•Why we re-ordered the sequence of elections
By Omeiza Ajayi
Senator Shehu Sani was at the national secretariat of the All Progressives Congress, APC penultimate weekend to brief the leadership on the challenges facing the party in Kaduna State. In this interview, he raised some of the issues and also gave an explanation why the National Assembly had to re-order the sequence of elections. Excerpts:
Why do we have parallel executives of the APC in Kaduna State?
In Kaduna State today, we are having a problem and there are two APC secretariats. There is the one which the governor has set up for himself and serves as his personal convenience where he can do whatever he wants to do and we also have our own APC secretariat, so, we have twin-APC in Kaduna.
Our own is the genuine one because the chairman of the party that was duly certified and elected and recognised by INEC is not the one the governor is dealing with.
So, as far as we are concerned, we are here to tell the national secretariat that Senators Shehu Sani and Suleiman Hunkuyi and other party stalwarts in Kaduna will not accept, tolerate, endorse any form of tyranny by the governor of Kaduna State.
He has pocketed the party and wants to impose his will and is exploiting his proximity to the President to unleash a reign of terror on the party.
Right now, the party is already divided in Kaduna and it is for the national secretariat to note this and we have said it in clear terms.
The problem has defied solution for two years, but we believe that Asiwaju can do a lot of reconciliation and we hope that he will be able to achieve a lot because if Asiwaju fails, it is going to be doom for the party.
When you see people fighting within the party, it is because they want to remain in the party. If they don’t want to remain within the party, they will simply walk away from the party. So, we are saying that in the 21st Century Nigeria, there are those of us in the APC that will not accept any governor going into the room to write the list of his concubines, friends, his errand boys, housemaids and guards and send them as executives of the party.
We are going to remain in the APC and pursue this agenda and my presence here at the APC is to send a clear message, appreciating Tinubu’s appointment and to tell them that it is in the best interest of the party that they don’t take sides or the most they can do is to give us equal treatment as far as Kaduna is concerned.
Do you see the ‘Kaduna situation’ playing out at the national level too?
I don’t know anything about national level but I can tell you that as far as Kaduna is concerned, we have parallel APC and it is left for Asiwaju to build the bridges. Lagos is known for bridges therefore we hope that there will be Seventh Mainland Bridge to connect the divide. But we are not sure of that.
What is your take on extending an automatic ticket to Buhari to contest the 2019 Presidential election?
One thing Nigerians refused to recognise is that people have the right to decide if they want the President to re-contest or not and he also has the right to accept or reject the decision of the people.
As far as I am concerned, any opinion on whether he should contest or not is simply an exercise of freedom of speech and is left for him to decide.
Are you contesting for the governorship of the state?
In politics, there are things you want and there could be a decision later on what may be or may not be. In the process where reconciliation is taking place now, I think it is in our interest to first of all, according to what the president said, put our ambitions in our pockets and wait for Asiwaju to address the problems.
Why did the National Assembly re-order the sequence of elections?
You see, there is an impression of the National Assembly which people have, that there are pro and anti-Buhari senators but I do not think that is true. Nobody was elected to be pro or anti. We are all senators and on issues, we vote or decide what our positions should be. Having said that, the re-ordering of the sequence of elections was informed by a number of factors. One is the fact that the hitherto position as it were, where you start from the president and end up with the states was one in which we had the “bandwagon” effect.
Smaller parties felt that each time you had a presidential election and President Buhari wins, it means nobody will win any seat again; it is going to be President Buhari all through.
So, now, what we are saying is that they should put the presidential election last and that Nigerians have the opportunity to vote for senators and members of House of Representatives; the ones they want, they elect them and those ones they do not want, they reject them. The reason for this is very simple. We are trying to avoid mass trials, mass convictions and mass burials of senators and members of House of Representatives. So, by that, we will now allow each person to go to his grave or to be acquitted before “Justice Electorate.”
Following the hullabaloo arising from reports that a snake swallowed N36 million at JAMB, you were reported to have gone to JAMB office with anti-venom, were you not trivialising a serious matter?
My presence at the JAMB office was on a rescue mission – to avoid further snakes eating more money, because if you have a story where snakes have consumed N36 million, that is very shocking. So, in order to prevent more money being eaten by snakes,
I brought in snake repellents and snake charmers from my constituency. It is my own personal contribution to the fight against animal-based kind of corruption. And again, if this is a drama, it needs to be finished and what I did was to finish the last aspect of the drama.