The Senator representing Kogi West District, Dino Melaye, has risen in defense of the governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress, APC, in the last Saturday’s inconclusive polls, late Abubakar Audu, saying the ex-governor did not loot public funds in office.
During the political campaigns, the late Audu was alleged to have admitted stealing N11 billion during his tenure as governor between 1999 and 2003, promising to refund the purported loot if elected, for the development of the state.
He, however, vehemently denied making such statement and blamed his political opponent for spreading lies about him.
His denials nonetheless, the late former governor was in 2013 charged to court by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, on 36 count-charge bordering on criminal breach of trust and misappropriation of public funds to the tune of N10, 965,837,040.
However, during a late show on the African Independent Television, AIT, Melaye, who was a staunch supporter of the deceased, described the allegations as false and a witch-hunt.
“How can a man who received N17bn in less than four years steal N11bn?” Senator Melaye queried. “This was a man who paid pensioners, did not owe workers and carried out a big infrastructural development in the state. What has the EFCC been investigating since 2003? It is all politics. Audu never stole Kogi’s money”.
The Senate committee chairman on Federal Capital Territory, FCT, further argued that it would have been impossible for Audu to build the Kogi State University, Kogi State Polytechnic, Obajana Cement Factory and signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Dangote Cement among other verifiable projects he executed while in office, if he truly stole N11 billion.
On the allegation that the APC flag bearer was poisoned, Melaye said he would not comment on what he did not know about.
“I cannot say he was poisoned. I will not say what I do not know. God is the only one who sees everything. I can only weep. For him, it was the end of a cycle”.
He further stated that most of the politicians in the state were too elitist.
“Audu was the only politician who was down to earth in Kogi State. I was his closest political associate. He loved his people. He was a friend of the downtrodden. It will be difficult for any other governor to connect with the people like Audu did. A man who was ready to listen to bean cake sellers and cobblers was a man to be taken seriously”, Melaye added.