You could suspect that Prince Abubakar Audu was killed, just by listening to the various views canvassed in the media since his demise. Just listen to those struggling to take advantage of the governorship candidate’s misfortune! I don’t believe in the efficacy of “African science” or “remote control” or “otumokpo”, but the utterances of some politicians underscore their desperation and why they should be implicated in Audu’s death. Indeed, politics is a dangerous game.

My source said Audu had a mild stroke on Friday; doctors came to his rescue and he was able to vote on Saturday. That night he slipped into a coma and never recovered. A case of mismanaged hypertension? If it’s true he also vomited blood on Saturday, then, it points to liver failure – poison usually attacks the liver first.

His killer might have administered the poison in the hope that he would kick the bucket shortly before Election Day. Another suspect might have wanted him dead after the polls. How else would one explain the coincidence, when our “legal luminaries” and “senior advocates” have not agreed on the proper interpretation of the constitution and the Electoral Act? The deficiencies of the 1999 Constitution are glaring; what have our 469 federal lawmakers and over 1, 000 state legislators achieved in 16 years beyond sharing money? And who prepared the Electoral Act and its amendments without foreseeing the possibility of a candidate dying on Election Day?

As a youngster, I refused to study law in the university because I did not see any value lawyers added to society. I knew many of them were rich because they made money off the crises they and other troublemakers often generated. My views have not changed one bit. And the justification is always there: If an editorial consultant had been hired to edit the final version of the Electoral Act, he would have added a phrase capable of heading off the current Kogi crisis – and perhaps Audu’s death. But if an editor had put that phrase in the final document, he would have got no credit for doing so –he wouldn’t be paid a dime because writers and editors are always expected to work for free.

A mafia in the three arms of government now believes it would achieve anything it desired in Nigeria so long as it could play the ethnic or religious card well. Nigerians have thus become a conquered people – people that easily yield to the manipulations of politicians and their accomplices in the judiciary. Every now and then, they generate crises meant to keep them “busy” and allow them to corner public funds undetected.

Nothing, except raw cash, matters anymore in Nigeria. That’s why a third of the nation’s resources is consumed by politicians who contribute almost nothing. The only “viable” job now is government. Is it any wonder that Nigerian politicians now kill for elections? Our greed and thoughtlessness have brought us to the precipice of political ruin and economic doom also.

Nigerians have never been ready to hold their leaders accountable. And that has enabled certain lawmakers, governors and judges to become lazy and avaricious. Had we been ready to give our leaders close marking, we would have forced them to change the 1999 Constitution (which lies in its very first sentence) and produce a people’s constitution before 2001. Our complacency prompted Obasanjo to dream of extending his tenure beyond two terms. Our attitude once emboldened lawmakers to tender a bag full of bribe money on the floor of the House of Representatives; no one has explained the source of the money or paid dearly for it till date. Military leaders understood Nigerians well when they “annulled” a presidential election as the results were being announced.

Laws made are not meant to further the cause of justice. That’s why they are often full of contradictions and could be interpreted in different ways to suit different interests. Consider that, between December 2009 and May 2010, President Umaru Yar’Adua was almost in a vegetative state and the country was not being governed. The constitution provides for the removal of a president that is incapacitated. But our “distinguished” senators chose the “doctrine of necessity” at a time everyone could smell a coup. Chibuike Amaechi became governor of Rivers State in 2007, even though he was not a candidate for the governorship election. Taraba 2015 is still loading…

We have failed to learn, however, that one form of injustice begets another. Was it not in Nigeria that the Supreme Court was approached to determine two-thirds of 19? In spite of all the world-class mathematicians Nigeria had in 1979, nobody knew the answer to a simple equation. Their lordships ruled in favour of lousy lawyers who created two-thirds of a human being. In broad daylight we were told that it’s a crime to approximate two-thirds of 19 to 13 but it’s acceptable to fish out two-thirds of a state that voted for Shehu Shagari!

My prayer is that Abubakar Audu should not die in vain. His death should be probed. And if he died of natural causes, let our lawmakers learn that it’s possible for a governor, his deputy and all of a state’s lawmakers to perish in one day. An earthquake could strike in Abuja and bury all politicians within minutes. Does the law specify how to make government continue in either case?

What I find most acceptable, as the way forward in Kogi State, is for INEC to conclude the poll it had declared inconclusive. In the eyes of the law, Audu wouldn’t die until the results of the election in which he voted are declared. Let the APC endure the pain of losing votes in the remaining 91 polling booths. Let the other parties reap the benefit of contesting against a dead candidate. Only after the declaration of the complete results would INEC be informed that Audu has died. Then, there would be no lacuna in the constitution anymore.

As I write this on Saturday, the news is that Kogi people have started fighting in the streets, disrupting traffic. What a pity! Audu’s killers probably wanted the state to erupt in violence. But the common people ought to be wiser now and desist from fighting one another on account of tribe, religion or political party. Have they forgotten that the annulment of the June 12, 1993, election killed thousands of people including Moshood Abiola and his wife, Shehu Yar’adua and Abacha? The imposition of a sick Yar’Adua as the PDP candidate in 2007 and his death thereafter led to the post-election crisis of 2011 that killed over 1, 000 people. Not again, Kogi.

— By ANIEBO NWAMU

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