The Senator representing Kaduna Central Senatorial District on the platform of All Progressives Congress, APC, Shehu Sani has disclosed that he dropped his governorship ambition for Kaduna State after party chieftains pressed him to step down for the incumbent, Governor Nasir el-Rufai because he was President Muhammadu Buhari’s preferred candidate.
Speaking on Friday, the senator revealed that his present rift with Governor el-Rufai is purely ideological.
Sani, who made these views known when he paid a courtesy visit to the corporate head office of LEADERSHIP newspaper, yesterday, revealed that he stepped down for el-Rufai for the gubernatorial ticket of the APC due to pressures from politicians and stakeholders in the state, who declared that el-Rufai was the preferred candidate of President Buhari.
He said: “For the first time, let me tell you some background issues in the political divide in Kaduna. I never intended to contest for the Senate; I wanted to contest for the governorship and I opened offices in Zaria, Kaduna and Kafanchan, and later there was pressure on me that I should step down. Politicians came to meet me; that I should step down and allow el-Rufai to contest because they said he was the favourite of the president.
“I pulled back and said I wanted to contest for the Senate, but there was a sitting senator, General Saleh, and I had to evict him during the primary election. And I told them in black and white that I didn’t have money to give any delegate, and if they feel OK with my principles, then let them vote for me, but if my principles are not right for them, let them go and vote for the same person (that was occupying the seat); and they voted for me and I removed an incumbent senator. So I didn’t contest against a vacuum”.
According to Sani, when he got the senate ticket, there were two major candidates in the Kaduna gubernatorial race, el-Rufai and Isa Ashiru, and all the two had their senatorial candidates; the former FCT minister was rooting for General Saleh while Ashiru was with Sani Suleiman, and one other Sadiq Lagos.
He said: “I did not have any gubernatorial candidate as far as I was concerned, and I now thrashed the candidate of el-Rufai and Isa Ashiru. The el-Rufai that won the gubernatorial ticket in Kaduna won it with 1,000 and something votes and I won one senatorial zone with 920 votes. In three senatorial zone he got 1,600; I alone got 920 votes.
“If I had contested the governorship, there was no way that I wouldn’t have emerged; it’s not possible. So I sacrificed that and I contested the Senate and I won. Reports going on in the media is on the surface”.