The recent statement made by Nasir El-Rufai, the former governor of Kaduna State, has sparked a wave of outrage, particularly on social media platforms. In a video lasting five minutes and 43 seconds, Mr El-Rufai addressed a gathering of Muslim clerics in Kaduna shortly after his party, the All Progressives Congress (APC), emerged victorious in the governorship election.
Here is an English translation of Mr El-Rufai’s remarks in Hausa:
“When I chose Dr Hadiza Sabuwa Balarabe as my deputy in 2019, I conducted a careful analysis and realized that a significant portion of non-Muslims do not vote for our party, the All Progressives Congress. Therefore, I questioned the need to offer them the position of deputy governor. Through political calculations, we ascertained that we could win the election without granting them that position. This decision was purely political – a matter of securing votes. Since the advent of democracy, we have observed regions where our party consistently wins and areas where it does not. This informed our political calculations.”
“Furthermore, we aimed to demonstrate to the people that a government led by Muslims, including a Muslim governor, a Muslim deputy governor, a Muslim secretary of state government, a Muslim chief of staff, and a Muslim finance commissioner, would not marginalize Christians in Kaduna State. We proudly state that during the past four years, we have vindicated ourselves and proven that our administration prioritizes fairness and justice. We ask anyone to point out instances where we have oppressed Christians. Have we neglected any district in terms of school renovations, hospital constructions, or road development? Have we denied assistance to farmers based on their political affiliations? We have ensured that everyone receives their due entitlements.”
“While Kubau (Local Government Area) showed overwhelming support for us in Northern Kaduna, we have decided to allocate additional resources to Kubau as a gesture of appreciation. Conversely, since Jaba did not vote for us, we have provided them with their rightful entitlements without bias.”
“The teachings of the Imams and Ulamas have instilled in us the importance of justice in Islamic leadership. The Prophet (peace be upon him) and his companions coexisted with non-Muslims, including Jews, Christians, and even pagans, yet they were recognized as trusted ones (El-Amin) due to their fair treatment. Caliphs such as Abubakar, Umar, Usman, and Ali exemplified justice towards non-Muslims. No one can claim to have been oppressed for not being a Muslim. However, it is natural to prefer those who support you, while ensuring that no oppression occurs.”
“During the campaign season, we emphasized the need for capable individuals who can deliver results, without prioritizing their religious affiliations. While religion is a factor we consider, I cannot explicitly state it. However, I challenge anyone who feels unjustly treated by this government to come forward and voice their concerns. Thus far, no such claims have been made. We have put an end to criminal activities and road blockades, and those who persist will face the consequences, as they are well aware.”
By expressing his political strategy and commitment to inclusive governance, El-Rufai aimed to address misconceptions and demonstrate that his administration prioritizes the welfare of all citizens, irrespective of their religious backgrounds.