Northern Nigerian Breaking News

ANALYSIS: Inside the supremacy battle, cold war between El-Rufai and Uba Sani

The word ‘godfather’ has different meanings to different people. In Nigerian politics, a godfather is a ‘big boss’ that maintains political control of a territory by ensuring that either he or his self-chosen appointees are elected to govern such areas.

READ ALSO: El-Rufai left $587m, N85bn debts, 115 contract liabilities for us – Gov Sani

They include the rich and political influencers who contribute to campaign funds of some candidates with the aim of winning elections. Over the years, Nigeria’s political godfathers are those that build loyalists around themselves and use their influence to manipulate the rest of society. Sometimes, they block the participation of others within their political sphere and dictate party candidates.

These godfathers in most cases become powerful due to the important leadership positions they hold or have held, their wealth, and their ability to mobilise grassroots support, amongst others.

In Kaduna, the last is yet to be heard about the controversy surrounding the failure of former Kaduna state governor, Nasir el-Rufai to secure ministerial position. As Governor Uba Sani and his predecessor are currently engaged in a subtle supremacy battle following the ministerial nomination, the governor on Saturday claimed that el-Rufai left multi-million dollars debts and 115 contract liabilities for the state.

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While el-Rufai is yet to officially react to the allegations, his son, Bashir el-Rufai accused the Sani of shying away from his responsibility by always staying away from the state and hibernating in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Abuja. He added that instead of admitting its incompetence, the Uba Sani administration has resorted to deflect by raising alarm on a debt burden inherited from Governor El-Rufai’s administration.

SolaceBase understands that el-Rufai failed attempts to become a minister has a lot to do with 2027 and 2031 politics as the former governor as some stakeholders within the rulling All Progressives Congress (APC) believe that a national platform like the ministerial appointment would help him to consolidate his ambition of vying for presidential position. 

READ ALSO: ”Stop displaying incompetence, face governance”- El-Rufai’s son lambast Kaduna governor

Having failed to secured ministerial position, the ex-governor nomination Jafaru Ibrahim Sani, a commissioner in three ministries in Kaduna State, namely Local Government, Education and Environment, while el-Rufai was governor as his replacement. 

Not pleased with this, Governor Sani rushed back from a trip to London to inform President Bola Tinubu at the State House that he was not in agreement with Jafaru Sani as the replacement minister for el-Rufai from Kaduna, said sources familiar with the conversation. The governor was said to have considered his authority undermined by his predecessor when he was not allowed to make the nomination.

On August 20, 2023, el-Rufai, in a post on his X handle said his ministerial loss was a result of betrayal. In the social media platform on that day, the ex-governor posted a reggae hit song, “Who The Cap Fits,” by late Boy Marley, who laments that a friend who knows your secrets, eats and drinks with you is more dangerous than an enemy.

After the ministerial saga, Uba Sani, who benefitted from several akward political arrangements by el-Rufai, has since assumption of office on May 29, 2023 tried to reverse some of his predecessor’s past policies, especially those that had led mutual distrust and violence among citizens of the state, especially the conflict between North and South Kaduna. He has since adopted a “Makarfi Option,” a coinage after ex-Governor Ahmed Makarfi who governed the state between 2007 to 2015 and ran an inclusive administration. 

READ ALSO: Debt politics in Kaduna State- Abubakar Jiddah Usman

In a bid to achieve ensure that people are on his side, Sani started carrying out popular policies such as reduction of prohibitive school fees in all government schools and setting up of an all-inclusive committee comprising workers and persons with disability under the leadership of local government chairmen to target 1.5 million houses in the first instance.

On Friday, Dec. 8 2023, el-Rufai paid a condolence visit to victims of the mistaken drone bomb attack in Tudun Biri, Igabi Local Government Council of Kaduna state without Uba Sani.

Meanwhile,  the governor has said despite the debt left behind by el-Rufai, the key priority areas of his government include safety and security, housing, education, healthcare, and support for Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs). He said his government would also prioritise inclusive development by investing in human capital, stimulating the economy, and providing affordable housing.


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