By Cecilia Ijuo
Sen. Shehu Sani (Kaduna-APC) has described as a cruise missile, the memo to President Muhammadu Buhari, written by Governor Nasir El-Rufai, governor of his state.
Both Sani and El-Rufai have not been politically friendly since 2015, though both of them belong to the ruling All Progressives Congress.
Now Sani has urged the party to penalise El-Rufai for leaking the memo written last year.
Sani, who is the Vice-Chairman, Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs, called for the punitive measures in a statement he released in Abuja in reaction to the alleged leakage.
The memo dated 22 September 2016, highlights some of the political and economic problems confronting the 22 month old administration and suggests the many ways the President could resolve them.
Sani said it was ironic that while El-Rufai could not stand constructive criticism, he had the audacity to criticise the President.
“The governor always recommends that our party should punish me for criticising him.
“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 criticising 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 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 criticised.
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 newsmen was an evidence that ‘‘logically he is leaking memo to rouse popular sympathy and create the image of ‘a competent alternative’ to ‘Baba.’
“The memo suggests he is trying to do what he recently accused me of.
“He said that I am in the habit of criticising him because I want to become Kaduna State Governor,’’ Sani said.
He 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.’’