El-Rufai/Sani row deepens
THE All Progressives Congress (APC) in Kaduna State may lose the governorship seat in 2019, a senator warned yesterday.
Senator Shehu Sani accused the state government of having “anti-people policies”.
Sani (APC Kaduna Central), who has been critical of Governor Nasir El-Rufai’s style, spoke to reporters shortly after receiving a complaint from traders on a plan by the government to demolish the famous Kasuwan Barci Market in Kaduna.
The government declined to react to the senator’s verbal attack. The governor’s aides said it was a party matter.
The local chapter of the APC in the State lashed out at the senator, describing him as a “political scavenger”.
Sani said: “The anti-APC policies of the administration in Kaduna State is sending people away; many people now only have faith in Buhari, not in the party any more.
“Most programmes of government in the state are not in favour of the people and if it continues, APC will pay for it. The current administration’s policies are only designed to please some certain group of people in the state.”
He urged the state government to shelve the market demolition plan.
The Senator noted that demolishing such a market with 4,800 shops and famous for its textile and used clothes at this time of hardship would spell doom for thousands of families.
His words: “I identify with the pains, concerns and fears of the traders and I appeal to the governor to think twice with a human heart over the issue.
“We promised to deliver change to the country and as democrats, whatever we will do, we need to consult and carry the people along. We cannot treat people with arrogance and insolence and expect them to trust us again.”
Tracing the traders’ anger and fear to the possibility of not getting their stalls after the demolition, Sani, who is the Senate Committee Chairman on Domestic and Foreign Debts, advised El-Rufai to suspend the planned demolition and concentrate on completing ongoing projects he had started.
“For all the projects he started, he has not completed any. So, the mistake will be when he demolishes the market and there are no funds to reconstruct it, what will happen to the traders and the place?”
He noted that most government activities would shut down by 2018 when political activities begin ahead of the 2019 general elections.
Sani said: “The market has provided jobs for more than 30,000 men and women, with many youths off the street and engaged in tailoring, craft work and trading. Engage the traders in reconstructing the market by giving them a specific design to reconstruct with a deadline.”
He promised the traders that he would forward a memo to the governor on the issue and urged them to seek dialogue with the government to resolve the matter and seek the intervention of the House of Assembly, religious leaders and human rights organisations.
Besides, he said the traders could seek legal redress if all efforts failed to stop the government’s plan.
The chairman of the market traders’ union, Haruna Umar, told reporters that the market with 4,800 shops yields over N500 million daily turnover.
He said there were more than 30,000 persons earning their meal tickets from the market and that demolishing it would be devastating to them and their families.