By Aidoghie Paulinus
Almost two years since the demise of his father, eldest son of late Abubakar Audu, a former Governor of Kogi State and All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate in the November 21, 2015, governorship election in the state, Mohammed Audu, has sensationally revealed that his father died of peptic ulcer.
The younger Audu also said but for the miscalculation of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), his father won the election.
Prior to your father’s death, not much was heard about you. You shot into limelight at that time. Looking back, how would you describe that period?
I must tell you that was probably the most trying time of my life. As you said rightfully, I was not in the limelight at the time. I was a private business man and I was doing my things quietly. I was not even involved in politics. Naturally, my father was the head of the family. He shouldered the whole responsibilities.
So, life was very easy and straightforward at that time and I am not someone who aspires to be in the public domain in any case. There was actually no need for me to be there. But after he died, it became a responsibility that I had to take on. And that is why you hear of me in some places.
Was there any premonition or signs that your father was going to pass away at that time?
No clue. No sign of it.
At all. It was a rude shock.
Personally, how do you see your father’s death?
It is still very shocking. I don’t know if I would ever come out of it because right now, I am still in a trance. I don’t know what is going on.
Your father was almost winning that election. Did you suspect any spiritual attack or underhand dealing in his death?
No. We didn’t grow up to believe in any spiritual attack. More so, I know that he died of bleeding peptic ulcer. I knew he was under pressure, I knew a lot of things went wrong at the time, but then, as for the election, he was coasting home to victory.
Not that he was going to win; he had won. It was just for the miscalculation of INEC that made them to say it was inconclusive. But in my opinion, he had won fair and square.
So, he had health challenges?
Not before that time. As I said, it was ulcer. And even when the doctor was examining him two days earlier whether he had ulcer, he said no because he didn’t know he had ulcer.
But how is the family doing?
The family is good. We are just trying to put the pieces together. You know when the head of the family goes like this, the process of recovery and trying to step into his shoes is not exactly very easy. So, we are all pulling together, trying our best to see how we can come out of the shock and continue with his legacy.
No division in the family?
No. He didn’t raise his family to have any division. Naturally, there are disagreements between siblings, which could happen to anybody anywhere at any time. It is not because he is alive or dead. So, we still have that kind of thing. But you disagree today, agree tomorrow and that is the same thing that goes on.
After your father’s death, you aligned with Faleke to be his running mate. What went wrong thereafter?
I realized their relationship was purely political. And I not being a politician, I only made myself available for political engagements. But I had a private life outside that and the circumstances that brought them together were not made clear to me. I don’t think he felt the need to continue with me in any case. So, I have just decided to stay back.
Do you have any regret aligning with him at that time?
I can never regret what my father did. The point I am trying to make to you is that there was no choice. It wasn’t an option to me. He is somebody who was my father’s deputy. Why would I go to another person? I am not a prodigal son. I must go with the choice of my father. That was why I went to him.
Dino Melaye was with your father and later switched camp to support Governor Yahaya Bello. Even though they are estranged, how do you see his action at that point?
Dino is a politician. That is all I can say about him.
What is your present relationship with Faleke?
We greet from time to time.
Is the relationship not very cordial?
No. You see, he is a career politician.
And you are not?
I am not (he laughs).
What about Governor Yahaya Bello? Are you in touch with him?
Oh no! I even invited him for the first year remembrance of my father.
And he attended?
He didn’t come.
We don’t know. Till today, we haven’t heard anything. I sent him a message at that time. Before then, we had exchanged a few messages. When he named the university after him, I sent him a message to thank him. But I think the differences between him and us came after the family was misrepresented by a lady who was supposed to be my dad’s estranged wife. And the family felt bitter that the recital of a very, very, very revered man, a very important man like that, was read to somebody whom he has no business with. So, the family was very upset about that and since then, we have not been in touch.
There were talks that he had a deal with the family. Was there anything of such?
The fact is that I don’t think any of my siblings has even met him one-on-one. I am the one that have met him once. I don’t think that there is any possibility or any chance of that.
Do you have any political ambition?
I don’t have any ambition that the people would not…
(Cut in) People are saying that one of you has to take over from where your father stopped. What do you think?
If the people are saying that, let them ask for it. If they want me, let them ask for it.
People still look back and recall what your father did in Kogi state.
And we look at them with a lot of pride, with a lot of happiness and good memory. We are happy that he did that for the people. If we are given that kind of chance, any of my siblings, any member of the family, I am sure we will even want to surpass that so that we can actually make them proud of him. But politics is a difficult area for us to venture into.
So, you see yourself governing Kogi state someday?
I haven’t given it a thought yet.
But you are still a member of the APC?
I am a member of APC.