Governor Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna state has given his reason for picking Hadiza Balarabe, a Muslim woman from the southern part of the state, as his running mate ahead of the 2019 general elections.
Speaking in Kaduna, on Tuesday, while receiving the Paramount ruler of Numana Chiefdom, Aliyu Yamma, the governor said Mrs Hadiza was chosen from a list of 32 names comprising males and females.
According to him, the choice of Mrs Hadiza was arrived at following a fatherly guideline of President Muhammadu Buhari who threw his weight on choosing the best woman out of the list.
Mr El-Rufai said: “About a year ago, the Deputy Governor, Architect Barnabas Yusuf Bala told me he was go going to contest for Senate, I was in dilemma to get a replacement for Architect Bantex.
“So, we started piling list of people for consideration, and I had up to 32 names, including names of some people seated with me here today.
“Then, we started the selection and dropping of names based on merit. From 32 names to 17, to 12 and then 5 names: three males and two females.
“At that point, and as usual of us, when we are taking serious decisions we consult President Muhammadu Buhari because he is the only person I know that has worked in the army, he has been Governor, Minister and President.
“So, when I told him, he said anyone older than you should be dropped, then one name was dropped, remaining two men and two women. Then he said since you are interested in a woman then pick the best woman. That was how I picked Hadiza because she was the best.
“Meanwhile, from the beginning, I had told my team that, I will never choose or deny anyone appointment because of religion or ethnicity. But some people have started all manner of things, ‘Muslim-Muslim ticket’ and so on. But the government house is not a place of worship, we come here to work for the people.
“The people that have criticised me most on this are people who never voted me in the first place. So, are they not supposed to be celebrating if in their own opinion I have made a wrong choice? Then, why are they mourning?” Mr El-rufai queried.
Speaking on behalf of the community, the traditional ruler of Numana, Etu Numana, said over the years, the successive government had forgotten the people of the area as far as participation in government is concerned.
“The governor couldn’t have made a better choice than the selection of Hadiza. We now feel a sense of belonging in Kaduna government. We are just like black Americans in Kaduna State.”
He also appealed to Governor El-Rufai to ensure the establishment of Army Battalion in Sabo Gida village area of the local government because of insecurity in the area.