Governor Uba Sani, Ex-Governor Nasiru El-Rufai And Machiavelli’s “THE PRINCE”


“Would this be the end of the El-Rufai personae? Is he on his way to prison? Or would he go into self exile? Again? Only time will tell. But it is often said that, “the evil that men do, often live after (and even chase) them”.


MACHIAVELLI, an ancient philosopher, wrote a political treatise, ”The Prince”, in which he taught about how to struggle for power, and what you should do, when you get it.

He developed the principle of “the end justifies the means”. He taught this, among many other things.

We may condemn such a principle as being Satanic. Be that as it may, however, on a sober reflection, it shows us what happens most of the time in human relationships. It operates all the time. It is only the discerning mind that discerns it. Those who do, and apply it in politics, normally succeed. But whatever the consequences may be, spiritually or physically, we are not concerned with it, here and now.

This afternoon, I was thinking about Governor Uba Sani and his erstwhile god-father, mentor, benefactor and “king-maker” – ex-Governor Nasiru Ahmad El-Rufai.

One of the things Machiavelli taught, apart from the end justifying the means, is that, for the new king to succeed, one of the first things he must do, is to destroy the one who made him King. We have seen this in operation most of the time in Nigeria. But not only in Nigeria, it happens the world-over. If the new king wants to succeed, he must destroy the person who made him King. The major objective for this, is as enunciated in the principle, “the end justifies the means.” The “end” is success, therefore, to succeed, he eliminates his predecessor.

Reflect back to the two characters of Nasiru El-Rufai and his god-son – Uba Sani.

El-Rufai became Governor of Kaduna State in 2015, May 29.

When he became governor, he brought with him Uba Sani (hitherto publicly unknown) into his government as his Special Adviser (Political) .

In between, Uba Sani held several other portfolios, but generally speaking, he was in the engine room of the El-Rufai’s government, principally advising El-Rufai on governance and politics, and participating in it. El-Rufai did not know the political terrain in Kaduna State well, so, he needed those who will teach him. We understand the road throughout El-Rufai’s eight-year governance, as between the two (El-Rufai and Uba Sani) was filled with pleasant and rough moments as well.. But the duo, weathered through.

However, when El-Rufai had mastered the robes, we were told he wanted to get rid of Uba Sani, but Uba Sani proved a hard nut to Crack. I am not surprised. This is so because Uba Sani has proven himself to be a Machiavelli. Because tried as El-Rufai did to get rid of Uba Sani, he could not. It was like the proverbial teak in the skin of the dog: Uba Sani was stuck, in El-Rufai’s skin. He taught El-Rufai the political ropes. He, along with Suleiman Hunkuyi. But El-Rufai was more Machiavellian in Hunkuyi’s case. Having used Hunkuyi, he knew if he must succeed as Governor, he must get rid of Hunkuyi. And ridding Hunkuyi, El-Rufai did; and very easily. Then he turned to Uba Sani. Uba proved, he already knew the Machiavellism in El-Rufai. As the dye in wool Machiavelli that Uba was, he saw the opportunity was there, for his future, if he handled erratic El-Rufai well. He lay low, serving El-Rufai in all manner of ways (including spiritually). He would later become a Senator through the machinations of El-Rufai, who I normally term the Evil-genius. He thought he was using Uba Sani, but not knowing that Uba Sani was using him too to climb up. And climbing up, Uba successfully did. The evil genius badly wanted a World Bank approved loan but, there was a standing war with the Kaduna State Senators. Then his boy Uba Sani urged him to exercise his powers of incumbency as Governor, remove Hunkuyi and Shehu Sani as Senators. The Senator of zone three was inconsequential. Alas El-Rufai did and inserted his boy, Uba Sani there. Pronto! A big wide gate had opened for Uba Sani, whose other name is Machiavelli. Uba, finding himself in the Senate, did what his mentor, teacher, benefactor wanted: that World Bank loan which was pending the assent of the three Kaduna State Senators. As said earlier, the zone 3 Senator was of no consequence in the calculation.

First thing Senator Uba Sani did, was to revive the issue of the loan. Uba Sani succeeded. He was so excited, he granted a press interview and assured the public that his mentor will use the loan well and that in any case, he was willing to be held responsible, should anything go wrong. Whether he billed his statement then, it is only now we can tell.

Things came to pass, with the years. Then Uba still waited for his mentor to indicate the mentor’s interest as to who will succeed him at completion of his term. A lot of things began to happen: sometimes raising Uba’ hopes, and sometimes dashing the hopes. Trust the evil-genius, the Maradona that he was, he played with his party, played with the processes of nomination, and played with the primary process, and like magic, a kid of “the more you see and the more you don’t see”, his student, his mentee emerged as having won the primary.

But trust Uba Sani, the Kaduna State Machiavelli used the period of being in the Senate to prepare himself, so that when the right time comes, he will not depend on El-Rufai for the finances. He worked his way and got the Chairmanship of the Senate Committee on the CBN and other financial matters. That meant the whole world to him. He had all he needed to finance his Governorship ambition. When it finally came, after the twists and turns by the evil genius, the Maradona could not escape from the grips of Uba Sani- the Kaduna State Machiavelli.

Alas, Uba Sani, after so many dramas, got the governorship ticket. The evil-genius tended to be dazed! Alas Uba Sani had made it. However, not to worry, the evil, in his last days kept instigating fears in people that Uba Sani would be more wicked than him. But trust our Machiavelli, he kept his cool and pretended before El-Rufai that it would be so.

Now, Uba Sani has turned out to be different. El-Rufai had sought to poison the people’s minds, but Uba Sani proved to be cool, calm, and wiser.

Now he is the occupant of Sir Kashim House. He can do and undo. Since then El-Rufai has fought to be minister, but all forces were against him – up to the Federal level.

Back in the state, the last vestige of El-Rufai was his eight year Secretary to the Government. That was El-Rufai personified.

Our Machievalli, was aware of this. He too had to move. The rejection of El-Rufai as minister, created the window and off, he went. Free, free, free indeed! Uba Sani is free.

Then he began to change his disposition. The hitherto hated Southern Kaduna became his friends. He first showed the sign by attending a Christmas Carol. Then he drew General Lekwot near to himself. Then, the Southern Kaduna umbrella body – SOKAPU! HAHAHAA!!! SOKAPU!! Wonders shall never end. He began to draw Southern Kaduna people nearer.

This is a marked change of direction. Those were the signs. But the big one was yet to come; and it did come. The purported “Town-Hall Meeting”, a convenient cover for the bombshell.

There are many ways one can send an unmistakable message. He confessed that Kaduna State is broke; there were debts, nearing a billion dollars which were incurred by the previous government (mark you, he did not mention El-Rufai by name). He said, he was sure he would not be able to meet the state’s financial commitments. Then Pronto!!!

The cover was uncovered. Then the press, the citizens, the enemies of El-Rufai, etc, got on stage, and now have a field day.

Then a purported petition to the police and EFCC surfaced, and got viral in the social Media. Then a video clip of El-Rufai surfaced, alleging that other Nigerians had stolen before.

You see, I like El-Rufai: all you need is to instigate him to talk, and when he opens his mouth, you can be sure to guess what will follow.

Would this be the end of the El-Rufai personae? Is he on his way to prison? Or would he go into self exile? Again?

Only time will tell. But it is often said that, “the evil that men do, often live after (and even chase) them”.

Then we will now ask, is Governor Uba Sani now our Machiavelli?

These are interesting times.

…Mr Joshua D. Ephraim, a public analyst can be reached via

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