An absurd political drama preceded the burial this morning of Abubakar Audu, the governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), after word spread that he had “risen” from death a few minutes before he was to be laid to rest in his hometown, Ogbonicha, in Ofu local government area of Kogi State.
Mr. Audu died yesterday of an undisclosed ailment less than 24 hours after he voted in a governorship election in which he was seeking to return as Governor of Kogi State. SaharaReporters broke news of his death.
Moments before his burial this morning, according to Muslim rites, rumors went around that the controversial politician had “risen” from death. The rumor created an atmosphere of charged excitement as many people gathered at the town for Mr. Audu’s burial expected he would show up to address them in person.
However, a family source told SaharaReporters that the rumor was triggered by the family’s decision to delay the late politician’s burial because they decided to allow time for more political dignitaries to arrive for the final rites. “The family decided to shift the time of his burial from 12 noon to 2 p.m. to enable more dignitaries [to] arrive,” the source said. “But people began to spread the rumor that we postponed the burial because Alhaji Prince Audu had woken from the dead.”
The short delay caused tension in Mr. Audu’s hometown and across the state as his supporters jubilated over news that he had arisen from the dead. Our correspondent at the burial reported that some people even claimed that they saw Mr. Audu dancing with his mourners.
However, reality dawned on everyone when, shortly before 2 p.m., Mr. Audu’s grave was completed and several imams performed his final burial rites.
The Independent National Electoral Commission yesterday declared last Saturday’s governorship election “inconclusive.” However, Mr. Audu, who died around 5 a.m. on Sunday morning after vomiting blood overnight, was not alive to learn about the outcome of the election.
Mr. Audu had been governor of Kogi State for a single term that ended in 2003. The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission then charged him to court for alleged massive corruption and money laundering. The case was yet to be concluded when he won the APC’s primary to represent the party in last Saturday’s governorship.
Since his death, lawyers and political experts have been debating the constitutional impact of his demise on the governorship race.