The Kaduna State Governor, Nasir el-Rufai, has said President Muhammadu Buhari was aware of his decision to pick a fellow Muslim, Dr. Hadiza Balarabe, as his running mate for the 2019 governorship election.
El-Rufai said this on Tuesday when he hosted the people of Sanga Local Government Area of the state at the Sir Kashim Ibrahim Government House, Kaduna.
The governor told the people of the area who came to thank him for picking their daughter as his running mate, that she was the right choice for the position based on her competence and performance.
He said: “About a year ago, the Deputy Governor, Barnabas Bala, told me that he was going to contest the senatorial election.
“I was in a dilemma to get a replacement for him.
“So, we started with a list of people for consideration and I had up to 32 names, including the names of some people seated with me here today.
“Then, we started selection and dropping names based on merit.
“From 32 names to 17 to 12 and then five, 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 me should be dropped.
“Then one name was dropped, remaining two men and two women.
“Then he said since you are interested in a woman, pick the best woman.
“That was how I picked Hadiza, because she was the best.”
El-Rufai, therefore declared that the choice of his running mate was based on competence and capacity to perform.
He said: “Muslim-Muslim ticket is not a religious ticket but a competence and performance ticket.”
He said most of those against his decision for a Muslim-Muslim ticket were those who did not vote for him in 2015, adding: “The people that have criticised me most on this are people who never voted me in the first place.
“So, they not supposed to be celebrating it.
“In their own opinion, I have made a wrong choice.
“Then, why are they mourning?”
The Paramount ruler of Numana in Sanga LGA, retired Brigadier General Aliyu Yamma, said the choice of Balarabe had given them hope of being in government.
Yamma said: “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.”