Senator Shehu Sani of Kaduna Central Senatorial District has urged the All Progressives Congress to penalise Gov. Nasir el-Rufai for allegedly leaking to reporters a memo he wrote to President Muhammadu Buhari.
Sani alleged that el-Rufai deliberately leaked the document to garner public sympathy for the governor’s alleged presidential ambition.
El-Rufai had in a memo to Buhari, dated September 22, 2016, reportedly criticised the President and the APC for performing low in governance while he also condemned the appointment of persons who were not familiar with the programme of the administration.
According to the governor, his warning became necessary as his political fortune was tied to that of Buhari.
El-Rufai said, “Poll after poll in Kaduna State, before and after the 2015 elections, clearly show that my fate, politically and otherwise, is uncannily tied to yours. If you do well, I stand to benefit immensely. If you do not do well, sir, whatever I try to do in Kaduna matters little to my present and any future political trajectory.
“There is a perception that your ministers, some of whom are competent and willing to make real contributions, have no clear mandate, instructions and access to you.
Ministers are constitutional creations, Mr. President, and it is an aberration that they are expected to report to the Chief of Staff (Mr. Abba Kyari) on policy matters.”
El-Rufai called on Buhari to communicate constantly with Nigerians, so they would know the plans of his government.
The governor acknowledged that a cabal was working hard to alienate the President from those who worked hard to secure his victory during the 2015 election.
But Sani, in an Instagram post, said it was ironic that el-Rufai, who he said could not take constructive criticism, had the audacity to criticise the President.
The lawmaker described el-Rufai as “disloyal and disrespectful” for criticising the President and the ruling party.
He said, “The governor is entitled to his opinion and perception, but the contradiction and irony of it are basically two: First is that he accused me of being disloyal and disrespectful to the President and the party for speaking out my mind, and now he has done his own cunningly by criticising the President and the party, disguised it as a memo and leaked it out to the press. That also qualified him as disloyal and disrespectful. The difference is that mine is blunt while his own is dubious.
“Second, for all the issues he raised against the President, his own is worst in his space of governance, whether it’s the existence of cabal or politics of exclusion or incompetence or public perception. The difference is that the President is tolerant of criticism and alternative views.”
Sani recalled that el-Rufai recently said the senator was in the habit of criticising him because the lawmaker purportedly wanted to be governor of Kaduna.
“That means, logically, he is now leaking (the) memo to dust popular sympathy and carve an image of ‘a competent alternative’ to Baba (Buhari).
“Those who care to know about my little history know that I don’t call a spade a pestle or a spoon. The governor always recommends that our party should punish me for criticising him.
Now that he has fired a cruise missile at the President through a deliberately leaked memo, he should also be treated same. If our able party chair will give me five strokes of the cane for speaking out, the governor should be given thrice that for ‘leaking out.’
“It’s often said that (one should) look at the message and not the messenger, but there are times that you can only decipher the message by looking at the messenger.”
The senator, in a statement made available to the News Agency of Nigeria, advised Buhari to be cautious, saying, “He who keeps a scorpion in his pocket must always watch his groin and he who inherits a cobra should know that it’s not a pet.”