Southern Kaduna: El-Rufai Whipping up Religious Sentiments for Re-election

Nasir El-Rufai

John Shiklam in Kaduna

The umbrella body for ethnic nationalities in the Christian dominated southern part of Kaduna State, the Southern Kaduna Peoples Union (SOKAPU), has urged the state Governor, Nasir el-Rufai, to stop amplifying religious sentiments to get re-elected in the forth coming elections.

In a statement issued yesterday in Kaduna, the union said the utterance by the governor during a recent interview on Channels Television was disheartening.

In the television interview last Thursday, el-Rufai, while defending his Muslim-Muslim ticket, was reported to have said that some Christians will not vote for him even if he picks the Pope as a running mate.

“What if I tell you that no matter who I choose as my running mate, even if I choose the Pope, 67 percent of the Christians in southern Kaduna have made up their minds that they will never vote for me,” the governor was quoted to have said during the interview.

But SOKAPU in the statement signed by its spokesman, Yakubu Kuzamani, accused the governor of deliberate misinformation, negative stereotyping and generalisation devoid of logic or fact, saying it has become imperative to speak and correct such narrative.

“What is the reality? The fact is that Christians in Southern Kaduna do not hate el-Rufai, but we abhor his deliberate policy aimed at reducing our people into political nothingness,” the statement said.

It noted that “with the general election approaching, the governor has been peddling this falsehood at several events.

“We declare emphatically that our people and members, who include both Christians and Muslims, do not hate any politician on account of their religion.

“The governor’s assertions are merely the figments of his imaginations and should be ignored.”

Kuzamani further said: “The deliberate falsehood manufactured by the governor is punctured by the fact that Christians in Southern Kaduna have been voting Muslims as governors since the creation of the state,” including el-Rufai, who was voted by Christians in 2015.

The statement maintained that: “If Christians in Southern Kaduna voted for him in 2015, against the then Governor, Alhaji Ramalan Yero, a fellow Muslim, why is he now alleging that Christians would not vote for him?

“What did he do now that he is alleging being rejected by Christians?

“Why is he suddenly bringing in the issue of religion with the election just around the corner? “Is he guilty of something that is haunting him? Is he running away from something when nobody is pursuing him?

“How did the governor arrive at the 67 per cent figure of Christians that he alleged would not vote for him?

“What is the governor really planning? It is most disheartening that a governor of a multi-religious and multi-ethnic state like Kaduna would resort to religious sentiments for seeking re-election when competence and merit should be the basis.

“Southern Kaduna and indeed the entire state will vote a democratic governor that will unite and provide astute leadership to our beleaguered state.

“Christians and Muslims in the state are committed in doing just that. We shall not allow any form of bigotry to divide us.

“Our advice to el-Rufai is for him to be a governor to all. He should stand for all, speak for all and protect all. He should be the one dousing tension and rallying all for unity, instead of unnecessarily heating up the political atmosphere in the state.”