Governor Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna State has revealed why he picked Dr (Mrs) Hadiza Balarabe, a fellow Muslim, as his running mate for the 2019 election, explaining that he went through a difficult process to arrive at the decision.
el-Rufai, who spoke while receiving the people of Sanga local government of the state who came to thank him for picking Dr. Balarabe as his running mate, said when the current deputy, Yusuf Bala, a Christian, opted last year to run for the Senate in 2019, he had a problem as to who he would pick as his running mate.
The governor said 32 persons were pencilled down initially and after sorting, it was narrowed down to 12 later 7 and later 5.
He revealed that when the list was pruned down to 5 that he took it to President Muhammadu Buhari to help him decide.
El-rufai said when the president saw the list, he said he did not know any among them but advised El-Rufai to remove any name that is older than him.
He said that further reduced the names of persons on the list to four made up of two men and two women.
“The president then told me that since I have included women in the list I should give them priority and that was how we arrived at Dr. Balarabe. But the president also asked me how old she was and I said I did not know because among the documents I had her age was not there. The president then said he hoped Dr. Balarabe is neither a Fulani nor Hausa like me and I said I do not know her ethnic group but I told him she’s related to one of his aides, Alhaji Maikano, then he said if that is the case then she’s Numana.”
He said the next challenge for him was how to get Dr. Balarabe’s number and that it was his third wife that gave it to him after he made some calls.
“When I called her she said she was in Kenya, I told her I just came out of the president’s office and he has affirmed that you should be my running mate in the 2019 elections and I asked her whether she accepts.
“She did not give an answer immediately but she called me back after some minutes and said she’d accepted,” the governor explained.
He said after making the choice many respected persons called to tell him that he made the right choice as Dr. Balarabe is hard working and competent.
el-Rufai said those that are criticizing the choice of Dr. Balarabe are those who would never have voted for him in the first place and said she was not appointed based on her religious beliefs.
Earlier, the paramount ruler of Numana in Sanga LG where Dr. Hadiza Balarabe hails from, Brigadier-General Aliyu Yamma (Rtd), said the choice of their daughter had given them the hope of being in government.
He said successive administrations had forgotten the people of the area as far as participation in government was concerned.
“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,” he said.