By Agaju Madugba

THESE may not be the best of times for Shehu Sani, the civil rights activist-turned politician who represents Kaduna Central Senatorial District at the National Assembly, under the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC). After several years of robust human rights activism using his Kaduna-based Civil Rights Congress, Sani contested the 2015 general elections, defeating his closest rival, Senator Mukhtar Aruwa, of the People’s Democratic Party.


Sani has since his inauguration launched several programmes which he says are aimed at uplifting the welfare of members of his constituency. Sani has consistently based his ideology on what he describes as talakawa-centred, a Hausa expression for, the masses as represented in the poor and the less-privileged.

Although he reportedly worked for the success of the APC gubernatorial victory at the polls, his relationship with Governor Nasir El-Rufa’i may have gone sour somewhere along the line as later developments within the state show the two party chieftains threading parallel lines.

Confusion trails suspension order

The cold war between the two apparently came to a climax last Sunday when the Tudun Wada ward of his party slammed an 11-month suspension order on the Senator, alleging anti-party activities. A letter to Sani dated December 27, also banned him from engaging in the party’s activities in the state during the duration of the sanction. “Hardly a week passes by that his group will not be on air, criticizing and challenging the enduring legacies of Malam Nasir El-Rufa’i,” the letter said, adding that, “his statements on national issues are not in conformity with those of the government of Kaduna State.”

The APC Tudun Wada Ward Secretary, Ahmed Abdulhamid, purportedly signed the suspension notice along with the Public Relations Officer, Auwal Mai Anguwa, and an Ex-Officio member, Aminu Alilan. The Kaduna State APC affirmed the Sani’s suspension on Tuesday. “We hereby uphold the suspension of Comrade (Senator) Shehu Sani as a member of the party for the period of 11 months,” the state secretariat said in a statement by the party’s Public Relations Officer, Tanko-Wusono, said and noted further that, “by this suspension, he is to desist from all party activities until when the suspension is lifted.

The party calls on all its members to be law abiding as we move forward to fulfil our campaign promises.” According to the statement, the party had watched the activities of the Senator with disdain and accused him of, “undue criticisms of policies and programmes of government at both the federal and state levels as well as heaping insults and abuses on party leaders through various media platforms.”

The statement argued further that all efforts to make Sani appear before the party’s leadership to clarify certain issues failed. Moreover, according to the party, Sani also went out of his way to blame the Nigerian Army over the recent killing of some members of the Muslim Shi’ite sect in Zaria. Reacting to the suspension, one of Sani’s aides, Sani, Suleiman Ahmed, described the writers of the letter as “ignorant” of the laws guiding the APC.

“They are toeing the line of the state secretariat of the party,” Ahmed said. But there are indications that the last may have not been heard of the suspension order as reports say that the signatories to the letter claim that their signatures were forged. The three people were said to have signed the suspension letter have been reported as saying that, “the whole letter is forged and none of the ward executive appended his signature or is even aware of the suspension until it was made public.”

Moreover, according to the Ward Chairman Abbas Mohammed, “the party shall investigate the sources of this statement because the three executives mentioned to have signed the statement have denied knowledge of it.”

Why I oppose El-Rufa’i

Whatever the circumstances, Sani has never hidden his objection to El-Rufa’i’s leadership style. The Governor had on assumption of office on May 29, embarked on sweeping reforms which among other things saw to the evacuation of beggars from the streets of metropolitan Kaduna, stopped government sponsorship of religious pilgrimages to Saudi Arabia and Jerusalem, stopped government’s distribution of grains during religious festive periods, reduced the number of ministries and sacked a number of civil servants, among other steps.

Reviewing some of these policies in a recent interview with Saturday Vanguard, Sani described El-Rufa’i as spreading poverty in Kaduna and embarking on programmes that do not benefit the masses.

Moreover, according to Sani, “we have ideological differences. He is from the political right and I am from the political left. He is a core conservative capitalist who believes in capitalism and I believe in the progressive, welfarist, leftist and idealistic system. So, that is where we differ. Again, after we had won the election and it came to sharing positions, he sidelined me and gave the power to the man I defeated in the election, who was his preferred choice.

By so doing, he has clearly appointed someone who he is grooming to fight me. He wants to do away with beggars and destitute and plant flowers and build amusement parks in Kaduna and that is not the way to solve problem. The governor wants to give a false image of good life and sanity in Kaduna to   make it appear that everybody is rich and living comfortably because there are no beggars and hawkers on the streets when in reality they have only been pushed out to go and suffer somewhere else.”



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