Former Kogi State governor and the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) governorship candidate in the April 2007 elections, Prince Abubakar Audu, narrowly escaped death at Anyagba, his home town, on Monday as a gang of gunmen shot at his vehicle in a bid to snuff life out of him. One suspect has, however, been arrested by the police.
Briefing newsmen yesterday in Abuja over the attempted assassination, Audu said he was at the University Stadium, Anyagba, to attend the Italo Cultural Festival (ICF), where he was a special guest of honour.
According to him, “last week, I got invitation from Italo Cultural Society, the association that is in charge of the entire Igala tradition, anything pertaining to Igala tradition, they always try to get themselves involved. This time around, they called to tell me about the annual event called Italo Day that took place on December 31, 2007. I was invited as a special guest of honour and since I have been associated with this event since the past 30 years, I readily agreed to be in attendance.”
On the fateful day, December 31, Audu said he got a hint that government thugs were waiting to attack him at arena of the event but did not take it seriously. He said he drove to the venue, but was attacked by the gunmen as he tried to drive through the gate of the stadium which was locked and blocked by the thugs. “All we heard was people shouting from the stadium. The next thing I heard was a sound like a bomb, but it was a gun shot. It shattered the glass of my vehicle. What has been the saving grace for me besides God Almighty is that the vehicle is an armoured vehicle,” Audu claimed.
He said the atmosphere in the stadium was tense and rowdy, saying the attack shocked guests including the traditional ruler, the Attah of Igala who, Audu said “was totally shocked that in the presence of the police, these thugs were allowed to shoot into the air.”
Audu told journalists that he was in Abuja to see President Umaru Yar’Adua, the Inspector-General of Police (IGP) and the National Security Adviser (NSA), to complain to them the recurrent plots to eliminate him.
He alleged that the reason for wanting to kill him was not unconnected with his petitions to the elections tribunal and the subsequent annulment of the governorship election and order for a rerun of the polls in the state.
He said policemen attached to him had been reduced from five to two, and appealed to the Federal Government, as well as all Nigerians, to condemn the attack in an unequivocal term.
The arrested suspect, who was whisked in to the Zone Seven Police Headquarters in Abuja on Wednesday night identified himself as Mukhtar Alapa from Anyagba.
Though he claimed that he never got any money from the gang, the suspect who fingered the gang leader as Ogwu Araka, said he (suspect) actively participated in the attempt to murder the ex-governor.
He named Ogwu Araka as the one who shot repeatedly at the corner where Audu sat in his AA 662 KFU Kogi registered Super Duty armoured Ford jeep.
– The Sun