Kaduna senator, Shehu Sani, has urged the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, to punish Gov. Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna State for allegedly leaking to reporters a memo he wrote to President Muhammadu Buhari.
Mr. Sani, who is the Vice-Chairman, Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs, called for punitive measures in a statement he released in Abuja on Saturday.
In the September 2016 memo published this week, Mr. El-Rufai told President Buhari that he was losing the vision and the momentum with which APC started the change campaign.
The governor told the president how bad the nation was faring under his watch, and how the president’s policies, actions and in-actions have contributed to the nation’s woes, and what could be done to steer Nigeria back to greatness.
In the 30-page memo, first published, to Mr. Buhari touched several areas, ranging from the ailing economy, to the dynamics of the nation’s politics, lack of coercion within the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, and the poor relationship between the president and the national leader of the APC, Bola Tinubu, and other party leaders, including the APC governors.
Mr. Sani said it was ironic that while Gov. El-Rufai could not stand constructive criticism, he had the audacity to criticize the president.
“The governor always recommends that our party should punish me for criticizing him,” the lawmaker said.
“Now that he has fired a cruise missile at the President through a deliberately leaked memo, he should also be treated the same way.
“He accused me of being disloyal and disrespectful to the President and the party for speaking my mind.
“Now he has done his own cunningly by criticizing the President and the party, disguised it as a memo and leaked it out to the press.
“If our able party chair would give me five strokes of the cane for speaking out, the governor (El Rufai) should be given thrice that for ‘leaking out’.
“It’s often said that look at the message and not the messenger, but there are times when you can only decipher the message by looking at the messenger,” he said.
According to Mr. Sani, while Gov. El-Rufai is entitled to his opinion and perception, the contradiction and irony is that he carried out an action he always stood against when criticized.
He described the governor as disloyal and disrespectful, saying: “the difference is that while mine is blunt, his is dubious.
“Secondly, for all the issues he raised against the President, his own is worst in his space of governance both in the existence of cabal or politics of exclusion, incompetence or public perception.
“The difference is that the President is tolerant of criticisms and alternative views.’’
He said the leakage of the memo to journalists was an evidence that “logically he is leaking memo to rouse popular sympathy and create the image of “a competent alternative” to “Baba”.
Mr. Sani advised President 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.”