Other Side Of Shehu Sani’s Opposition To World Bank Loan



Since the lamentation by the governor of Kaduna State, Malam Uba Sani, over the difficulties being experienced by his administration as a result of the $350 million World Bank and other loans obtained by the immediate past administration in the state, one person who has positioned himself to benefit from the controversy has been Senator Shehu Sani. Since the controversy, Shehu Sani’s nearly sanctimonious posturing and the ‘I told you so’ reactions have been all over the place, with the former senator posing as a visionary saint who foresaw the consequences of taking the loan and objected to it in the interest of the people of the state.

Typical of politicians, the former senator and popular activist, wants to take advantage of the tiff to sell himself as a righteous sheep whose fulmination on the loan was altruistic and purely in the interest of the masses. While it may be true that the man also known as Kwamared ( a Hausa mispronunciation of the word ‘Comrade’) opposed the loan when the matter was presented to the Senate as a procedural requirement, there are reasons to believe that his opposition to the loan was not altogether altruistic as he wanted us to believe.

Long before the loan issue came before the Senate, there has been no love lost between Shehu Sani and the then governor, Malam Nasir el-Rufai, with the duo having drawn the battle line, and only waiting for an opportunity to cancel each other politically. Sani was elected on the same party platform with el-Rufai, but a major disagreement ensued between them when the former accused the latter of constituting his cabinet without his input.

Sani felt that as the senator representing the most populous district in the state, elected on the same platform with the governor and having scored an overwhelming number of votes above what other candidates polled at the primary election making him a super star of sorts, that he had attained a height as a major stakeholder who must be consulted on major issues concerning governance in the state.

Then Governor el-Rufai, on other hand, was not impressed by the claims of Shehu Sani, seeing him more as an opportunist who rode on the back of the Buhari popularity to win the Senate seat. The last thing el-Rufai would want to do is share power with anyone. It was from thence that the two vowed to outdo each other at every given opportunity, leading to so many populist acts that sometimes border on the ridiculous.

For instance, if one ate corn by the road side, the other would quickly go to push a wheel barrow at the market place all in the bid to win the hearts of the masses. The criticisms from both sides also respected no boundaries that el-Rufai at time even ridiculed Senator Shehu Sani over his Afro hair-do.  Sadly, for El-Rufai, by the time the issue of the World Bank loan came, he had fallen out not just with Sani, but with the all the three senators from his state, including the two from his party (Shehu Sani and Othman Hunkuyi) and Danjuma Laah of the PDP.

So, when the matter of the loan came before the Senate, the reaction of the trio was not unexpected as it was an opportunity for them get back at him. Hunkuyi, also for similar reasons with Shehu Sani, felt he was not being given his due recognition and respect as one of those who galvanized support for el-Rufai to become governor. For Laah, the reason may not only be due partisan differences, but in solidarity with the people of the zone he represented who accused el-Rufai of marginalizing them.

But for Sani, it was more of a continuation of the cat and mouse game with el-Rufai and an opportunity to play high wired politics ahead the 2019 elections. Senator Shehu Sani knew at that time, that as far el-Rufai was concerned, all arsenal would be deployed to work against his getting the ticket of the party to return to the Senate so to him, the issue of the loan came in handy for him to show his relevance. Even with the obstacles posed before him, el-Rufai was not ready to beg or lobby Shehu Sani for his support, but swore he was going to get the loan without the senator’s support. The fight continued until it was time for the primary election, but by then it was too late to for either side to beat a retreat or surrender.

Shehu Sani tried to play a fast one by trying to get the national body of the party to grant him the right of first refusal as an incumbent, but el-Rufai would have none of that, insisting that senatorial ticket be thrown open for contest. Uba Sani trounced Shehu Sani, leading the latter to defect to the Peoples Redemption Party (PRP) to challenge Uba Sani for the Kaduna Central Senatorial seat. Everything now is history!

So, it was more of politics at play.

That is why it is nearly impossible to see a single commendation of anything el-Rufai had done in the eight years he governed Kaduna State from the former senator and vice versa, proving that the issue of the loan and its rejection was mere politics at play.

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