Last Sunday was profound in the annals of Nigerian politics when Prince Abubakar Audu, the erstwhile governorship candidate of the APC in Kogi elections answered the call of nature by succumbing to the clutches of death just when he was about to take a third slot as the governor of Kogi State, a state which he presided over twice and in fact was its first civilian leader.
The death of Prince Audu was a rude shock to many, especially those from Kogi State. Little wonder it was when the claim by some prophets to resurrect him went viral and there was massive jubilation throughout the state to the effect that the man died and was resurrected.
The import of that development was merely an expression of the wish that the man had not died and a kind of feeling that one gets when something tragic happens and you wish to close your eyes and open them and find that what happened was not true. A dream-like scenario where one hopes he will wake up to meet a different reality. Unfortunately, no one dies and resurrects in our times and there is no amount of prayer that can do that.
Since the death of Prince Audu, lawyers and political commentators have had a field day with everyone coming up with interpretations and believing sincerely that anything short of his or her understanding and interpretation of the situation from their particular viewpoint would be irregular and improper.
Those in support of the PDP and its candidate are insisting that what needs to be done is for INEC to conclude the elections and declare the second best as the winner in view of the fact that the leading candidate had crashed out midway into the race. Others are of the view that Audu’s running mate automatically should take the place of the principal and conclude the elections while another point of view suggests to the fact that what needs to be done is for INEC to request the APC to replace its candidate and start the election afresh instead of completing the process in 91 polling units.
All these views, which obviously are counter to the position taken by INEC, suggest the beauty of a democracy; the right to express views freely and strongly hold on to these views. What is dangerous in the Nigerian scenario is that whenever we hold any view on any particular matter, we accept no other view as superior to ours and therefore no matter how flawed our stance may be, it enjoys sanctity more than superior positions that are from other sources.
What INEC told the world is that APC is given the chance to replace its candidate since the elections were not concluded and polling will take place in 91 polling units. This is not going well with the PDP and some of its sympathisers on the belief that if the election was conducted a fresh, the absence of Prince Audu may serve a tremendous advantage to their candidate and the people of Kogi State might vote differently.
Understandably so, in politics people try to cash into any advantage that they have in order to advance the frontiers of their political empire. What is glaringly lacking in Nigeria’s political space is the required sincerity to see things dispassionately and from the other party’s point of view no matter how strongly we hold unto our views.
I think all the debate that is ongoing by the elites in the bar and elsewhere hardly takes into cognisance the position of the common people who have prepared for a long time to do the elections and just by providence, the number of votes cancelled became more than the difference between Prince Audu and Idris Wada, but for this, Audu would have been declared winner of last Saturday’s election and his running mate, James Faleke would have automatically assumed the mantle of leadership come January.
I have always submitted here and elsewhere that democracy is an attitude, it is a process and not necessarily and end but a means. One cardinal requirement for democratic polity is the attitude of the citizens. The laws and other condiments are grossly insufficient and cannot contain all that we do but merely provide directions and broad prescriptions. The bulk of the laws and the constitutions are mere frameworks to guide actions and activities.
We must complement the constitution and laws with the right frame of mind and attitude to straighten the system. This is absent in Nigeria and that is why the hope of an enduring democratic polity may continue to shrink until we as a people are made up that we will deploy the correct doses of attitude positively critical to actualise the dream of a democratically viable polity.
I wonder what the PDP or its sympathisers would do and say if their candidate was leading and such a tragedy occurs. We must always try to put ourselves in the positions of others if we are to appreciate the critical demands of time for the good of all. This idea of I and nobody else has done so much damage to our society and would continue to do even more harm unless we deploy tremendous effort at redirecting our attitudes towards collectivism.
Individualism has done serious damage on the psyche of our people and has permeated into every facet of life, including politics and togetherness. The need to reduce the level of selfishness is imperative if only the nation desires to move ahead and make the progress required in politics, governance and administration.
I am of the view that the position as brought up by INEC as to the replacement of candidate for the APC and conclusion of the elections on December 5 is germane and in order. Those who argue otherwise hardly take into consideration the difficulties of the ordinary voters who spent the whole day in the name of fulfilling their civic duties. I share the view that elections hold only in those areas that have made the previous elections inconclusive. It is peculiar circumstance that will make the APC replace its candidate not substitution because the unfortunate death of its flag bearer.
I pray that God forgives the late Abubakar Audu.