The All Progressives Congress (APC) and one of its leaders have been reacting to the exit of a senator, Shehu Sani, from the ruling party.
Another senator, Ben Murray-Bruce, has also reacted to the sudden resignation of the vocal senator, alleging his colleague was deceived by the ruling party.
PREMIUM TIMES reported how Mr Sani, who represents Kaduna Central in the Senate, announced his exit from the ruling party on Saturday.
Mr. Sani announced his resignation from the APC in a letter to his party’s ward chairman.
“I present to you my highest compliments and wish by this communication to formally offer you my resignation from the APC. I had joined the APC and remained with it against all odds in the belief that it will constitute a veritable platform for the realisation of those democratic ideals which I hold very dear.
“I joined in the belief that honour and integrity will be the ultimate ethos of the party and most importantly, that internal democracy will always be the norm,” the lawmaker wrote in the letter.
PREMIUM TIMES learnt that Mr Sani’s resignation was mainly because his name was substituted with that of an aide to Governor Nasir El-Rufai for the Kaduna Central senatorial ticket. The APC headquarters had initially named Mr Sani as the sole candidate for the ticket, a move frowned at by the governor and his supporters who called for primaries.
Reacting to Mr Sani’s exit, the APC in a statement signed by its National Publicity Secretary, Lanre Issa-Onilu said, “We received the news of the alleged defection of Senator Shehu Sani through media reports.
“The party leadership will relate with all the facts concerning the reported defection and react appropriately in due course.”
In his reaction, the National Welfare Secretary of the APC, Ibrahim Masari, said, “The party is in a dilemma, facing a critical situation with APC governors over control and imposition of candidates. But we’re doing our best to break the monopoly.”
Mr Masari, who spoke on BBC Hausa programme, said the exit of Mr Sani is “a great loss to the party.”
“But there’s nothing we can do; we have tried everything possible to help get Mr. Sani a return ticket but failed.”
The APC leader also suggested that Mr Sani did not help his cause by boycotting a controversial APC primary for his senatorial district.
“Also Senator Sani has not been fair enough to himself and the party, because when the senatorial primary was holding, we told him to attained but he refused.
“There’s no way we can help you when while the election is taking place in Kaduna, as a contestant. you stay in Abuja. There’s nothing we can do because your presence in Kaduna matters,” Mr Masari said.
PREMIUM TIMES reported how Mr Sani boycotted the controversial primary saying the APC headquarters had not approved of it and he remained the sole candidate of the party for the senatorial district. Instead, the senator attended the presidential convention of the APC in Abuja which held at about the same time the Kaduna senatorial primary held.
On Sunday, Mr. Murray-Bruce of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) said the APC tricked Mr. Sani with ‘deceptive’ offer of automatic ticket to keep him in the party.
“Dear Shehu Sani, APC never intended to give you their ticket. They played you right from Aso Rock,” the opposition lawmaker wrote on his Twitter handle.
“The game was to give you the impression you had an automatic ticket in order to keep you in the APC till it was too late to substitute names at INEC”, he wrote.
For Reno Omokri, a former aide to ex-President Goodluck Jonathan, Mr Sani deserves some blame.
Poor @ShehuSani. When you should have honourably left with @BukolaSaraki, you allowed yourself be deceived by Oshiomhole’s empty promise of ‘automatic ticket’. Now that automatic ticket has become automatic trick, you now realise you were used and dumped,” Mr. Omokri wrote on his Twitter handle.
In his reaction, a former aviation minister and PDP leader, Femi Fani-Kayode, said: “My good friend Sen. Shehu Sani has left the APC. He has fled the darkness and seen the light. He has rejected the horrendous plague that Buhari represents and run from the evil affliction. The Bible says “God works in mysterious ways His wonders to perform”. Thanks be to Him!”
Mr Sani on Sunday vowed to still contest the 2019 election despite leaving the APC.