The Senator representing Kaduna Central Senatorial District, Shehu Sani, says the relationship between him and Governor Nasir el-Rufai broke down as a result of ideological differences.
In an exclusive interview with Vanguard, Sani blamed the governor for the breakdown in their long relationship, accusing him of pursuing policies to drive away the poor and the less privileged from the state as opposed to his welfarist and progressive disposition.
“Well, it is my wish that we work together for the betterment of Kaduna State, our party and Nigeria. But it is the governor that is working against me. I was not his favourite candidate for the Senate but I defeated his candidate in the primary election. But when I won the Senate and he won the governorship election, I came to discover two things.
“We have ideological differences. He is from the political right and I am from the political left. He is a core conservative capitalist, who believes in capitalism and I believe in the progressive, welfarist, leftist and idealistic system. So, that is where we differ.
“Again, after we had won the election and it came to sharing positions, he sidelined me and gave the power to the man I defeated in the election, who was his preferred choice. By so doing, he has clearly appointed someone who he is grooming to fight me.
“Let me say that if you are doing this politically and amassing troops and an army close to where I am standing, I don’t want to wait for you to fire the first shot. That is the situation of things,” the senator said.
Sani also accused El-Rufai of taking “wrong steps” and vowed not to support him in carrying them through because of his love for the down-trodden.
“Look, let me tell you the governor has taken some steps which are wrong. He banned beggars from the streets but they are back, he banned hawkers but they are back on the streets, he started demolishing houses but was forced to discontinue because the people rose up against him and many other anti-people policies.
“So, if all these things were good, they could have been sustained. But beggars are people you cannot ban in Kaduna because they are a social problem created by the capitalist system in which people like El-Rufai have been living their lives and propagating.
“More unfortunately, El Rufai gave the beggars no alternatives of where to relocate to or start a new life in his bid to flush them off the streets. He has an agenda, which I don’t support.
“He wants to do away with beggars and destitute and plant flowers and build amusement parks in Kaduna and that is not the way to solve problem.
“The governor wants to give a false image of good life and sanity in Kaduna to make it appear that everybody is rich and living comfortably because there are no beggars and hawkers on the streets when in reality they have only been pushed out to go and suffer somewhere else.
“But my position is that they must remain on the street until their issues are addressed. As far as I am concerned, the beggars need to be chasing after us, the rich people, knocking our windshields of our vehicles and constantly remind us that things are not well in our land,” the senator said.
El-Rufai did not dignify Sani’s claims with a response. According to his Chief Press Secretary, Samuel Aruwan, the governor was too occupied with more important issues than discussing the issues raised.