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Shehu Sani quits APC, shops for new party

Senator Shehu Sani
Senator Shehu Sani

Senator Shehu Sani yesterday dumped the All Progressives Congress (APC) after a protracted crisis over who should be the party’s senatorial candidate in the 2019 general elections.

The Senator representing Kaduna Central Senatorial District had been having a running battle for the senatorial ticket with the anointed candidate Governor Nasiru El-Rufai of Kaduna State, Malam Uba Sani.

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Sani is currently shopping for another platform which would offer him its ticket to contest as a senator in next year’s elections.

Uba Sani, who is Governor El-Rufa’i Special Adviser on Political Matters polled the highest votes at a recently held senatorial primary which was boycotted by Shehu Sani on the grounds that the APC had recognized him [Shehu] as the sole candidate for the party.

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Saturday’s resignation was conveyed in a letter titled “Resignation from All Progressives Congress” dated October 19, which he sent to his Ward 6 Tudun Wada North APC office.

The letter was copied to State APC Chairman, National Vice Chairman, North West, Deputy National Chairman, North and National Chairman.

The Senator in the letter said in part that: “I had joined the APC and remained with it against all odds in the belief that it will constitute a veritable platform for the realization of those democratic ideals which I hold very dear, that honour and integrity will be the ultimate ethos of the party and, most importantly, that internal party democracy will always be the norm. However only prosperity can affirm the extent to which the APC has committed to and reflected these values.”

However, the APC said it would react appropriately to the alleged defection of Senator Shehu Sani after establishing the facts on the issue.

The National Publicity Secretary, Malam Lanre Issa-Onilu, in a terse reaction via the party’s WhatsApp platform, confirmed that the ruling party also received the news on the social media.

He said:  “We received the news of the alleged defection of Senator Shehu Sani through media reports. The party leadership will relate with all the facts concerning the reported defection and react appropriately in due course. Thank you.”

The APC National Appeal Committee headed by Professor Oserheimen Osunbor had upheld the candidature of Senator Sani as the party’s candidate.

However, an acknowledgement letter being circulated on the social media had the name of Malam Uba Sani.

It would be recalled that the committee, which was constituted for the party’s recently-conducted presidential, governorship and legislative primary elections, treated six rejected petitions from Kaduna State on the senatorial primaries.

When the committee submitted its report, a document indicated that all petitions on the Senate and House of Representatives primaries were rejected by the panel.

The reasons for the rejection revolved around lack of merit, proof, clearance and time for fresh primaries. No reasons were adduced for not upholding some others.

For example, all the petitions received against the governorship primaries in Sokoto Jigawa, Kebbi and Katsina States were also rejected.

However, the governorship candidacy of Tonye Cole, an associate of the Minister of Transportation, Mr Rotimi Amaechi, in Rivers State was upheld after the two petitions from Senator Magnus Abe and Chief Dumo Lulu-Briggs were not upheld.

Besides, Senator Shehu Sani likes football and is fond of using the sports to describe his adventure in politics.

When political events turned in his favor, he put up his image joggling a ball on the social and captioned it in Hausa language “Iya taku” meaning he is skillful in tackles.

When a group of senators defected from the APC to other parties but mainly to the PDP, Senator Shehu Sani, to the surprise of many, stayed put. This was because prior to the defections, he had been at the forefront criticizing the policies and leadership styles of the APC members in government and that he could not be on the same page as those who control the party.

The scenario was even worse at the state level where due to similar actions he was suspended indefinitely from the party. He had also not helped matters by identifying with splinter groups within the party.

All these were thought to be enough signs that the human right activist turned politician was on his way out of the party.

But immediately the list of defecting senators was announced and his name did not feature, things began to look rosy for him as he began to warm up to the leaders of the party and particularly to President Muhammadu Buhari.

He, for instance, was among the federal lawmakers that dined with the president and even had the opportunity of a handshake in front of cameras immediately after the gale of defections.

Shortly after, Sani again made it to Daura, the president’s home town to felicitate with him during the last Sallah celebration.

Though he was identified by some as knowing his way in politics, there were some who felt that they cannot allow him get away with what they felt amounted to “hunting with the hound and running with the hare.”

Paramount in this group is the Kaduna State governor and some state government officials who did not hide their disdain for how events around Sani were turning out.

In fact, long before the gale of defections, El-Rufa’i had already given the nod to Uba Sani to take over the seat.

When Senator Sani refused to move and things began to take an upward swing in the affairs of the party, it changed the political calculation in El-Rufa’i’s camp and even threatened to change the narrative of how effective the governor’s hold on the party was.

Matters got worse for the El-Rufai camp when it was time for primaries and Senator Sani was announced as the sole candidate of the party by the National Working Committee.

The Kaduna governor along with other governors who were having similar problems in their states ran to Abuja to protest the decision.

El-Rufa’i’s major reason for opposing Sani was that the Senator had not been a loyal member of the party and that he had been lampooning the polices of the APC-led government at the state and national levels.

But his major grouse was the refusal by Sani to approve a $350million loan when the request passed through the Senate. The fact that the matter has turned into an ego contest between him and the senator who does not spare any opportunity to get at the governor also served to sustain the anger.

Having taken control of the party structure through the congresses, the governor took opportunity of the primary committee sent to the state and to conduct elections and got his favourites elected as candidates.

Senator Sani didn’t submit to the process of the primary election and hung on to his sole candidacy argument and stayed away.

But even after that, the matter lingered until last week when it turned out that it was Uba Sani’s name that the APC submitted to the Independent National Electoral Commission, (INEC) as its candidate.

That meant that one thing that Senator Sani, has lost out and will not participate in the 2019 elections. His hope of returning as a senator has therefore been shattered.

The effect is that while he had helped the APC to stabilize at the National Assembly when it mattered, the party failed to reward him for his support.

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