The news of the demise of the All Progressives Congress’ flag bearer for the Kogi state governorship elections on Sunday, November 22, was unprecedented and tragic.
While praying for fortitude for his family, we’ll take you on a brief journey of his life and times.
Prince Audu was birthed in 1947 into the family of his Royal Highness, the late Pa Audu Oyidi, the Orego Atta of Igalaland the Paramount ruler of Ogbonicha-Alloma.
He began his education at the then N.A junior primary school, Alloma, before going further to N.A Senior School in Ankpa. He proceeded to Dennis Memorial Grammar School, Onitsha before attending Jos Commercial College where he bagged his GCE O and A-levels.
Prince Audu traveled to London in 1975 where he studied banking and personnel management to obtain professional qualification as a certified secretary and fellow of the Association of International Accountants of London in 1978 after working at a bank for a short time.
His career in banking spanned 25 years and he spent a large part of that time in First Bank of Nigeria which was formerly Standard Bank where he worked in various positions at management level until 1991.
He was among the first black senior management staff of Standard Bank, London and New York as well as the bank’s first African training officer. He was appointed Executive Director of FSB International Bank Plc in 1991.
He first ventured into public service when he was appointed commissioner for Finance and Economic Planning in Old Benue State in 1986. He was commissioner until 1988 when the cabinet was dissolved. He then returned to First Bank as General Manager.
Audu became the first governor of the newly created Kogi state in January 1992 when he yielded to calls for him to contest as he was a key proponent in the struggle for the creation of the state. He won under the flag of National Republican Convention, NRC.
His tenure was cut short by the transition of power to the military regime of Sani Abacha.
Audu returned to contest under the All Nigeria Peoples Party in 1998 following the setting up of a 4th republic Nigeria. He won the election and was subsequently sworn in as second executive governor of Kogi state.
Later in 2007, Audu contested in the governorship election of the state again but this time he lost to Ibrahim Idris who was at that time the incumbent.
The former governor rejected the outcome of the 2007 elections and proceeded to the Elections Petitions Tribunal which canceled the Elections and ordered a rerun. Again, Audu was defeated by Idris.
When Idris Ibrahim’s tenure elapsed, Idris Ichalla Wada contested in the governorship Elections of the state in 2012 and defeated Prince Audu who also contested.
Upon exit from office in 2003, Audu was tainted by corruption allegations, and was investigated by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission in a case which was ongoing until his demise. The EFCC had alleged that Audu embezzled over N11 billion while he was governor of Kogi State.
Prince Audu was declared dead on Sunday, November 22 as the Independent National Electoral Commission declared the governorship polls in which Audu contested, inconclusive.
He contested under the All Progressives Congress, APC.
May his soul rest in peace.