A horde of protesters yesterday besieged the National Secretariat of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Abuja, demanding the revocation of the candidature of former Governor Abubakar Audu, as the party’s candidate in the Kogi governorship election slated for November.
Audu emerged the standard bearer of APC on Saturday after a primary election in which he scored 1, 109 votes to defeat 27 other aspirants.
As the protest raged on, some of the protesters displayed placards with inscriptions such as “Kogi State says no to Audu” and “We need a credible leader in kogi”. They also pelted Audu’s supporters, who were within the party’s premises.
The Coordinator of the street action, Suleiman Muhammad, told journalists that Audu’s current case with the EFCC was enough to disqualify him from the contest.
“We are here to protest against the candidature of Prince Abubakar Audu under the platform of APC for the forthcoming governorship election in Kogi state. We say no to Abubakar Audu because he has a N11 billion-corruption case with the EFCC. Until he clears himself of the case, he has no moral right to present himself for an election.
“The administration of President Muhammadu Buhari has declared war against corruption. We, the concerned citizens of Kogi State are in support of his anti-corruption drive. We want to tow the line of the APC as per the ‘change mantra’ and would not support Audu because of alleged corruption.”
But reacting to the protest, Audu said “Ninety per cent of people in senate have cases hanging on their necks. The fact that you have a case with the EFCC does not make you a criminal. I have contested four different elections since 2007, and I was not disqualified, so what are they talking about? I contested in 2003, 2007 and 2011; what are they saying?
“The case with the EFCC started in 2003 and since then I have been contesting elections. It is those that do not have electoral value that are making noise and using cheap means to discredit me, it is a very unfortunate situation.
“EFCC has so far gone to four different courts in Lokoja and when I want to get judgment they will quickly go to another court and restart the case. They are shopping for where they will nail me.
“This country’s constitution states that one is innocent until a court prove him guilty. They are mischief makers.”