On Saturday, the Governor of Kaduna State, Nasir El-Rufai, said that his administration does not harbor any hatred against Christians in the state despite allegations to the opposite especially because of his decision to pick a Muslim running mate, a decision he has since claimed was not based on religion or ethnicity.
The comment by the governor was made during a town hall meeting he had with a group of Pastors in the state under the aegis of ‘Pastors United For Change Association’.
Recall that there was uproar on social media and from Christians in the state after El-Rufai’s decision to pick Hadiza Balarabe, a Muslim hailing from Sanga Local Government Area of Southern Kaduna. The Governor has since said his decision to pick her was not because of her religion but because of her capacity to deliver.
According to him, he has been working with people around him, based on competency to get results, regardless of their tribe or religion and urged the residents to unite for the progress of the State. He then told the Pastors to check his records of selfless service to the people and maintained that his target is to end the religious and ethnic division, and also unite the people of the State.
“In my life, I have never worked with people based on religious and ethnic consideration. Do not look at what people said, but what I have done in the past. Go through my records and see what I have done. On the issue of my running mate, we are encouraging women participation in politics. She is a competent woman.”
“Late Prof. Andrew Nok, our Late Commissioner for Education, brought Hadiza Balarabe, when we were looking for someone that can revive our primary health in the State, and she performed excellently well. I do not know her before. Her choice as a running mate has nothing to do with religion. I am confident that my running mate will run the State effectively, and will be fair to all in the State, even if I am not around”, he said.
El-Rufai also added that as a Governor, he must be fair to all, as he went ahead to list all his achievements in the last three years of his administration. In his words, “Check our records. In the last three years and six months, we have worked. We built, repaired primary, secondary schools. We fixed our primary health centres. I am human, and I can make mistakes, like any other person. I will be fair to everybody. We must unite our people for progress. I want Kaduna State to interact on the basis of humanity, not religion and ethnicity. There are some shifts in some Local Government Areas in Southern Kaduna, which favoured us, (with) which we will win this election.”
“When you get into office politics stop. You must be fair to all. Check our records in the last three years and six months, we have worked. We built, repaired primary, secondary schools. We fixed our primary health centres… I’m human and I can make mistakes like any other person. I will be fair to everybody. We must unite our people for progress. I want Kaduna state to interact on the basis of humanity not religion and ethnicity.”
Recall also that last year, El-Rufai came under fire from citizens, religious leaders and traditional rulers over an alleged threat to destroy Gonin-Gora community, which is a Christian-dominated area along Kaduna – Abuja road and is home to more than eight hundred thousand (800,000) people.
The governor’s threat was done during a state-wide broadcast which he said was because the youth in the area kept blocking roads and killing innocent people.
Recall also that El-Rufai granted another interview where he clarified the body bags comments attributed to him as he said that he did not ask anybody to kill foreigners.
El-Rufai, in an interview with Oath TV on Friday, February 8, 2019, said “The government of Nigeria must invite observers. But if we notice, there is a coordinated plan to delegitmize the election; to already declare the election illegitimate even before they were conducted. And it has the support of Nigerian collaborators and foreign interest. And we must speak out.
“We must speak out. And that is what is appearing to be the way the PDP is hobnobbing with some of the foreign interests here, we have to make the observation. They are here to observe. They are not here to intervene. They are not here to lay the foundations for crisis in Nigeria. Which is what the PDP are preparing for as their last ultimate option and we are aware of it. This is the essence of my statement and I don’t want anyone to confuse what I said to mean that Nigerians will kill any foreigner they see.”
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