In this part of the world, those who pick up the courage to stand up against our corrupt, inept, deceitful and morally-bankrupt system are tagged enemies of the state and attacked on all fronts by agents of the cabal that run the system. In the last 18 months, this has been the plight of Shehu Sani, the Senator representing Kaduna Central on the platform of the All Progressives Congress. The barrage of attacks is coming from the leadership of his party in Kaduna and at the national level. This senator’s offence is that he has decided to take a principled stand on the unpleasant situation of the masses in Kaduna State in particular and the nation at large.
This week, his party’s ward leaders in Kaduna State, apparently under pressure from the leadership of the party in Kaduna, suspended Sani indefinitely from the APC. Recall that he was earlier suspended from the party for 11 months. Now, it has been turned into “indefinite” suspension, all in an effort to humiliate this gallant politician.
The ludicrous suspension letter was signed by the Secretary of the APC in his Tudun Wada Ward, Mallam Awal Garba. In it, the ward chairman alleged that Sani failed to defend himself against “illegalities committed against the party, as well as breaches of its constitution,” during the 11- month suspension. I don’t really know how they expect Sani to defend himself in a crooked arrangement allegedly master-minded by Governor Nasir el-Rufai.
A bemused Sani remarked on Wednesday: “My ‘indefinite suspension’ by el-Rufai-controlled, self-acclaimed APC exco is as worthless and as useless as the paper it was written. I wish to fully assure them that the new suspension will not give them the public support they couldn’t gather with the first one. For a man who has been unable to address the pervasive insecurity and genocide in southern Kaduna; for a man who has been unable to stem the tide of rampant kidnapping and abductions in Kaduna, suspending Sani cannot be counted as an achievement.
“El-rufai remains a typical establishment man, who was brought to limelight by the PDP, nurtured by the PDP, and no broom or deodorant of change can give him a new identity.”
We really need to understand what this brave senator stands for, to understand why the party leadership is doing everything possible to destroy him. Senator Sani’s biggest offence is that he has consistently and openly expressed dissatisfaction with the failure of the APC government at all levels to deliver on their promises to the people. Sani has openly challenged President Muhammadu Buhari to deliver on his promises to Nigerians.
In his beloved Kaduna State, Sani is not pleased with the anti-people government of el-Rufai and has persistently told him to his face. For Sani, el-rufai is not impacting on the down-trodden, the have-nots, the masses and the middle class in the state. This governor, who is masquerading as a progressive is running an elitist government with his co-travellers from Abuja, so says Sani.
The senator expatriates in an interview last year: “Our people need jobs, effective medicare and education. Our people need to be freed from economic bondage, which they have found themselves in. So, I think if you are in government, your priority should be how to make life better for the people, from the position which you have met them. And, his programmes and policies which he (el-rufai) has started are clearly alienating the people and attracting anger and condemnation on the whole of the party, and anybody associated with it. And, by my statement, I am drawing a line that I am not going to be a part of that. I do understand that we philosophically and ideologically differ on the stand that he is ultra-critic, conservative and reactionary. He is devoid of any progressive leaning.”
Sani is also bitter about el-rufai’s alienation of the people who have made contributions to the success of the party in the state: “He (el-rufai) knows all and he is ‘Mr. All’ and the most intelligent man with the biggest brain in Nigeria and that is supposed not to be. Now, if you are a leader, you need to listen to the people, carry them along, and that is how it ought to be. If you are a governor of a state, you want to spend N1 billion on uniforms for pupils, and another N1 billion on the feeding of students. But you have dilapidated schools that have no roofs and have no chairs, then, there is the need for the people to query your intelligence.”
Instead of deeply reflecting on all the points raised by Sani and making amends, the governor of Kaduna State declared war of this noble senator. The masses of Kaduna State are seething but governor Kaduna pretends that all is normal. For example, el-rufai has chased away beggars from the streets and replaced them with flowers, without rehabilitating the sacked beggars. People are worried that el-rufai is not executing people-oriented programmes. He has given Kaduna jobs to all manner of people from God knows where. Governor “Kaduna” has also brought his Abuja demolition mentality to Kaduna. So many buildings have been brought down in Zaria. Dreams of hundreds of people have been shattered. That was why Senator Sani said: “When you are running a government, you are dealing with human beings that have children, that have families, and that have a future. So, you must not take people to be economic statistics.”
Governor “Kaduna” must learn to live in peace and harmony with his people. He must not be seen as adding to their suffering. He must radiate kindness. He should see the position of Sani as a challenge; a challenge to bond with the masses and alleviate their anguish.
The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author.