Kaduna Minister: Let’s End Religious Bigotry

Mal. Nasir El-rufai

Kaduna Minister: Let’s End Religious Bigotry




The rejection of the ministerial ambition of Mallam Nasir Ahmad el-Rufai by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu is a decision in the right direction. For those who saw el-Rufai as an indispensable personality in running the affairs of governance, the Tinubu-led administration has proven to all that the former governor can be rejected as minister without any consequence.


I have read articles and tweets by certain persons on the need for the president to re-submit his name to ensure the comeback of el-Rufai who was boasted that beng appointed a minister amounted to repeating a class. Despite his vow to reject any ministerial appointment, the Quantity Surveyor from Zaria would appear before the Senate for confirmation. Thank God, he failed to secure it.


Feeling completely frustrated and devastated, he flew to Egypt en-route to Beirut where he tweeted music of Bob Marley. What stares el-Rufai now is a future devoid of political power. He is now mired in a quagmire of surviving four years outside the lube of power. Considering his quick resort for tweeting Bob Marley music in expressing his dilemma, the former governor may release a music album before 2027.


Tinubu’s rejection of the former governor has led to calls supporting the resubmission of a new ministerial nominee from Kaduna. I have come across reports focusing on the rationality of which zone should replace el-Rufai as ministerial nominee. Considering the fact that the el-Rufai years in Kaduna were fraught with orchestrated plot of subjugating the southern part of the state, especially Kaduna South Zone 3, it is unfair to suggest any candidate for the ministerial nominee outside of Southern Kaduna.


Contrary to narratives championed and promoted by the former governor and his cronies that the All Progressives Congress (APC) does not enjoy support from non-Muslim areas, it is o record that the former FCT Minister polled over 40 percent during the 2015 governorship election that gave him victory. Early signs of the former governor’s contempt for the Zone appeared too early when, in 2015, he declared that Christians constitute only 30 percent, while Muslims population is pegged at 70 percent. How he got the population census along religious divide beats the imagination of many, including this writer. Little wonder el-Rufai settled for Dr Hadiza Sabuwa Balarabe as his running mate. The rest is history.


Ahead of the planned resumption of the National Assembly, there are discordant tunes over which zone should produce the minister. For justice and equity to hold away and for APC not to validate el-Rufa’s bigotry as contained in that video clip, a ministerial nominee should come from Kaduna Zone 3. For the record, the southern part was denied ministerial appointment in the past eight years under President Muhammadu Buhari. Even when the state was allowed two ministerial slots, the President Muhammadu Buhari-led government never considered it fair to appoint a minister from the southern part.


The refusal to appoint a minister from Kaduna South is not on account of not supporting the APC, but purely on account of dominant faith. The claim by el-Rufai that Christians were unlikely to vote APC was not true as prominent politicians from the South, including the late Chief of Naval Staff, Ibrahim Ikko, Dr Shekarau, Arc. Bala Bantex, who later became deputy, and el-Rufai’s campaign director, Ali Waziri, turned forerunners of el-Rufai’s electoral triumph in the 2015 polls.


The prominent persons mentioned above, all of them, supported by other key supporters in the person of the current Kaduna State APC Chairman, Air Cdre Emmanuel Jekada, the present Political Adviser to the incumbent governor, Dr Manzo Daniel Maigari and Her Excellency, Mrs Charity Shekari, among many others, were not left out in building the APC. It is on record that the above mentioned persons have continued to work for the APC-led administration despite present attempt by Governor Uba Sani in continuing with the subjugation culture unleashed on the Southern Kaduna zone in terms of appointments that have been basically twisted towards favouring the continuation of el-Rufai’s biased style of administration’s.


Against all odds, and in spite of deliberate marginalisation of the zone, in the 2023 poll, the APC polled over 150,000 during the governorship poll. Whether that is true or not should be left to the tribunal handling the complaints on the conduct of the election. Without these votes, it would have been practically impossible for the APC to have carried the day. Not a few expected the inequitable distribution of political appointments by Governor Sani. True to claims by el-Rufai that the person coming after him would be worse, appointments so far released by Sani have clearly shown that el-Rufai may turn out more just than Governor Sani.


For now, all heads of Kaduna State Tertiary schools are headed by Muslims. The top 10 management positions in Kaduna State University (KASU) are presently occupied by Muslims. Earlier, the top scorer of the interview for the vice chancellor of the university was a Christian, but was denied the position on account of his faith. The most senior permanent Secretary in the State, a Christian, was denied appointment as Head of Service for the state. Instead, the previous occupant, a Muslim from the South was reappointed on a contract basis. What sort of injustice and crass oppression is this? Are Christians in Southern Kaduna party to any decision on where they should come from? Must non-Muslims bear the brunt of being who they are, and must cringe before being accorded the dignity of being citizens?


It is sacrilege to remain silent in the face of insurmountable oppression in the name of political partisanship. When we keep silent for political exigencies, we enthrone a monster that will one day consume all of us. What is taking place in Kaduna State is the deployment of religion by the political elite to swing juicy positions for their cronies. When we fight to enthrone religious supremacy, we ignite a fire that will make a bonfire of not only us but unborn generations to come.


Sadly, Governor Sani has not shown any disposition to unlearn the old path trodden in the last eight years by his predecessor. He may have reviewed school fees, but he has a long way to go. I know those presently serving in the APC-led government from the southern zone may have done nothing for their zone, but the need for inclusiveness should be emphasised.


As the intrigues over who replaces rage, I make quick to plead with President Tinubu to ensure that the replacement for the el-Rufai ministerial nominee should be someone from the Southern part. Having been convinced that Sani cannot be trusted to birth a new dawn of justice for the state by addressing the serial and discriminatory tendencies of the past.

In the light of this fact, the president should look into the urgency of appointing a minister of Southern extraction in order to convince all and sundry that the APC in Kaduna State was not set up to denigrate and reduce to political nothingness the population of non-Muslims in Kaduna State and the country in general.


Let me be categorical here that in ensuring justice and equity for all, I suggest a Christian candidate to be replaced as a replacement for the rejected el-Rufai ministerial confirmation. Now that Governor Sani has shown clearly that he intends to continue with the discriminatory measures against non-Muslims, the Tinubu-led presidency should ensure a non-Muslim is appointed to replace el-Rufai’s rejection as minister. I state this, not because of being a bigot as some are wont to accuse me; I state this because our Federation is hinged on providing equal opportunities and representation across socio-economic, religious and ethnic divides.


For the avoidance of doubt, I have mentioned three names above that have contributed to the development of the party. They are not only eminently qualified in all ramifications; they have become the shining lights of the APC in Kaduna State, including possessing the academic qualifications that are unmatchable. Appointing a minister from Southern Kaduna can lead to more support in Kaduna State that has become a state dedicated to the promotion of religious bigotry that is presently suffocating the State.


Musa, an Abuja-based media practitioner, writes from Abuja, and can be reached via: simonreef927@gmail.com

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