Senator Sani was born on October 29, 1967 in Tudun Wada Kaduna. He had his primary schooling at Local Government Education Authority (LGEA), Badarawa, and Kaduna between 1975 and 1980. He enrolled at Government Day Secondary school, Kagara, Niger State 1980–1984 and proceeded to Government Science College School, Kagara, Niger State. He gained admission into the Kaduna Polytechnic in 1984, to study Agricultural Engineering up to HND level, in 1993.
Unionism | Activism
During his school days at Kaduna Polytechnic, Nigeria. He was a student union activist. He was Chairman, Central Mobilization Committee of PAN-African Student Organization and President African Democratic Youth Congress. He served as social Director Kaduna State Students Union. Sani came from Nigerian Middle class family. His father was a Production Manager. He trained in the UK and Germany and had worked with pro-Northern Newspaper, New Nigerian Newspaper for 30 years. Before can he worked as a Printer with Kano-based Daily mail. He was also the Government Printer for Sokoto State from 1976 to 1979. His father had a well stocked library where he drenched himself and drank from the pool of literary knowledge, especially books on socialism and politics of the left. At that period there was massive inflow of literature from Eastern Europe. The exposure to books helped shaped his thoughts and leftist perception of life, as well as exposing him to the reality and decadence brought to the society by military dictatorship. He was equally influence by his mother who was a community women leader; and the likes of Aminu Kano and the Northern Elements Progressive Union (NEPU) and PRP (Peoples Redemption party) radical politics. From Kaduna Polytechnic, he plunged into national activism. He was introduced into the Campaign for Democracy (CD), Nigeria’s umbrella pro-democracy group by activists like Femi Falana and Beko Ransome Kuti and thereafter served as the Northern Coordinator and National Vice Chairman of the group. He was first detained in July 1993 under the regime of General Babagida. His offences then was that he advocated for the revalidation of the result of the June 12, 1993, Presidential election polls won by the Late Chief M.K.O Abiola. He was charged to a magistrate court, Ibrahim Taiwo Road, Kaduna for sedition. During the Chief Earnest Shonekan Interim Government, he was arrested and detained for two weeks and later charged to court for sedition again. During General Sani Abacha regime, he was implicated in the 1995 phantom coup and subsequently jailed for life and later commuted to 15 years by the Patrick Aziza Special Military Tribunal that convicted the likes of General Olusegun Obasanjo (later President), Col Lawan Gwadabe (rtd) and Chris Anyanwu and other journalists; his charges were: “Accessory to the fact of treason and managing an unlawful society (the Campaign for Democracy)”. He was detained in various Prisons; Kirikiri, Kaduna, Port-Harcourt, Enugu and Aba. Before his several incarcerations, he co founded the Movement for unity and progress and teamed up with other northern progressive’s like Col. Abubakar Dangiwa Umar (rtd.), Dr. Bala Usman, Mr. James Bawa Magaji and Alhaji Balarabe Musa, to fight for the actualization of June 12 annulled presidential election and other causes. Sani is renowned for providing Human Right campaign supports to the poor and the disadvantage and in the process had clashed with security agents and other state power-wielders. During the religious riots in Kaduna in 2000, he was the only human right activist in Kaduna that came out in the heat of the violence to condemn the massacre. In 2005, he was appointed to reshape the civil society in the national conference. Tradition rulers in the conference asked that Shehu Sani be barred from further speaking went he asked for their dissolution because of their pliant support for military dictator in the past. The chairman of the commission, Justice Niki Tobi turned down the call. During the riot in Kaduna, he pioneered the distribution of relief materials and initiated the visit to the “war zone” at the time when it was the most suicidal thing to contemplate.
He had organized and led protests:
Against Iraq invasion of the state of Kuwait
Against the Israeli war on Gaza in 2008
Against the visit of George Bush and Tony Blair to Nigeria in March 2010
Against Israeli raid on Gaza land flotilla in June 2011
Against the Congolese Government on the detention of two Norwegian, Joshua French and Tjostolv Moland
Against the removal of petroleum subsidy
He took his activism to a greater dimension with more emphasis on Peace activism.
He authored books on Peace. He organized rally and Bicycle race to promote peace.
He instituted the Shehu Sani Annual Prize (2013) for Community Peace Advocates and publishes “Peace” newspaper.
In an effort to contribute to addressing the challenges of insecurity in Nigeria, Sani facilitated the meeting of former President Olusegun Obasanjo to the family of slain Boko Haram Leader Muhammed Yusuf in 2011; His initiative ignited a debate and dialogue.
In 2013, he was appointed by President Goodluck Jonathan into a Federal Government National Committee to Dialogue with the Boko Haram insurgency, he turned down the offer on the ground that his previous recommendation was not used.
Under President Olusegun Administration he was appointed as Member, African Union African Peer Review Mechanism, Member United Nation Reform Committee, Appointed by Nigerian President as a Member of Presidential Committee on Prison Reforms, Presidential Committee on the Control of Violent Crimes and Illegal Weapons, Presidential Committee on Petroleum Products Prices, Presidential Committee on Conflict Resolution, Member Niger State Judicial Commission of Inquiry, Member National Political Reform Conference, Member, Charles Taylor Investigation Committee also appointed by the Nigerian Government as a Board Member of Nigerian Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (NEITI). He was a Member, Presidential Committee on National Security and Civic Responsibility.
Playwright | Writer
Sani had many literary works to his credit. They include:
Killing fields, -2007
Poverty in Northern Nigeria
Political Assassination in Nigeria, 2007
Youth as vanguard in the Battle against corruption
Scorpion under pillow, 2007
Civilian dictators of Africa, 2008
Always wrong, can Yar’adua get it right, 2009
Betrayal and Society, 2009
The children of Kaduna, 2011
The children of Jos, 2011
Protest and freedom, 2012
Rebellious ideas, 2013
Nigeria and Ethiopia: An analysis of historical ties, 2013
Hatred for Black people, 2013 His plays
Phantom Crescent, 2009
Thugs at the Helm
Prison anthology 2007
The poem of peace in the season of bloodshed
In 2003, Sani contested for the Senate under Alliance for Democracy (AD) and lost to Senator Muktar Aruwa of the All Nigerian Peoples Party ANPP
In 2011, he contested for the senate under Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) and lost to Senator Sani Saleh in the primaries.
In 2015, Sani won the senate seat after defeating Senator Sani Saleh in the primaries and defeated Senator Muktar Aruwa in the General Election.
In September 4, 2015, he became the first and only Nigerian Senator to declare his assets publicly after President Muhammadu Buhari.
He is currently the Senate Committee Chairman on Local & Foreign Debts and also serves as the Vice Chairman on Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs
Awards | Honor
He is a recipient of several Awards/Honors, they include:
TELL magazine: Hero of Democracy Award
Doctorate Degree by Nigerian University of continuing Education, Enugu, Nigeria
English literary Association of Ahmadu Bello University Zaria
West African Student Union Association (WASU)
Human Right Writers Association (HURIWA)
Association of Nigerian Authors, ANA HALL OF MERIT
Nigerian Union of Journalist Award as Defender of Fundamental Rights
National Association of Nigeria student NANS, Hero of Civil Rights
Adult friend award by World Children Prize Foundation Sweden
National Conscience Party; Senior Advocate of the Masses.
Ahmadu Bello University Faculty of Law Students; Defender of the Rights of the Masses.