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Audu’s last three hours

Three hours before the sudden death of the late APC governorship candidate, Prince Abubakar Audu, last Sunday, he was understandably in a jubilant mood, buoyed by positive reports from party agents across the state. The jubilation was particularly evident in Ogbonicha, the country home of the deceased, as members of his family, friends followed the collation of result by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), in Lokoja. On Saturday after his accreditation at his Ogbonicha Polling Unit 001, former Kogi State governor was in an ebullient mood.

He had invited journalists covering the governorship election from within and outside the state to his country home. As he walked into the hall, his demeanour soon became placid, a huge contrast to what it had been. Prince Audu began to apologise to the Journalists for keeping them waiting.

But minutes later, his boisterous side was restored as he threw banters at the journalists saying, “I want to tell you that this man, Bashir (Saturday Telegraph correspondent), is not a good host; he ought to have taken good care of you.” Despite the apparent air of triumph, Audu would rather be cautious than openly act like his victory was a foregone conclusion.

So he chose the evasive path, deflecting all entreaties for an interview and promising to speak only after casting his ballot. Looking resplendent, Audu alighted from his Toyota Tundra a few hours later and approached the poling centre. He walked towards the electoral officers, collected the ballot paper and exercised his franchise and eventually faced the horde of reporters waiting to hear him speak. Audu praised the smooth process and expressed confidence that his party APC will win the election. That looked almost certain until an announcement by the electoral umpire declared the election inconclusive.

On Sunday morning, Audu, still in a victorious mood was already preparing to leave his Ogbonicha home for Lokoja, the state capital, according to a close aide who do not want his name mentioned. “Oga was very happy and cheerful with everybody after he left the polling unit. He went back to the Orego Palace (as his country home is christened), had different discussion with his relatives, continued to make them laugh and looking happy. Little did we know that it was his way of bidding them farewell.” Banters over, the late Audu retired back to his palatial home where he complained of stomach ache.

Minutes later, It was learnt he rushed to the rest room and vomited blood. He was assisted back to his sitting room to have some rest. Even when the already apprehensive friends and family suggested taking him back to Lokoja for better medical attention, the late Audu was said to have declined and told them that “God is the only medical expert”.

He would not come along because if it has been destined by God that he would die, no doctor can save him, he allegedly told his close relatives. “We had already moved his luggage to the car. All was set to hit the road. When we went back to inform him (Audu) that we were ready, we met him sitting on his cushion lifeless,” he added.