Governor Uba Sani Vs El-Rufai: Who blinks first

I write in respect of the rift between the incumbent Governor Uba Sani of Kaduna state and his godfather Nasir El-Rufai. The Hausa say “Abun da kayi wa wani sai an yima”, meaning what you do to someone will be done to you. This writer was not in doubt, that sooner than later the son and his godfather will part ways.

Going down memory lane, everyone is aware of what Malam Nasir El-Rufai has done to those who shaped his life politically. It is an open secret that former Vice President Atiku Abubakar was instrumental to the appointment of El-Rufai as the Director General of the Bureau for Public Enterprises (BPE) during the President Olusegun Obasanjo government.

But it was the same El-Rufai who became a foe of Atiku Abubakar, by using any available platform to cast aspersion on him as well as calling him names in unprintable manners. He became an arch enemy of the former number two citizen of the country, especially when Atiku indicated his intentions to vie for the exalted seat of the President of Nigeria. 

El-Rufai formed an alliance with the then candidate of the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), General Muhammadu Buhari. They later entered into merger with the Action Congress of Nigeria and other parties to form the All Progressives Congress, APC, which led to the emergence of Buhari as president of Nigeria for eight years (2015 – 2023).

Governor Uba Sani revealed recently that the El-Rufai administration, which he succeeded, failed to settle the huge debt of $587 million, N85 billion and 115 contractual liabilities. He said these huge liabilities have rendered his government ineffective as it is unable to pay workers’ salaries. This has attracted criticism from some loyalists of El-Rufai, saying that Governor Uba Sani is ungrateful for what his godfather did to him by standing by him to become a senator and later the governor of Kaduna state.

The State Chairlady of APC Women wing accused Governor Uba Sani of betrayal of their mentor, El-Rufai, who graciously stood by him in achieving his political ambition of becoming a senator and later governor of Kaduna state.

The son of the former governor, Malam Bashir Nasir El-Rufai, in a veiled reference to the governor’s claims, said that Governor Uba Sani was only trying to cover up his administration’s incompetence. He alleged that Governor Sani had “deflected” from his responsibilities and abandoned his obligation as governor.

Governor Uba Sani, who is in his first term, is expected to seek a second term, will exploit any opportunity to prove the point that he has come of age and does not need any godfather to offer him the governorship seat in 2027.

It remains to be seen who blinks first in the fight set in motion by the core loyalists of the former number one citizen of Kaduna state and his godson, who is now in charge. In fact, El-Rufai frustrated the ambition of many people like Suleiman Hunkuyi, and others too numerous to mention in this piece, because of the ordinate ambition of his godson who was elected as a senator and now governor.

Many people may shrug off the rift between Governor Uba Sani and El-Rufai, but the reality is that the fight is real and a lot of such fights have occurred since the inception of this political dispensation.

Usman Santuraki,

No 2, Santuraki Close, Demsawo,

Jimeta, Yola, Adamawa state 


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