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Senator Uba Sani: An accomplished politician @ 51
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Leaders become great, not because of their power, but because of their ability to empower others” – John Maxwell

By Abdullahi Muhammad Al-Mannar

Senator Uba Sani, the once-fiery civil rights campaigner and now APC Kaduna Central’s representative at the Senate clocked 51 recently. So much has been written about his sacrifice in the battle to confine Nigeria’s military to the barracks and sustaining the tempo of his activism to preserve civil rule.

Some analysts harp on his legendary generosity, while others find his ability to play politics without bitterness as a rare gift. Regardless of what aspect of his philanthropic or political career anyone might choose as the prism through which he could be understood, it’s difficult to capture the man’s persona in one sentence. Some just shout ‘game-changer’ at the mere mention of his name. Others would say ‘One-man squad against poverty’. Others simply say ‘ Pilot 001’, a euphemism for first among equals. Here comes one question: Is he merely a typical Nigerian politician, or a philanthropist? Or a lawmaker so in love with putting smiles on the faces of the poor?

Of a truth, Senator Uba Sani has so many positive attributes, from dislike for politics of bitterness to attacking poverty anywhere he happens to find himself – especially his constituency of Kaduna Central Senatorial Zone.

Significantly, even those who know Senator Uba Sani better than me, have occasionally admitted that there is a deluge of helpful projects he has been running that actually predate his foray into politics.

And occasionally, when Nigerian government derails, he would openly protest by restating: “this is not the democracy we fought for”, which exemplifies his consistency.

As a lawmaker, he has repeatedly taken the Federal Government to task and offered voluntary pieces of advice on new options for tackling insecurity in his constituency nay Nigeria. Wherever commendation is necessary, he doles it out, to celebrate the successes recorded by security agents–for the balance.

See why it is now difficult to capture in a single sentence, what Senator Uba Sani is? I would like to think that part of this difficulty stems from the fact that in recent years his activities have become tilted more towards rescuing those getting drawn in the ocean of poverty — one of the most disturbing problems of today’s Africa. If you choose to discuss his politics, you would find yourself being swayed by the growing public opinion about his legendary generosity, particularly for the poor. Notwithstanding the point of convergence between politics and empowerment, the latter seems to have blurred the former in recent years, when you take a close look the lawmaker’s activities. Indeed, many remember Senator Uba not as a politician but as a compassionate Nigerian known for helping the needy, even before he joined politics.

Understanding the place of this lawmaker in present day Nigeria would be incomplete without recourse to his vast array of empowerment efforts. Virtually all classes of Nigerians that crossed path with Senator Uba Sani or his immediate constituents would have a heartwarming experience to share about his eagerness to uplift others. From students, to applicants, politicians to businessmen, the lawmaker has thus far left no stone unturned. I know, for instance, that quite a number of Nigerians, especially the poor in IDP camps, orphanages, widows’ groups have shed tears of joy in their first encounter with Senator Uba Sani. I initially thought his sphere of positive impact was limited to his State of Kaduna or even his constituency, but the deluge of ‘excellence’ or ‘merit’ awards from far places like Kano and other Northern States demolished my assumptions.

Senator Uba Sani has remained masses-friendly at a point many a politician would not spend a dime to help victims of banditry and arson, or protest on their behalf; or pay medical bills for the poor; or comfort family, friends and associates — no matter how wealthy they may be.

So what do we say to Senator Uba Sani at 51? Keep the flag flying? Being masses-friendly is one identity he seems to be so in love with. This partly explains the underlying issues behind his success as a lawmaker today. There are his contemporaries in today’s Nigeria who are into politics for the fun of it. Conversely, his motivation, in joining politics, is in sharp contrast to the derivatives that got his contemporaries into politics. Some would ask: what makes the Senator’s brand of politics different from that of others? His, is about service, especially to the poor in our midst. Anyone wishing to do a fact-check on this should interview survivors of bandits attacks in rural Kaduna State; the civilian JTF commanders; Christian and Muslim development projects promoters; people struggling with medical bills in present day Nigeria; solar power community project, especially in places of worship; rehabilitation of secondary schools; erecting vocational skill centres; rescuing the orphans in orphanages.The list is seemingly endless.

His sacrifice for the nation yielded to his access to various positions of authority, of which he came out as clean as daylight. He was Special Assistant on Public Affairs to President Obasanjo and he gave the job his best shot. He was at one time the National Assembly Liason Officer to the then Minister of the FCT – Nasir Ahmad Elrufai; he delivered on that assignment creditably well. He later became Special Adviser on Political Affairs to incumbent Kaduna State Governor and performed so well that the Governor (known for rewarding competence) added another portfolio to it — Intergovernmental Affairs. Here again, Uba Sani lived up to his billings.

One could go on and on, highlighting the special leadership and management gifts God has given Senator Uba Sani, without successfully scratching even the surface of the phenomenal beauty behind his politics, his legendary generosity and consistency in standing by the poor. In terms of practical politics, he can hold his own anywhere.

He has a record 21 bills within two years, moved tons of motions and has become a leading light in Nigeria’s 9th Senate today. Indeed, the BOFIA Act — born out of the first bill to be signed into law by President Muhammadu Buhari under current Senate was Uba Sani’s bold signature mark.

It won’t be out of place, to doff my hat for Senator Uba Sani, as he clocks 51.

Almannar wrote from Kaduna

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