El-Rufai, APC on Collision over Senatorial Candidate

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Nasir El-Rufai,

By John Shiklam in Kaduna

 The National Secretariat of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and Kaduna State Governor, Nasir El-Rufai, may be on a collision course, following the controversy over the candidate for Kaduna central senatorial zone.

The National Working Committee (NWC) of the party had granted automatic ticket to the incumbent Senator Shehu Sani, while excluding El-Rufai’s aide, Uba Sani, and three other aspirants from the contest.

Sani’s automatic ticket was greeted by protest from Uba’s supporters in Kaduna.

El-Rufai who had endorsed Uba Sani for the senatorial seat was also not happy with the decision of the NWC and met with President Muhammadu Buhari in Abuja over the issue last week.

Uba and three others were later purportedly cleared by the National Chairman of the APC, Adams Oshiomhole, paving way for primary elections which was held on Saturday at the Murtala Square, Kaduna.

 Shehu however shunned the election, insisting that he was the party’s sole candidate for the senatorial seat.

In a statement, he also described the exercise as a “Kangaroo election” and directed his supporters and agents not to participate.

Announcing the results of the controversial election, the returning officer, Prof. Eddie Floyd-Igbo, declared Uba as the winner with 2,088 votes, while Shehu got only 15 votes.

However, the National Secretariat of the APC yesterday declared that Shehu remains its candidate for the senatorial election in the senatorial zone.

The acting National Publicity Secretary of the party, Yekini Nabena, according to agency reports, made the clarification yesterday in Abuja.

Nabena was quoted as saying that Shehu is the only senatorial candidate for the zone, duly recognised by the national body, declaring that El-Rufai cannot dictate to the party.

The political enmity between the governor and Shehu took a different dimension when the later who is the Senate Committee Chairman on foreign and local debts, allegedly influenced the rejection of a $340million World Bank loan granted to Kaduna State.

El-Rufai had on several occasions asked the people not to re-elect Shehu and two other senators from the state, Suleiman Hunkuyi (Kaduna North) and Danjuma Laah (Southern Kaduna), for the role they played in denying the state the loan.