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2027: el Rufai, Gov. Sani on warpath



2027: el Rufai, Gov. Sani on warpath

– Again the godfather syndrome in trouble

The butter verbal exchanges between the camps of former governor Nasir El Rufai and the Kaduna state seemed to be quite unexpected but comes after some political moves by the former, which suggests a step towards 2027.

This sour relationship between them was so sudden, early and unexpected given the sterling role the former played in the electoral success of the latter, which catapulted him into execution office of Kaduna State. It is on record that ElRufai fought tooth and nail to install Gov. Sani in a vicious contest against those opposed to the idea of Sani, a protege El Rufai succeeding his mentor.

How did the chummy relationship turn sour so early in the day. Political analysts always quote Machiavelli’ admonition to king makers to steer away from the throne, but for Nigerian political godfathers and benefactors, the throne itself is business and the reason they always install their ‘own’ as king in order to continue to pull the string, while the new king becomes puppet. Two weeks ago, things began to fall apart between the godfather and the godson.

At a recent Town Hall Meeting in Kaduna, Gov. Sani said he inherited huge debts from his predecessor, El-Rufai, which has made it difficult to pay salaries, adding that the huge debts have left the state with a lean purse and too broke to pay workers’ salaries.

The governor said El-Rufai left him $587m, N85bn and 115 contractual liabilities.
“Despite the huge debt burden of $587m, N85bn, and N115bn contractual liabilities sadly inherited from the previous administration, we remain resolute in steering Kaduna State towards progress and sustainable development”, he said.

The bombshell unleashed a firestorm, which spread across the country, as politicians and political commentators not only read the ‘message’ embedded in Sani’s coded battle cry of independence from el Rufai stranglehold. They also said it was reminiscent of Fubara/Wike tango but of less intensity and more of war of attrition.

Prof. Adeagbo Moritiwon, a political scientist, said Gov. Sani a more liberal , far-sighted politician does not want to live in the shadows of his former boss, seeing that he left a bad legacy of bitterness, ethnic animosity in the state; he wants to build the state and downplay the fault lines. By coming out early, he has put a big spanner in the works on whatever ambition, if any, el Rufai may have for 2027.”

Moritiwon stated that el Rufai is a “controversial and tainted politician and going forward I can’t see any political future for him given his persona in the last two decades”.

Prof. Ayo Omoniwa seems to agree. Omoniwa, a political sociologist, says “it’s hard to forecast bright political future for el Rufai, the key political actors may not be keen on doing business with him, and the revelation from his protege, who he helped installed as governor, may be an icing on the cake.”

“Is he going to see Buhari, Jonathan or Obasanjo for any political favour? No, he doesn’t have that goodwill any more with them. The revelation of his governor in Kaduna has sufficiently damaged him. Look, in Kaduna today, Sani is respected for his unifying approach, even in Southern Kaduna all the political leadership has spoken highly of him. He is so unlike el Rufai. In a contest with Sani he will lose out. Sani will get the second term, it’s el Rufai I fear for, if he has any political plan for 2027 it may not work out for him’, Omoniwa said.

Gov.’s outburst angers el Rufai’s son

In what looks like a pre-announcement to an epic political battle ahead in Kaduna State, Bashir el-Rufai, the former governor’s son, accused the State governor, Uba Sani, of shying away from his responsibility by always staying away from the state and hibernating in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Abuja. He also accused Gov. Sani of surrounding himself with a retinue of incompetent aides appointed for political patronage.

Bashir said that instead of admitting its incompetence, the Uba Sani administration has resorted to deflect by raising alarm on a debt burden inherited from el-Rufai’s administration.

But, in an apparent response to the claim of the Kaduna State government via a series of tweets on his X handle (formerly Twitter) shortly after, Bashir el-Rufai berated Gov. Sani and his team, accusing them of incompetence, contract inflation and forex speculation, wondering why they were giving debt burden as an excuse for their poor performance.

The younger el-Rufai wrote: “These guys have realised that they are wholly incompetent and the only way to mask the nonsense is to deflect. From a governor that is always sleeping in Abuja to a litany of incompetent aides that were only rewarded for foolish political reasons.”


On the debt profile of the state, he responded: “FYI: He was the Senator from Kaduna who lobbied & approved the loans.”

It will be recalled that Gov. Sani was Kaduna Central Senator in the 9th Senate before his emergence as the state governor in the 2023 elections.

Bashir further tweeted, “One would think that from all the FAAC allocations these unserious clowns have changed to dollars, debt would be the least of their problems.
“The current administration in Kaduna is building a banquet hall for N7bn and is lamenting about debt left by the previous administration.”

Joining the fray, former Deputy National Publicity Secretary of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Yekini Nabena, accused the former governor of Kaduna el-Rufai, of being behind the insecurity in northern Nigeria.
Nabena made the allegation in an interview with a news daily last week.

His words: ”I read recently that somebody like Mallam Nasir El-rufai is planning to join the SDP, but all I can say is that I am waiting for the day we will put up his resignation letter to leave the APC.

”He is among the people that caused problems for the APC and not only APC but also Nigeria.

”It is people like him that caused all the problems of insecurity we have in the northern part of the country.

”I will go after him when he resigns formally from our party and exposes even the role he played during the presidential primary election and why he wants to rock the boat because he was not made the vice president.
Reacting to the development,

Alhaji Yerima Shettima, President General of the Arewa Youth Consultative Forum (AYCF), highlighted concerns about salary payments in Kaduna State.

Shettima believes that, despite el-Rufai’s efforts, Governor Sani is still struggling to pay salaries, and that el-Rufai should step up and provide a report on his leadership and the state’s finances from 2015 to 2023.

Shettima said, “It has reached a point, where Sani cannot pay salaries despite the brouhaha by El-Rufai. When you cannot do what is expected of you as a governor, you look at what the problem is, and that is exactly what Sani has done.

“The best that El-Rufai can do is to come and account for his leadership. It is long overdue to explain how he managed all the money due to the state between 2015 and 2023.”

Shehu Sani, the former Senator representing Kaduna Central, also reflected on his prior warnings regarding the $350 million World Bank loan sought by el-Rufai. Despite his efforts to caution against the loan, Sani expressed regret that his advice went unheeded. Addressing journalists, Sani voiced remorse over the current financial challenges confronting Kaduna state, suggesting that had el-Rufai’s administration heeded his warnings, the state might have avoided its current predicament.

Meanwhile, a former spokesman of Atiku-Okowa presidential campaign, Daniel Bwala, has accused el-Rufai of making the state ungovernable.

Bwala said el-Rufai made Kaduna ungovernable through the debt burden of $587m and N85bn he left behind.
Posting on X, Bwala wrote: “There are two ways a bad leader can make a state ungovernable: one is to promote or allow insecurity to thrive, and the other is to leave a debt burden beyond states’ comprehension.

“With a debt burden of 587 million Dollars, 85 billion Naira, and 115 Contractual Liabilities, the past administration of Kaduna State has made the state ungovernable.“


Hajiya Maryam Suleiman, the women leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Kaduna State, also responded to the recent statement by Governor Uba Sani. She stressed that Malam el Rufai, did not misappropriate funds belonging to the people of the state. If any misappropriation occurred, she suggested it was done in collaboration with the current governor Uba Sani.

“If you say there is no money in Kaduna State, why don’t you resign? You are complaining about the huge debt burden, but you insisted on getting the party’s ticket, and now you are complaining. You know, where the loan is, and how it was spent. He is aware of whatever happened because he was part of it. There is nothing he doesn’t know. El-Rufai didn’t take the Kaduna people’s money, and if he did, he did it together with Uba Sani. Malam is our political godfather, and we are here to defend him. So he should stop blaming Malam.”

Hajiya Suleiman has since been suspended by APC Kaduna chapter.



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