For the entire people of Kogi State, November 22, 2015 will continue to ring a bell and be remembered as a day that one of their illustrious sons, Prince Abubakar Audu, died after almost winning the governorship election conducted across the 21 local government areas of the state. The death of Audu, who was the first and the second executive governor of the state, came as a rude shock to many of his admirers, who had to gather for his funeral the following day, rather than cluster around the former governor to celebrate his victory at the poll.
One year after the crying and wailing at Audu’s residence in his home town, Ogbonicha, in Ofu Local Government Area of the state, members of his biological and political families, friends and well-wishers gathered to celebrate his demise and also pay tributes to the achievements he was able to record while he sojourned on earth.
The events, which were in two folds, saw the families coming together with clergymen to offer prayers for the repose of Audu, who was described as the architect of modern Kogi. The first event was the one year prayer held on the day it was one year that Audu died, while the second event held on the following Saturday was for the inauguration of the Abubakar Audu Foundation, meant to further propagate the values and ideals that Audu stood for while alive.
The atmosphere in expansive compound of Audu was that of celebration as dignitaries like running mate in the 2015 governorship election, James Faleke, former governors of Kano and Niger states, Rabiu Kwakwanso and Abdulahi Kure, member representing Lokoja/Kogi Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives, Buba Jubril, former and present lawmakers, and ther associates graced the occasion.
Speaking during the prayer, which had in attendance chief imams from the 21 local government areas of the state, the first son of the former governor, Mohammed, said the shoes left behind by his father were too big for him to step into.
He said it had been difficult managing the members of the political family after the demise of his father. He, however, said he was learning the rope faster and would continue to sustain the values and ideals for which his father was known.
Speaking on the perceived crack in the political family of his father, he said, “I don’t necessarily think so because I believe that a crack can come from people who do not believe in him, but if you believe in him, there won’t be any crack and I have not seen any crack” The junior Audu said one thing important for him was to ensure that the structure left behind by his father was intact.
However, the crowd that witnessed the inauguration of the foundation was a reflection of Audu’s political strength and spread. The event, which was chaired by Kwakwanso, was also used to highlight Audu’s achievements while he served as the number one citizen of the confluence state.