The limits of personal loyalty


Senator Uba Sani was sheepishly following El-Rufai around during the 2023 gubernatorial campaign. He behaved and acted like a lap dog. You thought he was a fool; the man was just stooping to conquer. Many people misread his body language and assumed he was naive; he was not.

IBB, Gen. T.Y. Danjuma and other northern power brokers used their resources and influence to impose Gen. Obasanjo as the PDP presidential candidate at the expense of the late Dr. Alex Ekwueme who was the originally favoured candidate at the party’s national convention in Jos. They thought by bankrolling a “reluctant” Obasanjo to become president, they would be able to control him, but the Ota farmer became his own man, to their chagrin.

OBJ played the same game by imposing Umaru Musa Yar’adua as president. He thought Yar’adua was gullible. But soon enough, Yar’adua started to dismantle Obasanjo’s policies and investigate the failed $19 billion power projects and the reversal of the fuel price increase imposed by OBJ. Obasanjo admitted that at the rate Yar’adua was going, he was privately living in fear of being arrested by his successor, especially his refusal to stop the national assembly from investigating the failed power projects.


So, there is no such thing as a “safe” successor. Kwankwaso had assumed that Ganduje was a flankey who had no mind of his own. Ganduje had proved him wrong and that was the beginning of their political estrangement. The late godfather of Kwara politics, Olusola Saraki, said that he was advised by elders to anoint his son, Abubakar Saraki, as governor because all the “strangers” that he supported before had betrayed him. He lamented however that even his son also hijacked the party from him to establish his structure. The rest is history.

Therefore, the current estrangement between Uba Sani and El-Rufai is not surprising. No intelligent leader would like to permanently live in the shadows of his predecessor. He would initially make concessions, but ultimately he must assert himself to survive. Fubara was almost removed by the Rivers House of Assembly which is dominated by Wike’s minions. However loyal you are there may come a time when you have to choose between protecting public interest and personal loyalty to someone. Does loyalty mean sacrificing the public interest to protect your predecessor?

The day I saw El-Rufai’s son saying that Governor Uba Sani is “surrounded by incompetent fools,” I knew at once things might get worse. The boy also insulted the Speaker of the House of Assembly. This is the first time in our recent history that the son of a former governor would publicly insult his father’s friend and successor. I can’t imagine General Buhari’s children publicly insulting Atiku Abubakar for criticising the policies of their father. I can’t imagine Kwankwaso’s son insulting Ganduje for “betraying” his father.


What is happening in Kaduna is a rude awakening. No one wants to be controlled by an outside power; no one wants to be held accountable for another man’s sins. No right-thinking person wants to live the image of being someone else’s stooge forever. Public interest should not be sacrificed on the altar of protecting personal friendship. If you argue that a successor must protect his predecessor at all costs, then what becomes of accountability and public interest? Are you suggesting that Sadiya Farouk, Emefiele, Hadi Sirika and other Buhari officials should be left alone so as not to discredit the Buhari administration? Are you saying that the fraudulent Air Nigeria project should not be suspended by President Tinubu to protect Buhari’s legacy? Are you saying that if a governor discovers fraudulent contracts or contracts paid for but not executed, he should not make noise to protect his predecessor from embarrassment?

There is a fine line between loyalty to friendship and protecting public interest. Governors took an oath to perform their duties faithfully and impartially. I guess they are not taking this oath for the fun of it. Former President Obasanjo jailed his closest political ally and friend Sunday Afolabi over the national ID card bribery scandal. Going by the sanctity of oath, are you saying that OBJ had betrayed Afolabi because of his sacrifices for the success of the former president? So, loyalty to friends has its limits when it comes to the larger public interest.

Zagga wrote from Abuja.


Views expressed by contributors are strictly personal and not of TheCable.
Add a comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Click on the link below to join TheCable Channel on WhatsApp for your Breaking News, Business Analysis, Politics, Fact Check, Sports and Entertainment News!

error: Content is protected from copying.