El-Rufai pleads with Christians pastors in Kaduna to give him a second chance despite picking Muslim running mate

GOVERNOR Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna State has made a special appeal to Christian clergymen to back his bid for s second term saying that he is not anti-Christian despite picking a Muslim running mate.


On March 2, Kaduna like most of Nigeria's other states will elect a new governor and the battle is expected to be tight two-horse race affair. Governor El-Rufai is standing for re-election as the All progressives Congress (APC) candidate against former lawmaker Hon Isa Ahiru who is flying the flag for the opposition Peoples Democratic party (PDP).


Traditionally, Kaduna State's governorship ticket has been balanced between Muslims and Christians and Hon Ahiru, a Muslim, has subsequently picked a Christian in former commissioner Sunday Katung, as his running mate. However, Governor El-Rufai faces an uphill struggle as he named a fellow Muslim Dr Hadiza Balarabe, as his running mate.


Governor El-Rufai's choice of running mate has attracted widespread condemnation, particularly as Kaduna State is bitterly divided and has suffered from widespread communal violence on the south. It is also thought to be one state on the country that is equally split between Christians and Muslims.


Seeking to placate Christians in the state, the governor assured pastors that he will be fair to all despite picking a Muslim running mate. Speaking during a at a meeting with the Pastors United For Change Association (Puca), in Kaduna, Governor El-Rufai said that he has nothing against Christians and called on the Christian community to look beyond religion and focus on his performance as governor.


Governor El-Rufai said: “In my life, I have never worked with people based on religious and ethnic consideration, so don’t 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 and only Kaduna State has male/female governorship ticket in northern Nigeria. Late Professor Andrew Nok, our late commissioner for education, brought Dr Hadiza Balarabe when we were looking for someone that can revive our primary health in the state and she performed excellently well so her choice as a running mate has nothing to do with religion."


According to the governor, over the last three and a half years, his administration has built and  repaired primary and secondary schools, as well as primary health centres. he said he is human and will make mistakes but despite this will be fair to everyone.


Apostle David Adeniran, the Puca chairman, said: “I believe many of us will go home with new thinking that something good is happening in Kaduna. This is a new Kaduna State.”