21 January 2018

Nigeria: 2019 - APC Chairpersons Reject Party's Senator, Endorse Opponent

The chairpersons of the All Progressives Congress, APC, in the six local governments that make up Kaduna Central Senatorial district have endorsed a rival candidate as senator for the zone.

The district is currently represented in the Senate by Shehu Sani, an activist and member of the APC. Mr. Sani has had a running battle with the governor, Nasir El-Rufai.

Rising from a meeting in Kaduna on Saturday, the APC chairmen endorsed a political adviser to Mr. El-Rufai, Uba Sani, for the ticket, come 2019.

The six local governments whose APC leaders endorsed the endorsement are Chikun, Birnin Gwari, Kajuru, Kaduna North, Kaduna South and Giwa.

Reading a communique after the meeting, the APC chairman of Kaduna North Local Government Area, Musa Sheriff, said that their decision was based on the positive contributions by Uba Sani to the affected local governments including securing jobs for the youth.

"The governor's adviser has secured thousands of job opportunities for youth in the state through newly-created agencies like KASTLEA, KADIPA, etc. He has also secured employment for our teaming youth as forest rangers, sanitation workers and so many empowerment programmes.

"He has also secured jobs for hundreds of our teeming youth under the National Directorate of Employment (NDE). He was also instrumental to disbursement of support funds through various Anchor Borrowers Scheme under the Agricultural Intervention Programme," Mr. Sheriff said.

Also speaking to PREMIUM TIMES, Mr. Sheriff further justified the decision.

"Indeed we all agree to endorse Uba and that is because we deem him best for the seat come 2019."

When asked why they dumped the current senator knowing fully that he might want to seek reelection, Mr. Sherrif said, "I want you to know that the current senator is still not pardoned by the party and technically he is not recognised as a member of the party in Kaduna."

The Kaduna South APC chairman, Ibrahim Magaji, also told PREMIUM TIMES that the leaders took the decision unanimously.

"It is a unanimous decision. We all agree that Uba should contest for the senate seat in 2019," Mr. Magaji said.

Uba Sani had earlier told PREMIUM TIMES that he would announce his political intentions to the public soon.

"I will speak out about my intentions at the right time," Mr. Uba said.

When PREMIUM TIMES contacted an aide to the incumbent senator, Shehu Sani, he said the senator's camp will respond to the decision of the party chairmen at the appropriate time.

"We cannot respond to them now," Chima Abdussamad said. "Because this is not the time to start campaigning for political seats or positions."

"The Nigerian constitution is clear and as law abiding citizens, we will wait until the right time as stated in the electoral act that campaigns should start.

"But as far as we are concerned, they are only speaking for themselves not for the people of their constituencies. When the time for campaigns and elections come, we shall see," Mr. Abdussamad said.

Also, some APC members from Kaduna North have distanced themselves from the stance of the party chairpersons. In a radio broadcast in Kaduna, which was also made available to PREMIUM TIMES, the party members said they were not in support of the decision.

"They are on their own. We as party members and loyalists were not consulted before the decision was taken.

"As far as we are concern we are not aware of what they did and we stand by what we have for now."

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