Sen. Shehu Sani, North Star On New Mission?

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Sen. Shehu Sani.

By Ikeddy Isiguzo

Senator Shehu Sani’s contributions to national commentaries that gained more national traction during his four-year spell at the Senate would soon be shredded if the thrusts of his narratives keep tilting towards serving Bola Ahmed Tinubu, in the North.

We are told that he is not serving Tinubu – he is saving Nigeria. It is clear he is not saving us from Tinubu.

In ancient times, navigators and travellers used the North Star as a way to determine their location and navigate the seas. The North Star survived the circumstances of those times. It is still a symbol of hope and direction, a moral compass, guiding people towards worthy causes.

Decades ago when the military clamped human rights activists in jail for suggesting a return to civil rule, Sani was one of the victims in a circle dominated by the South. Sani was a North Star.

He shone brightly. He was duly rewarded with a jail term in Yola Prisons, the same time Olusegun Obasanjo was there on allegations of planning to push General Sani Abacha off his cherished throne. He was sentenced to life imprisonment.

Only Abacha’s sudden demise saved him.

Before Yola, he had been incarcerated in Kirikiri, Aba, Port Hacourt, Kaduna, and Enugu. He suffered for democracy more than the many who wear togas that proclaim they chased the military away.

This month marks the 31st anniversary of his detention by General Ibrahim Babangida. His offence was advocating for the re-validation of the June 12 election. He was charged before a magistrate court for sedition. General Sani Abacha also charged him for sedition and running an unregistered organisation, Campaign for Democracy, which he was the Co-ordinator in Northern Nigeria, and a national Vice-President.

The journey to Yola Prisons was the climax of his brushes with the military governments’ application of the law. He survived.

An indication of Sani’s honesty that he is among a few to list “politician” as a profession, though, he studied agricultural engineering and is well admired for his quiet philanthropy which gets directly to the masses. The civil rights activist is also an author, publisher, and poet.

His 13 books, two plays, and three poems about the the masses, the poor, society’s down-trodden, and how they could be treated better. He has been known to defend the rights of the disadvantaged.

What then is the most recent buzzes about Sani, once a member of the All Progressives Congress (APC), he won the Senate seat in 2015? Nasir el-Rufai, former Kaduna State governor, saw to it that Sani was not re-elected. Sani is currently a member of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

His support for Tinubu has been described as a pathway to returning to more political relevance. Politicians have their way.

Sani last April stated that Tinubu, “Knows what to do with power, Buhari doesn’t know what to do with power”.
Said he: “So change comes with a price, change comes with hardship, change comes with suffering. Two main decisions he has taken economically, which is to float the Naira and also withdrawal of subsidy. These are all big gambles because they lead to inflation and hunger in the land and these problems which we are faced with”.

Sani must have realised the consequences of the economic hardships. He wants the public to be patient with Tinubu and vote him for another term. He may know what Tinubu is planning to manage the hunger and insecurity in the land.

He is keeping it to himself. “So change comes with a price, change comes with hardship, change comes with suffering”, Sani advises the rest of us.

Sani is more than ready to bare his chest for any bullets, especially if they are against the 2027 electoral victory of the President. His decision is based on equity or so it seems.

If Muhammadu Buhari had two terms, Sani argues, the North should understand that Tinubu should have two terms. Sani was reacting to Northern politicians who visited Buhari. He said they were rallying round to take over from Tinubu in 2027.

Is it not too early to be discussing 2027? What does Sani have to say about the hunger and insecurity in the land? Is Tinubu’s second term more important than the “security and welfare of the people” which the Constitution states “is the primary purpose of government”? How dares Sani skip three years of uncertainties to discuss 2027 while the people wallow in distress?

Sani’s heightening backing of Tinubu has a personal interest. It may not be hunger in the form of financial gains or political power. The Sani we know can do without both. He is a man of few needs, and fewer needs in the directions most minds would go.

It is more about Sani seeing el-Rufai punished for disrupting his political career. Even if he does not return to the Senate, Sani would be glad to see el-Rufai in political wilderness forever. He can commit anything to it.

But is the brawl with el-Rufai worth committing a relationship with Tinubu which could trample on the core of his politics, defence of the poor? The fight is not lost on the el-Rufai, whose foul-mouthed son has already referred to Sani as “ex-human rights activist”. The intention is to strip Sani off any claims to being on the side of the people, or for the people.

Could there be more to a 2024 visit to Buhari rankling Sani to the point that all he could see is a rallying for 2027? He should address this for his own sake.

Sani provided a partial answer. Tinubu was among those who encouraged him to join politics and contest election if the military left power. He could be telling us he has to be grateful for Tinubu’s role in his life.

He may also be ready to be known as “an ex-human rights activist” if that sees to Tinubu’s second term.

What a small price to pay!

Finally…
Nigeria is already about 2027 with three years to the next elections. Senate President Dr. Godswill Akpabio, has made the uncommon decision of awarding President Bola Ahmed Tinubu a second term. “I have no doubt that by the time this President is through with his tenure in office, seven years from today, many people won’t recognise FCT, they won’t recognise Nigeria. So, all I can say is that let us continue to pray for him and be hopeful that the challenges you see today, you will see them no more”. Akpabio delights in saying “uncommon” things unconcerned with how they erode the elevated seat he occupies. With the much we have seen, we are concerned about the next three years. Akpabio has moved ahead. Is he telling us that Tinubu would need no election to be President in 2027?

Did Nigeria sign an agreement, Samoa Agreement, with the European Union to give legal approvals for homosexuality, and other pervasities that would eclipse our cultures under the guise of personal liberties? There are suggestions that the agreement was for Nigeria to gain economic supports worth $150 billion. I would return to this next week.

United Kingdom held its general elections on Thursday. The next day the results were out, the defeated Prime Minister has left his office and official residence. Cabinet Ministers are already appointed. What excuses did UK give for its sustained speed in deciding elections? Are people forbidden to approach the courts? Can’t they rig, start fights and snatch ballot boxes? Did the security agencies deploy helicopters, gun-boats, and armed tankers to maintain peaceful elections? There must be explanations for these anomalies.

Insecurity has not abated a bit. Stories are still told of whole households being kidnapped, villages displaced and the killings and destruction of farms limit food production. Governments should pay attention to this.

Nyesom Wike, Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, that FCT Senator Ireti Kingibe, who he mocks publicly, is 70, almost old enough to birth Wike, 56. The threat to ensure that Kingibe is not re-elected in 2027, issues from Wike’s power-drunkeness, and the belief that he is the Almighty.

Isiguzo is a major commentator on minor issues.

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