In a desperate bid to justify his support for an unpopular candidate in the forthcoming Kogi Governorship election, Prince Shuaibu Abubakar Audu, the Minister of Steel Development and the Director-General of the Kogi State APC Governorship Campaign Council, has described the Igala people as bigots, stressing that he is not party to the bigotry promoted in the name of the Igala Agenda.
For championing the Igala Agenda, Prince Shuaibu described Igala people as bigots, stating that Prince Audu “wasn’t an ethnic bigot,” unlike those advocating for the Igala agenda. He therefore advised all those who do not support Bello’s third-term agenda to avoid hatred and bitterness, emphasizing that the APC, as the party that has given him so much, thereby making it “unthinkable” for him to support the Igala agenda.
Prince Shuaibu also cautioned those who expressed their dissatisfaction with Bello’s government to refrain from harboring hatred, saying, “What would be my justification for hating on him? My religion doesn’t teach me segregation, and my parents didn’t teach me that. I cannot learn it now.”
Prince Shuaibu’s stance to support Alhaji Usman Ododo, the APC’s candidate, who many have described as a product of ethnic bigotry, has drawn the ire of the Igala people, one of the largest ethnic groups in Kogi State, since his appointment as the Director-General of Kogi State APC Governorship Campaign Council.
The most recent expression of this ire came from the Forum of Igala Journalists, who expressed their disappointment in the Minister. In an open letter, the Forum of Igala Journalists conveyed their concerns and criticized his endorsement of the candidate, leading to his outburst in the form of a press statement signed by him and circulated on social media.
In a letter signed by Omonu YG Nelson, Secretary of the Forum, it said, “We believe that your decision to support Governor Yahaya Bello’s Proxy Third Term bid is a betrayal of your father’s legacy and the goodwill he earned for your family.”
Addressing Prince Shuaibu, the Forum described Bello’s eight years as catastrophic for Kogi people. According to the Forum, Governor Yahaya Bello “presided over a corrupt, incompetent, and repressive government. He has failed to deliver on any of your father’s campaign promises and has plunged the state into debt.”
“The people of Kogi State deserve better than Bello’s right-hand man (Ododo). They deserve a leader who is honest, competent, and committed to their well-being,” the Forum said.
Addressing the leaders and members of the Forum of Igala Journalists, Prince Shuaibu began with a plea for objectivity, lamenting the subjectivity he perceived in their political discourse. “Where is the sacred doctrine of objectivity?” he questioned, setting the tone for his defense.
He went on to speak about his father, the late Prince Abubakar Audu, a man known as the most celebrated icon Igala has ever produced. Prince Shuaibu emphasized that his father was not an ethnic bigot, unlike Igala people who are clamoring and pushing for the Igala Agenda.
In a swift reaction to the unfortunate statement made by Prince Shuaibu, which has infuriated many sons and daughters of Igala extraction, a social media user described Prince Shuaibu’s statement as the most unfortunate, especially coming from Prince Abubakar Audu’s son. “It is unfortunate that Audu’s son could make such a statement. I’m very sure that Audu is not happy with his son for supporting the most incompetent individual.”
He further said this: “Audu was known for excellence. Yes, he wasn’t known for bigotry, but he was a direct opposite of all that Yahaya Bello epitomizes. Prince Abubakar Audu did not excavate public roads to deny people of their rights during elections. Audu allowed his works and achievements to speak for him during elections, which is the reason he was celebrated, elected, and re-elected.”