Noah Ebije, Kaduna
People of southern Kaduna under the umbrella of Southern Kaduna Peoples Union (SOKAPU) have hit back at the state governor, Nasir El-rufai for allegedly blackmailing them as people that have made up their minds not to vote for him in the forthcoming election.
The people asked El-rufai whether he was a Christian in 2015 when they voted for him massively, and advised him to speak and act as leader of the entire people of the state, irrespective of ethnic and religious differences.
It would be recalled that El -Rufai, who was a guest on Channels TV’s Sunrise Daily programme on January 17, alleged that 67 per cent of Christian voters in Southern Kaduna would not vote for him even if he nominates the pope as his running mate.
In a statement on Tuesday by the National Public Relations Officer of SOKAPU, Mr. Yakubu Kuzamani, said the governor’s claim amounted to falsehood and deliberate effort to cause a religious divide in the state.
The statement added that the southern Kaduna people do not hate El-rufai, but that they are not comfortable with policies of his administration that have reduced the people to political irrelevance in the State.
“Our advice to Malam 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.
“Despite our measured and steadfast resolve to ignore this issue, considering the emotional reaction that the interview generated, it has, however, become imperative to speak and correct the deliberate misinformation, negative stereotyping and the generalisation that was devoid of logic or fact.
“What is the reality? The fact is that Christians in Southern Kaduna do not hate Governor el-Rufai, but we abhor his deliberate policy aimed at reducing our people into political nothingness. “With the general elections approaching, the governor has been peddling this falsehood at several events. We declare emphatically the fact 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.
“The deliberate falsehood manufactured by the governor is punctured by the fact that Christians in southern Kaduna have been voting Muslims as governors for a long time since the creation of the state. The governors include Alhaji Abdulkadir Balarabe Musa, Alhaji Dabo Lere, Alhaji Mohammed Makarfi, Arch Mohammed Namadi Sambo and the governor himself. Christians in Kaduna have voted, not on a religious basis, but on competence and merit; and Governor el- Rufai was a direct beneficiary of that in 2015 when Christians voted for him.
“If Christians in southern Kaduna voted for him in 2015, against the then sitting 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 competency 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 Kaduna State are committed to doing just that. We shall not allow any form of bigotry to divide us,” the statement said.