By Abdul Musa
The successor of governor Nasir el-rufai’s of Kaduna state after his
first tenure is yet to come to the fore. However, what is clear is
that el-rufai will face an uphill task in his re-election bid, worst
still he might lose out completely. This assertion is not debatable.
Whatever chances el-rufai and his cohorts think they have, has been
completely eroded by mounting catalogue of unfulfilled promises and
unnecessary controversies that has been the signpost of their
administration in the last two years.
In just too years, el-rufai has tactlessly attracted enemies on major
fronts such as his tactless approach to the Southern Kaduna conflict,
the Shiah affair and the manner in which he has frustrated members of
his All Progressives Congress APC and a considerable chunk of
political stakeholders in the state by refusing to refresh the party
structure and not allowing local government elections.
He also demonstrateds lack of respect for traditional institutions
which are the custodians of culture that help in maintaining the
delicate balance for peaceful coexistence of diverse cultural and
religious identities in the state. An instance was when he insisted
on cutting down on the number of district heads after refusing to pay
their wages for many months.
El-rufai also insisted on a drastic cut in the workforce of the state
civil service, by deliberately subletting most of its statutory
functions to consultants who he hired from outside the state at
alleged high costs and awarding contacts to cronies at supposedely
Furthermore, in just two years, el-rufai has ridden roughshod with
Kaduna workers coupled with his poor handling of youth unemployment
and abandoning projects midway such as the deceptive school feeding
programme, road construction in the metropolis, drainages construction
across the state after all the culverts were dug thereby exposing the
metropolis to impending flood.
Worse of all, el-rufai has needlessly dragged himself into a losing
battle with President Muhammadu Buhari’s kitchen cabinet by his
controversial 30-page memo which tended to discredit the entire
Having realized that he lost out in the Presidency, el-Rufai sought
the assistance of an elder statesman, Alhaji Sani Zangon Daura, who
happens to enjoy good rapport with the President to help him patch up,
and the elder statesman obliged him, only for him to get disappointed
with el-Rufai, who, after seeing the president during one of the
Jumu’at prayers, continued castigating the same people working with
the president, because he realizes it is over for his plots. This is
in addition to his renewed confrontation with APC leaders and elders
such as the former President Olusegun Obasanjo, his Vice Atiku
Abubakar and Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, Senate President Abubakar
Bukola Saraki and the entire Senator’s from the three districts of the
Resulting from his tactless approach in dealings with the presidency,
feelers from the villa have indicated that there is high level moves
to draft Sani Shaaban into the race of the governorship in 2019,
Shaaban has been with President Buhari since 2003 and there was never
a time he deviated from the norms and principles of the president.
Therefore, the consensus is that come 2019, Shaaban will likely be the
sole candidate of the party in the state.
Solutions to these mountains of problems require expert hands of a
well grounded grassroots politician with genuine intentions to carry
the people along and serve them seflessly. Sampled opinions across
the political and religious divides in the state show that people are
earnestly searching for a viable political leader who has what it
takes to move the state out of the current cesspool of political
The general consesus from Sanga to Ikara suggests a burning desire for
a new leader who knows the peculiarities and intricate nature of
Kaduna indigenes and who is acceptable in all the three major
senatorial zones of the state.
This is why perhaps as 2019 approaches elrufai with this baggage of
problems, those who traditionally tune the politics of Kaduna state
have already marked him as disposable garbage and are thinking of
replacing him with Sani Mohammed Shaaban, who they believe to be a
reliably tested and trusted person with all the qualities required for
meaningful growth-driven leadership.
And it is also perhaps why out of the many names being taunted as
likely successors, the one currently giving el-rufai the most
nightmares is that of Shaaban, the newly crowned Danburam of Zazzau
who certainly is no novice in Kaduna State politics.
Sampling different opinions from across the three senatorial zones of
the state showed that from Zone 1, where Sani Shaaban hails from,
being a title holder, he also enjoys considerable support from all the
local governments of the zone. Hajiya Saratu Aliyu, a woman leader
from Ikara local government, said that, even though Shaaban has not
formally declared his interest to contest in 2019, they have since
started mobilizing people in the local government to support his
candidature when the time comes, as, according to her, they are tired
of deception and lack of goodwill from the present government.
In Zone 2, the hotbed of Kaduna politics, it is noted that leaders of
various pressure groups, comprising youths and women, including
notable party stakeholders have started realignment and are
strategically meeting to actualize the change of governance in the
state. The leader of Mandate Group, Sanusi Abubakar Badarawa said
their political journey with Shaaban transcends politics to
brotherhood, hence, they are working tirelessly to see that their
dreams come to fruition in 2019. Abubakar added that they are not
going to be bothered whether Shaaban is contesting in APC or another
party, what they are after is for him to signify his intention in any
party he deems fit.
For one, he is favoured as the best positioned to restore the
integrity of the traditions, cultural and religions institutions of
the state. For another, he is known to be relating harmoniousness
with all the three aggrieved Senators and all party members while
always at home with the electorate, he added.
In the Southern Zone, Shaaban, whose former running mate, Late Joel
Kwasau Giwa hailed from, Shaaban has a robust relationships with
virtually all the traditional and religious institutions in the zone,
because since he picked Kwasau Giwa in 2007, till the day he died,
there has never been a time they disagreed openly, this particular
feat and goodwill he exudes, including extending hands of fellowship,
by identifying with them anytime there is an occasion to it, has
earned Shaaban considerable respect and trust among the diverse
cultural people of Zone 3.
Coupled with the fact that the current crisis has again, opened
another remarkable vista for Shaaban, as the general consensus in the
zone is that, had it been Shaaban is the governor, all that is
happening would not have occurred because of this good rapport and
understanding with all the stakeholders in the crisis from the zone
because a good conflict resolving mechanism would have been deployed
to nip the crisis in its bud.
Bagobiri, who is the Chairman, Southern Kaduna Christian Elders
Association, said Governor el-Rufai “unabashedly takes sides with the
armed herdsmen, thereby failing in his responsibility as a true
statesman, becoming, therefore, a biased umpire who blames and
criminalizes southern Kaduna victims as the cause of the mayhem.”
Being an elder in the zone, Bagobiri has spoken the minds of people
across the zone.
Shaaban has earlier made two remarkable attempts for the Kaduna
governorship which he literally won but practically lost to the then
formidable People’s Democratic Party PDP rigging machinery.
Shaaban is well read as after graduating from Ahmadu Bello University,
Zaria, he attended the London School of Accountancy and further
obtained a Certificate in Financial Administration from South West
A successful international businessman for over twenty years, an
industrialist to reckon with, Shaaban is today a major employer of
labour in Kaduna State and Nigeria through his many companies which
provide job opportunities to the teeming neglected youths that roam
the streets and become ready tools for use as political thugs.
Shaaban’s business acumen and sagacity has enabled him to chair chains
of flourishing companies across the country and making him director in
many major international companies and investment firms from Europe to
Asia doing business in Nigeria.
Politically, Shaaban is a foundation member of the All Nigeria Peoples
Party (ANPP) in Kaduna State; he along with the Suleiman Zuntu and
late Col. Nyiam where the first set that brought ANPP to Kaduna state.
A former member of the Nigerian House of Representatives that
represented Sabon Gari Zaria up to 2007, he knows the political
terrain of Kaduna very well. He was Chairman, House of Representatives
committee on Pension and member of the following House of
Representatives committees: Petroleum Resources, Science and
Technology, Public Accounts.
Even the issue of youth empowerment, the basis which el-Rufai
mobilised the Kaduna youth to get into office, he introduced Kaduna
Transport Regulatory Authority and employed many youths who are now
roaming the streets without salaries. He instructed them to generate
revenue for themselves in a state that has very low economic
In the health sector, the sorry state of hospitals in Kaduna state is
appalling, A visit to Barau Dikko Teaching Hospital will suffice
enough evidence to come to reality that all is not well with Kaduna
Upon all these disturbing trends pervading Kaduna state and the
agitations for viable and trusted person to challenge el-Rufai in
2019, Sani Shaaban has not indicated any interest for now, but feelers
from both within the state and outside, including the seat of power in
Abuja are of the view that Shaaban will be dragged to into the contest
Musa contributed this piece from Ungwar Rimi, Kaduna State.