2019: The many hurdles before Shehu Sani

If there’s any senator who knew from June 2015 that he is not going to have an easy ride back to the Senate in 2019, it is the senator representing Kaduna Central senatorial district, Shehu Sani.

Sani had even before the inauguration of the 8th Assembly, gone separate ways with the state governor, Malam Nasir El-Rufai, and both men had stuck to their positions.

By December 2015, just about seven months into the new administration, it was clear that it would be difficult to bring both men under one roof because while the state governor has locked out those not in his camp from government  and had taken adequate control of the party structure in the state, Senator Sani had stated his policy of openly criticising the policies and actions of the state government and insisting on reconstituting the state exco of the party.

The first major onslaught to signify there was no going back on this stance was the suspension of Senator Shehu Sani by the Tudun Wada ward of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Kaduna State in December 2015.

He was suspended for 11 months and was also banned from engaging in party activities in the state during the period.

The  offences listed against the senator then included making statements that violate the rules of engagement of the party, factionalising the party and engaging in anti-party activities by criticizing the policies of the APC-led administration in the state.

Further disciplinary measures leading to his expulsion from the party were also taken.

The gap between the senator and the governor had continued to widen that many have concluded that it has become impossible to reconcile them even when it is less than six months to party primaries.

The senator has in the past teamed up with various groups opposed to the state governor within the party to express his solidarity with them.

He has been an active member of the APC Akida group which had intended to float a parallel structure of the APC in Kaduna, and has been identified with the Restoration Group which has also been at the forefront of criticism of the state government policies and when Senator Suleiman Uthman Hunkuyi, using Danladi Wada, opened a parallel office of the party, Sani identified with them.

The senator has also been at the forefront of the campaign to stop the state government from obtaining a $350 million loan from the World Bank, which did not succeed at the Senate.

Due to these, many have concluded that  the fight between the two can only be decided by voters.

Last week, the senator had a cause to raise an alarm that his political opponents in the state were planning to frame him for murder.

The alarm was sequel to a letter written to the senator by the Kaduna State Commissioner of Police inviting him for questioning over “criminal conspiracy and culpable homicide”.

The police had invited the senator based on an alleged confession by one  Isa Garba, a suspect in a murder case of one Lawal Madugu after his arrest by the military.

The case was transferred to the police by Division 1 of the Nigerian Army in Kaduna.

The letter, with reference number  CR: 2000/KDS/VOL 5H/72, was routed through the clerk of the National Assembly, while the senate president was also copied.

But in a swift reaction, Sani accused the Kaduna State Government of being behind the plot to rope him in a murder case.

He said some people are aiming to tarnish his reputation and silence him, using security agents.

He said, “Those who abuse power by thinking that they can use security forces to set us up in order to silence us or tarnish our reputation have taken on the wrong person. They will always fail as they usually do.”

Before his invitation by the police, there was another move to checkmate him when the six local governments that make up Kaduna Central Senatorial district came out to oppose any likelihood of his standing for re-election.

APC chairman of Kaduna North Local Government Area, Musa Sheriff, insisted that Sani was not recognised by the party.

“I want you to know that the current senator is still not pardoned by the party and technically he is not recognised as a member of the party in Kaduna,” he said.

A group, Concerned Indigenes of Kaduna Central Senatorial District, also launched moves to recall Mr. Sani from the Senate.

The group said Sani was previously a politician with no significance and had failed twice to become a senator until he rode on the popularity of President Muhammadu Buhari to get to the Senate and alleged that since Sani won the election, he has continuously bitten the fingers that fed him.

As if that was not enough, the senator has also been sued by El-Rufai for libel and the governor is seeking N2 billion from the lawmaker for defamation of character.

The governor is seeking compensation for injury allegedly suffered as a result of “the malicious statements” allegedly made by the senator through the mass media to humiliate him and defame his integrity by calling him a drunk, loose cannon and an embarrassment to President Muhammadu Buhari.

If the senator manages to surmount these obastacles, he would most definitely be confronted with the challenge of what platform to contest on, as the state structure of the party will definitely not be disposed towards allowing him contest on its ticket.


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