Governor Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna State stunned the polity Friday when he picked the Executive Secretary, Kaduna State Primary Health Care Agency, Dr. Hadiza Abubakar Balarabe as his running mate in next year’s gubernatorial poll.
With his unprecedented move, the All Progressives Congress (APC) has settled for a Muslim-Muslim ticket – fanning the embers of disunity in a state reeling from one too many disturbances.
In a state where tempers are already rising and nerves frayed, the Christian community in the state, and the predominantly Christian Southern Kaduna people have lambasted el-Rufai for the move, saying the action may further fragment the state and promote disunity in a multi-cultural and multi-religious society.
The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) in the North, yesterday, said the declaration might pitch the people against one another and exacerbate the prevailing political unrest.
Spokesman of CAN in the 19 northern states, Rev Joseph Hayap, said: “What some people are saying is that he is trying to encourage women. But doesn’t Southern Kaduna have Christian women eminently qualified than the person he nominated? By doing this, he is telling us the kind of governor he will be in 2019.
“It is now left to us in Southern Kaduna to tell the world whether this is the kind of governor we want in 2019 or not. I think the decision lies in our hands. We need a governor that will unite Kaduna and not divide it.”
The Secretary of Kaduna State chapter of CAN, Dr. Sunday Ibrahim, told The Guardian: “Looking at the peculiarities of the state, at this time when we are talking of peace, what the governor did is not right. Kaduna is a Christian-Muslim state. So, for him to have presented a Muslim-Muslim ticket is unimaginable. We in the Christian community are unhappy over that, but I can assure the people of Kaduna State that religion will not divide us.”
Also, the President, Arewa Youths for Development and Progress (AYFDP), Comrade Danjuma Sarki said: “I know the governor’s action was for his own selfish interest.
“The governor is trying to ride on the people’s gullibility to further his political ambition. Since el-Rufai came into power, we are aware that most of his policies were not to foster unity and peaceful coexistence among the people.”
“Although politics should not be viewed from religious or ethnic perspective, but as leaders, we must be sensitive to the divisions within our society.
“What el-Rufai has done in Kaduna State has further placed a time bomb that might constitute a continuous source of problems to the people instead of fostering unity. It is condemnable and not done in good faith,” he stated.
In his comment, President of Southern Kaduna People’s Union (SOKAPU) Mr. Solomon Musa said, “I know there are things like issues of federal character and issues of balance and religion among others, but the governor has just exercised his own prerogative. I am sure he must have made his own political analysis, and opinion leaders must have advised him on that.
Dr. Balarabe, born in 1966, is a Muslim from Sanga Local Council, which is located in the Southern Kaduna Senatorial District.
She emerged after the decision of Deputy Governor, Bala Barnabas Bantex, not to join el-Rufai in the 2019 race preferring to contest for the Southern Kaduna Senatorial ticket.