Senator Shehu Sani
Senator Shehu Sani

Shehu Sani and the Business of Propaganda, By Aisha W. Ibrahim

NEWS DIGEST – At the 2024 June 12 Democracy Day Dinner organised by President Bola Tinubu, former senator Shehu Sani, who represented Kaduna Central Senatorial District, raised a false alarm by asking the president to release all EndSARS protesters who are still languishing in prison. The Nigeria Police replied him publicly shortly after, stating that there are no EndSARS protesters in any prison anywhere in Nigeria. Shehu Sani has specialised in sharing falsehood and fake news among Nigerians, misleading gullible people and creating anger and animosity amongst the unguided. His media activism is an ultimate example of baseless propaganda, and he represents a class of political termites that seek to destroy whatever they cannot gain from.

He is in the news every other day, many times making false statements, and a question that has becoming so nagging is, ‘does he have a regular job, or is he just a career propagandist?

Early this week, he continued his propaganda activities following the visits by prominent Northern politicians to former President Muhammadu Buhari in Daura. In a statement posted on his verified Facebook page, Sani claimed that these visits, while appearing to be routine Eid homage, are in fact part of a “surreptitious attempt to build a strong northern alliance using ex-President Buhari as a rallying point to challenge and evict President Tinubu’s government in 2027.” Was Shehu Sani a part of those meetings to know what was discussed behind closed doors? Having lost out in the politics of Kaduna State, he continues to position himself in the media in a manner that he hopes will help him gain relevance with the Tinubu administration. But is that enough reason to make him become a professional busybody?

Sani’s claim that “Opposition to Tinubu from the point of policies, promises, and programs of his administration is a democratic right of any Nigerian” while simultaneously criticizing Buhari’s supporters for their political activities is contradictory. It’s important to recognize that political engagement and criticisms, and even opposition politics are indeed democratic rights, but they should be based on factual assessments rather than sentiments-driven rhetoric and opportunistic Twitter commentaries.

Beyond his explosive allegation of political maneuvering and regional power struggles, Sani’s comments also include a scathing critique of the Buhari administration’s economic performance. Unfortunately, Sani is a talker, not a thinker. So, he overlooks the complex economic realities and challenges of the eight years of the former president, Muhammadu Buhari, and the numerous achievements of the administration. I will ask Sani to get a set of Muhammadu Buhari: The Nigerian Legacy (Volumes 1-5) and read. After that, we could have a public debate if he still truly has doubts about the Buhari achievements.

Contrary to Sani’s claim, the Buhari administration inherited an economy already on a downward trajectory in 2015, grappling with the aftermath of the 2014 oil price crash. The administration took decisive action to stabilize the economy, particularly in supporting struggling states. In 2015 alone, the federal government disbursed N338 billion to 23 state governments across all geopolitical zones, enabling them to meet salary obligations. By 2017, this support had expanded to N1.75 trillion across all 36 states, demonstrating a commitment to national economic stability that transcended regional lines.

Sani could not grapple with the unprecedented global challenges that occurred during Buhari’s tenure. The administration navigated multiple global crises, including oil price crashes, the COVID-19 pandemic, and the economic fallout from the Russia-Ukraine conflict. Despite a six-month national lockdown that paralyzed economic activity, following the pandemic, the Buhari administration implemented extraordinary measures to safeguard lives, businesses, and jobs. It’s worth noting that even global actors who had been critical of Buhari’s economic approach eventually acknowledged the resilience and stability of the Nigerian economy under his stewardship. The International Monetary Fund (IMF), in its April 2023 ‘World Economic Outlook’ report, retained its growth forecast for the Nigerian economy at 3.2% for 2023, describing it as “one of the most stable in Africa.” The IMF noted improvements in Nigeria’s business climate, enhanced infrastructure, and increased investment opportunities. Does Sani know that the story is very different today? He should ask business owners and ordinary Nigerians on the streets.

Sani ignored the significant infrastructure developments and economic reforms initiated under Buhari. The administration focused on laying the groundwork for long-term sustainability and growth through investments in rail, road and port projects, etc., that have enhanced Nigeria’s economic connectivity and logistics capabilities.

The economic policies implemented by the Buhari administration were aimed at long-term economic stability and growth. For instance, the decision to maintain an exchange rate of N460 to $1, resisting pressure to float the naira, helped stabilize import and export operations and protected Nigerian consumers and businesses from numerous economic shocks. Those protections are no longer there, and Nigerians understand the difference.

Sani’s claim about Ajaokuta is false. Buhari completely recovered and revamped the Ajaokuta Steel Mills, which was ready for concessioning at the time Buhari left office.

The claim that “They came to power when the North was in the hands of terrorists and left it in the joint hands of terrorists and bandits” oversimplifies the complex security challenges faced by Nigeria. While security issues persisted, there were also notable successes in combating insurgency. At the time Buhari left office, Boko Haram was literally dead; not just technically but literally. How much of Boko Haram do Nigerians still hear about. Life is normal again in Borno State and the northeast.

While Nigeria continues to face significant economic challenges, the narrative that the Buhari administration “wasted” power is extremely false, and designed to mislead Nigerians. A minimally fair nuanced understanding of the Buhari years would recognize the difficult circumstances under which Buhari governed, the global challenges that impacted Nigeria during his tenure, and the immediate and long-term initiatives undertaken to address systemic economic issues.

As Nigeria moves forward under the Tinubu administration, it would benefit from a political discourse that prioritizes constructive policy debates over divisive rhetoric. The country’s path to sustainable economic prosperity requires pragmatic, ethical policymaking geared toward the national interest – not partisan sniping or attempts to rewrite recent history for political gain.

The challenges facing Nigeria’s economy are complex and multifaceted, requiring sustained effort and cooperation across political divides. Rather than seeking scapegoats or engaging in revisionist narratives, the focus should be on building upon positive initiatives, learning from past experiences, and charting a course toward inclusive growth and development for all Nigerians.

Aisha W. Ibrahim is with the Buhari Truth Collective and can be reached at

The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions or views of