clear impossibility.
Jubilant APC supporters could not find their flag-bearer at the time, because doctors were still tackling his health issues. He had started having a cardiac arrest. And just at that point of victory, a heart got arrested. In no distant time, the news was broken: 68-year-old Abubakar Audu, who was governor of the state from 1992 to 1993, and from 1999 to 2003, was dead!
Lawyers are still debating what should be done now. Will the supplementary poll still be conducted? Will Audu’s running mate step in? Will victory be awarded to the PDP candidate?
Two options appear feasible: 1. The entire election would be cancelled and APC allowed to field another candidate in a fresh election. 2. Audu’s deputy would be allowed to win the supplementary election on behalf of the APC.
Nigeria is used to crises of every description. The courts and or politicians will still solve the Kogi problem. Meanwhile, Audu’s body will be buried on November 23.