The Silly War against Senator Shehu Sani

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Ring True with Yemi Adebowale; yemi.adebowale@thisdaylive.com; 07013940521 (text only)

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 expatiates 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.

Ambode, Please, Hold Next SEC Meeting in Ikorodu West LCDA
Ikorodu West Local Council Development Area is clearly the most backward in Lagos State. The entire area is like a war zone, with tattered roads and craters. A first time visitor to Ikorodu West LCDA will find it difficult to believe that he is in Lagos State, the so-called Centre of Excellence. At times, I wonder if Ambode and his predecessors are aware that this area exists. But agents of the government, shockingly, come around to distribute Land Use Charge bills. With over 500 documented roads in the LCDA, only four roads have asphalt in the entire Ikorodu West. Yes, I mean it; only four roads have asphalt in the entire LCDA. Even the main road to the LCDA (Isawo Road) is crater-ridden. A drive through major streets like Efunlaruja, Eyita-Ojokoro and Ori-Okuta will leave a first time visitor depressed. Roads in the massive settlements in this LCDA are in dire need of government attention. Many frustrated residents have, in the last two years, abandoned their properties and relocated. I am calling on Governor Akinwunmi Ambode to hold his next Executive Council Meeting in Ikorodu West, for him and his team to appreciate the extent of the calamity in Ikorodu West LCDA. The truth is that this LCDA is yet to feel the impact of Ambode, after over 18 months of the “Change” administration. I sincerely hope that Ambode will come and spend quality time in this LCDA in order to appreciate the anguish here and subsequently take steps to impact on the lives of the disheartened residents. Ambode’s predecessors failed the people of Ikorodu West. I hope he will act differently within the next 24 months left of his tenure.

Godswill Akpabio’s $300,000 Gift to Pele
Wonders will never end in this our great country called Nigeria. Imagine a state like Akwa Ibom sending $300,000 to Brazilian football legend, Edson Arantes do Nascimento (Pele) as appearance fee, just to grace the opening of a stadium in Uyo. That was what the then governor, Godswill Akpabio did about two years ago. At the official exchange rate then, this should be over N60 million. This is worth almost N100 million now. After collecting the money, Pele still failed to show up in Uyo for the event due to a shift in date for the opening of the multi-million dollar sporting edifice nicknamed ‘The Nest of Champions’. The elaborate opening ceremony must have gulped over N500 million. The news in town now is that the current government in the state has been struggling for almost 18 months now to retrieve the money from Pele. The agent through who the deal was sealed has not been helpful. He is insisting that Pele was not the one who breached the agreement and so, he is not liable. His position was that his client had already committed to another engagement, by the time a new date for the opening of the stadium was fixed.

I am horrified by this payment to Pele. The squandering of riches in Akwa Ibom State in the last 18 years is worrisome. Why should Akpabio pay so much to have Pele in Uyo when we have our own global football icons like Nwankwo Kanu and J.J Okocha? Why should a state where 95% of its citizen lack access to basic things of life like water, roads, health facilities and quality education, squander money? Public schools and health institutions in this state are in tatters, yet its governments spend like drunken sailors. Genuine progressives in this state should demand that Akpabio refund the $300,000 to the state. If he doesn’t now, he will certainly do so in the future.

Aregbesola and Osun Pensioners
Retirees of Osun State Civil Service are still in a mess. Governor Rauf Aregbesola has spent over six years pummeling these hapless pensioners. They were again on the streets of Osobgo about two weeks ago to protest against non-payment of their gratuities and the preposterous payment of half pensions by the state government. Omoniyi Ilesanmi, Chairman, Forum 2011/2012 Retirees remarked: “Aregbesola’s refusal to pay our gratuities and pension is the height of wickedness and we retirees will not stop fighting for our right.” These pensioners have become beggars after serving the state for years. The plight of those who retired in the last six years is most pathetic. While they were in service, salaries and allowances were irregular, no thanks to Aregbesola. After retirement, pension and gratuities were also not paid. This is man’s inhumanity to man. The last six years have been most traumatic for Osun civil servants. Who will save both the serving and retired civil servants in this state? One thing is certain: The days of the oppressor are numbered.

The Infamy of Senator Yele Omogunwa
It was really disgusting watching one of our numerous bread and butter politicians defecting to the ruling party on Tuesday. Senator Yele Omogunwa switched to the ruling All Progressives Congress because of the orchestrated division in his Peoples Democratic Party. He did not consider defecting until after the PDP lost the governorship election in Ondo State. I am very sure that he would again defect to the PDP or any other party that comes to power in 2019. There are so many questions for this “any government in power’ politician. Why did he not defect to the Labour Party or any of the 28 other existing parties? Will his defection to the APC end the crisis in the PDP? If he was indeed a loyal party man, what did he contribute to the search for a solution to the crisis in the PDP? We have too many political prostitutes in this country. Politicians like this Omogunwa are the ones polluting our system. Until we rinse our system of people like this, who play “politics of the stomach”, this country will not make progress.