Sani’s cosmopolitan outlook and deep understanding of the needs of the people of the state put him on a pedestal higher than those of the other candidates. Kaduna people see through what they say is his “liberal heart” and know that he is one that speaks to every cadre of their society with uncommon love and concern which will help give his government a human face while not losing sight of the need to push the development of the state beyond where el-Rufai stopped.
All politics is local. This phrase, which has been in use since 1932, defines political interests as they affect people of diverse cultures and traditions. It goes to say that what ails the generality of Nigerians, as political beings, may not exactly be the same thing that bothers a people that are sequestered in a particular state. For instance, many people who do not agree with the expression of the leadership of the Nigerian state since 2015, may be found to associate closely with the government of their home states even when they are members of the same or different political parties. This is why in Kaduna state, for instance, it is common to find members of the opposition party who admire the leadership and governance style of Nasir el-Rufai but disagree with the same APC government at the center. The simple explanation for this reality is that “east or west, home is the best”. For the people of the state, therefore, a peaceful, progressive, and cohesive Kaduna state means much more than what obtains in other states of the country and Abuja.
It seems to me, therefore, that it is for this reason that the people of the state are more interested, and focused, at seeing their state continue on the development trajectory that el-Rufai had birthed. To sustain the momentum there is need to properly examine the leadership credentials and development insights of the prime contenders for the state’s top job. This is where Sen. Uba Sani stands shoulder taller than his opponents in the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Mr. Isa Ashiru and Jonathan Asake of the Labour Party (LP). Somehow, the relatively unknown LP has come up the contest ladder in Kaduna as being seriously involved. This owes primarily to the momentum created around the presidential candidate of the party by youths. However, this may not necessarily translate to the possibility of the party upstaging the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) in the 2023 governorship election in Kaduna though a few people in Kaduna South see the candidate as likable.
The possibility here is that the LP and PDP candidates will square up against themselves for the soul of southern Kaduna. Already, many southern Kaduna leaders, and people, are pulling away from LP’s Asake. They accuse him of dumping his position as President of Southern Kaduna Peoples Union (SOKAPU), to contest for the governorship, without carrying the people along. In politics, it is suicidal to take a leap into a contest without adequately consulting with the people and also, carrying them along. That seems to be the issue now confronting the LP candidate and making his PDP counterpart seem like southern Kaduna’s anointed choice. This development is, however, dogged by the dissatisfaction of the people with the candidate’s previous outing as a member of the House of Representatives.
A lot of the LP candidate supporters had argued, and still argue, that the PDP candidate lacks the leadership credentials to lead their state because of his performance as a HoR member which they described as abysmal. Many of those who feel disappointed with the PDP candidate’s previous leadership engagements believe that the major factor still keeping him in the governorship pursuit is a feeling of entitlement. They accuse him of his inability to, as much as, propose a bill as a member of the House of Reps from 2007 to 2015. They also say those he represented in the House did not feel the impact of his membership in the House. Some had argued that his alleged feeling of a sense of entitlement to the leadership of the state cannot be sustained because Kaduna boasts of better qualified and more resourceful human capital. Those who are opposed to the PDP candidate said that his inability to show results from the previous outings is one basic reason that many see him end up as Kaduna’s perennial governorship candidate. Beyond this group, there are a few who pray that though he is already 60 years of age that he may win this time.
However, that prayer hits a brick wall in the candidature of Sen. Uba Sani who has the backing of el-Rufai. Like him or hate him, el-Rufai has established himself as a pragmatic and transformational leader. He also understands that success without a worthy and qualified successor is a failure. I guess that is why he threw his weight behind a younger Sen. Sani, whom he trusts never to drop the anchor on the development narrative on Kaduna state. At 51 years of age, Uba Sani has achieved a lot for the people of Kaduna and has his eyes on continuing with the development programmes already outlined for the benefit of the people of the state. Uba Sani’s youthfulness is an advantage that his party is taking into the elections with the commencement of campaigns later this month. He is full of zest and can’t wait to put his signature on Kaduna’s further transformation.
Though Kaduna had been polarized along religious lines, Sani’s cosmopolitan outlook and deep understanding of the needs of the people of the state put him on a pedestal higher than those of the other candidates. Kaduna people see through what they say is his “liberal heart” and know that he is one that speaks to every cadre of their society with uncommon love and concern which will help give his government a human face while not losing sight of the need to push the development of the state beyond where el-Rufai stopped. Uba Sani may also become the beneficiary of a likely battle for the soul of southern Kaduna which is brewing between Ashiru and Asake as he is sure to easily win two senatorial districts of the state to remain in pole position for the final victory.
This is what so many people in Kaduna state expect to happen. For these people, Uba Sani will easily win the governorship election because the basic issue at the core of the leadership is the continuation of the transformational projects begun by el-Rufai. People in this category say they fear that the state will degenerate if it falls into the hands of any person who lacks the intellectual depth and mental capacity to think big and futuristic as well as manage resources of the state so prudently that all necessary state bills will be paid without mortgaging that state by going cap-in-hand to lending institutions.