The endorsement: Last week, the leadership of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Kaduna State, including the state governor, Nasir El-Rufai, endorsed President Muhammadu Buhari for a second term. This is despite the fact that the president still has two years left in this term, is battling ill-health and has not signified his intention to contest again.
The rebel: One major stakeholder in the Kaduna APC who wasn’t at that meeting was Shehu Sani, the senator representing Kaduna Central senatorial district.
He spoke with Thisday newspaper on his thinking about the sudden deluge of endorsements for Buhari’s second term by the political class.
- He said the calls for Buhari to pursue a second term were being driven by the political elite to safeguard their privileges and preserve their political existence, future and relevance.
- He however made a distinction between the “masses calling for Buhari to contest” out of genuine affections as they see him as a messiah that will take Nigeria to the promise land, and the “political elite” who see him as an instrument that will give them the lever to return to power.
- Number one example: Gov. Nasir El-Rufai, who “cannot win election without mentioning the name of Buhari. He doesn’t like Buhari but want him just to win elections. They are opposites. Buhari is a leftist who doesn’t believe in policies of the World Bank and privatisation while el-Rufai is a core capitalist.”
- A word for the president: “Buhari should call his campaigners to order because if care is not taken, public resources would now be diverted for his campaign and governance at states and federal level would come to a halt.”
- Earlier this week, Gov. El-Rufai warned his enemies to watch it or face the fate of Yaradua and Jonathan. Sen. Sani advised the governor to stop dissipating energy on fighting perceived enemies rather than working to improve the welfare of the people.
- On El-Rufai, Sen. Sani said: “This is a man who is fighting many people. He is fighting religious leaders, labour unions, traditional leaders, people of Southern Kaduna and demolishing people’s houses. It is true that the party made efforts to reconcile us and bring peace to the state. But he sees himself as stronger than the party. Katsina State Governor, Bello Masari, was mandated by the party to reconcile us but el-Rufai never respected him or the APC national chairman. All the aggrieved party members respected Masari and attended the meeting except el-Rufai. He is not a progressive politician at all.”