One of the wives of the Kaduna State governor, Hadiza el-Rufai, has defended her husband’s choice of a Muslim as his deputy, insisting that her husband was still popular among Christians despite his action.
The governor’s wife, who spoke with journalists after the result of her husband’s polling unit was announced on Saturday evening, said El-Rufai had not done anything wrong.
She said, “I really don’t know why you people keep harping on the issue of religion. I believe religion is a personal thing. Everybody has the right to practise the religion he or she believes in.
“I think when somebody wants to choose the people that would work for him, he should just look for the best persons regardless of what religion they belong to. I do not think it is a good thing to pick somebody as your running mate just because he happens to be from another religion.
“We have many supporters even among the Christian communities despite the fact the governor picked a Muslim as his running mate. This is not strange at all because there are many states in the country where we have both governor and the deputy from the same religion.”
She added, “I don’t know why it should be different in the case of Kaduna State. Religion has nothing to do with governance; it is personal.”
She urged her husband to give preference to the female gender in his second term in office, saying, “Women have always been in the background and there should be concerted efforts to push them forward.”
She described the results so far declared by the Independent National Electoral Commission as very encouraging, saying, “We have a huge support base. It is just confirming what we have always believed.
“The people are becoming more aware of the policy of the governor and how it had impacted on their lives. They are aware that he is the person for this moment, for this state.”
El-Rufai’s wife lamented the prevalence of the almajiris in the northern part of Nigeria and stressed the need to stop the trend.
She said, “The issue of the almajiris is a very serious one. I don’t know what we are going to do about it but we should try and do something about it.
“If you are elected by the people, you have to look for a creative way to solve problems. We have cultural and religious issues and we have to continue preaching to the mallams (Islamic teachers).
“Almajiris are not beggars, they are students. It is their parents that sent them out to learn the Quran. It has been a practice for a very long time but now times have changed and we need to change with time.”
She added, “The parents of the almajiris are not paying the mallams; what do you expect them to do? How does he feed hundreds of children under his care? Naturally, he will have to send them out to beg.”