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Between El-Rufai and Shehu Sani

On Saturday July 1, 2017, Nagarta Radio Kaduna carried an interactive session between Senator Shehu Sani and some journalists. From the comments of Sani, it…

On Saturday July 1, 2017, Nagarta Radio Kaduna carried an interactive session between Senator Shehu Sani and some journalists. From the comments of Sani, it is obvious that his relationship with Nasiru El-Rufai, Governor of Kaduna State, is getting out of hand. My expectation that sooner than later some political elders or eminent Nigerians would embark on reconciliation of our political gladiators with a view to promoting  political inclusiveness as a strategy of saving the society from the violence of political supporters  and the destruction of the two major political parties  was dashed . It has been rightly observed that politics is too important to be left in the hands of politicians.

Readers may recall how the crisis in the People’s Redemption Party (PRP) made life miserable for many residents of Kano, some of whom were not even interested in party politics, in the Second Republic. The movement of charismatic Abubakar Rimi and his Santsi supporters out of the party to Nigeria People’s Party (NPP) where he contested the gubernatorial election did not help matters. Also, residents of Kaduna  narrowly escaped violence of unimaginable proportion when the Kaduna State House of Assembly controlled by the National Party of Nigeria ( NPN) impeached the governor, Alhaji Balarabe  Musa, of  the PRP which had mass appeal because of its pro- poor ideological inclination. Equally important, the movement of Akin Omoborio faction of the Unity Party of Nigeria (UPN) to NPN where he contested the gubernatorial election led to the loss of hundreds of lives in Ondo State .Whoever says that party politics is only for politicians is living in Jupiter or Mars, not in Nigeria where human life has been cheapened and every trivial issue can provoke violence. There are two major political flash points in the North; Kano and Kaduna. My next piece, hopefully, will be on Kano.

Sani observed correctly that the crisis in his party started in Kaduna and spread to Kano and Kogi. He went further to observe that if the trend is not checked it will spread to other states and will be very difficult to contain. Unfortunately, officials of the two parties appear helpless. There should be a time when politicians must close ranks and address the problems of the nation beyond the political divide because there has to be a country before a politician can play his game, no matter how good he is at the game.  It is time we take political engineering, or more appropriately, political development seriously. The latter has been defined by Iain McLean and Alistair McMillan as: ‘’The development of the institutions , attitudes, and values that form the political power system of a society…constitutional order and political stability attained through the formation of a settled framework of government , reliable procedures for leadership succession … political development means not just institutional reform but changes  in attitudes and the political culture. That places limits on how far political development can be imported or imposed from without…political development is neither linear nor  irreversible; not all countries are experiencing it, and some endure periods of political decline and decay, while a few suffer terminal breakdown.’’ 

Imagine El-Rufai and Sani working together harmoniously, with a good blueprint of transforming Kaduna in the image of Dubai.  I am concerned about them working together because as a Kaduna State stakeholder, I believe we stand to benefit immensely from their unity. Surely, they will transform Kaduna State because they are all courageous, knowledgeable and very passionate about public good. The challenge of taking Kaduna to, not its past glory, but a modern 21 century city goes beyond party politics. It requires an enduring system run by enlightened and focused modernising elite. The two fit perfectly into this role.

I know Shehu Sani for over ten years when he and Uba Sani were frequenting our Media Trust office in Kaduna for their pro-democracy activities. It is quite interesting how Shehu Sani has been developing himself from a physical democracy activist to an intellectual. He comes across as an adventurous reader which is reflected in his speeches.

I have never met El-Rufai. But he has earned my respect because of his passion for public good. This he combines with capacity to walk his talk. Any mistake he makes, for me, can be pardoned because as one of the America’s presidents said,”If perfection is the standard, nobody will be American President”.

Broadly, this piece is more about ELITE CANCER in Nigeria called ego which has retarded the progress of the country. It is responsible for intra-party crisis, emergence of political dissident groups, cabals and the notorious Pull Him Down syndrome (negative PHD).

In the case of Kaduna state, it is the responsibility of El-Rufai to create an inclusive government because he holds the ace card. He is the governor. He is to carry people along, not the other way round. Conflicts are inevitable in human society especially amongst elite by virtue of their education, achievements and ambitions. But the conflicts must be moderated to ensure the survival and progress of the society especially Kaduna, by virtue of its history and strategic position. 

There is a lot to learn from the politics of inclusiveness of Barack Obama, former American president. When he contested the primary election of the Democratic Party with Hilary Clinton , she said many damaging things about him, but when he ultimately became the president he made her Secretary of State , the highest political appointment in the country , and later supported her to contest the last presidential election on the platform of  the Democratic Party which she lost to Donald Trump of the  Republican Party.                                                                                     

Maitama Sule: Always a teacher

He started teaching in 1948, remained a teacher all his life, and died two days ago as a teacher. He did a good job with the good voice, knowledge and power of oratory Allah gave him. He knew he was not going to live forever. Therefore, Alhaji Maitama Sule, Danmasanin Kano, seized every opportunity to tell people how they were brought into government at young age and groomed to succeed the generation of Sir Ahmadu Bello Sardauna. He will then proceed to tell you what he learnt from them so that, as Hausa people will say, the fire will not be extinguished “in his hands”. As a learned person, he knew that stories are not just for fun but for reflection. This is why God tells us many stories in the Quran and the Bible, sometimes with a follow up question: Can’t you reflect?

Apart from his willingness to share knowledge, one other outstanding quality of Danmasani was his generosity with praise. He always perceived the good side of people and says it publicly without envy. In fact, it was obvious that the praises were flowing from a clean heart, free from malice. Not even once did I hear him condemning anybody. Whenever he wanted to make a correction or observation, he did it constructively.

The only time I had the privilege to meet Danmasani was at his residence in Kano. He declined my request for interview as a journalist, but suggested, in his typical kindness, that we could discuss and I was free to ask any question, off record. It was a great moment for me. I learnt a lot, most of which I will carry to my grave because of their sensitive nature.  If you find this tribute flowing, it is certainly because it is from the heart, the exact place where Maitama Sule touched me.

My condolence goes to Aminu Jamo who Danmasani accepted as a son. May Allah be pleased with him and admit him to Aljanna firdausi. He lived a fruitful life for himself and humanity. He used intelligent humor to impart knowledge. A good man has gone home. The fire was not extinguished “in his hands”. It will also not be extinguished in our hands, in the name of God, the Beneficent, the Merciful.

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