Pres Buhari approved my choice of a Muslim as deputy-El Rufai

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Governor El-Rufai insisted his decision to select Hadiza Balarabe as his running mate was based on merit

– The Kaduna governor said he even consulted President Buhari before making his decision

– He said no one will be denied appointment based on their ethnicity of religion

Governor Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna state has said that he consulted President Muhammadu Buhari before his selection of Hadiza Balarabe as running mate.

The governor had faced criticism following his selection of a Muslim from Sanga local government area in the southern part of the state.

The Cable reports that the governor spoke on Tuesday, November 13 when a delegation from Sanga local government paid him a thank you visit for choosing their daughter.

He said his selection was based on competence and not on religion.

He reiterated that he would not deny or select anyone for appointment based on ethnicity or religion and that those criticising his decision never voted for him in the first place.

He said when Barnabas Bantex, the incumbent deputy governor, told him about a year ago that he was going to contest for senate, he was in a dilemma over how to get a replacement.

He said: “So, we started piling list of people for consideration and I had up to 32 names, including names of some people seated with me here today.

“Then we started selection and dropping of names based on merit. From 32 manes to 17 to 12 and then five names -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 you 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.

“From the beginning, I had told my team that, I will never choose or deny anyone appointment because of religion or ethnicity.

“But some people started all manner of things, ‘Muslim-Muslim ticket’ and so on. But Government House is not a place of worship, we come here to work for the people. The people that have criticised me most on this are people who never voted me in the first place.

“So, are they not supposed to be celebrating, if, in their own opinion, I have made a wrong choice? Then, why are they mourning?”

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