Controversy continues to trail the decision of the All Progressives Congress (APC) to grant automatic return ticket to a senator, Shehu Sani.
Days after the APC headquarters announced Mr Sani as its only candidate cleared to contest the Kaduna Central senatorial seat, the Kaduna State Government and its officials continue to condemn the decision and on Friday evening claimed it had been reversed.
The signal that the controversy was still on first came on Friday afternoon after Governor Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna met President Muhammadu Buhari.
Mr El-Rufai told journalists that the leadership of the
APC was insisting on automatic ticket for Mr Sani.
However, hours later, a close ally to Mr El-Rufai, Uba Sani, released a statement saying he and some other aspirants had been cleared by the APC headquarters to challenge Shehu Sani for the senatorial ticket.
“We welcome this fresh embrace of democratic tenets,” he said.
He thanked his supporters for standing by him; saying now that his right to participate in the primary election has been restored, they should come out in their numbers to vote for him.
“Let us complete what we have started so that we can give the people of Kaduna Central disciplined, loyal and productive representation in the Senate,” he said.
Uba Sani, who is believed to be Mr El-Rufai’s favoured candidate for the seat, also asked his supporters to “make the primary election a peaceful festival of democracy.”
At about the time PREMIUM TIMES received Uba Sani’s statement, a top official of the Kaduna State Government, who asked not to be named because he has no permission to speak with the media, said Mr Oshiomhole has apologised to Mr El-Rufai over the “misunderstanding,” and that a competitive primary had been authorised.
He said the APC national chairman sent a text message to the Kaduna State governor urging him to understand that “whatever was done was not personal.”
Amidst the various statements from Kaduna, PREMIUM TIMES contacted the APC headquarters who said there was no plan for such primary and Shehu Sani remained the only cleared candidate foe the senatorial seat.
“The only person cleared to run in Zone 2 in Kaduna is Shehu Sani,” the APC spokesperson, Yekini Nabena, said in a telephone interview.
The APC spokesperson also provided the “authentic list of aspirants cleared.”
The list contains the names of aspirants such as Suleiman Kwari and Abba Ibrahim (ZONE 1) , Barnabas Bala (Zone 3) and Shehu Sani zone 2.
The document, dated October 4, was signed by APC National Chairman, Adams Oshiomhole.
Mr Nabena said another document in circulation showing Ubani Sani and others as cleared aspirants was fake and should be ignored.
Shehu Sani and Mr El-Rufai have been at daggers drawn shortly after both men were elected senator and governor respectively in 2015. Despite being of the same party, they have both attacked and cursed each other publicly including using uncouth language.
The senator had been expected to leave the APC but was persuaded by national leaders of the party including Mr Oshiomhole not to do so.