El-Rufai: Tampering with the political norm in choice of running mate

By Mustapha Makarfi

Since the country ventured into democracy in 1999, Kaduna State has never had a Muslim-Muslim governorship ticket. It has never been tried in the political history of the state because of its complexity, nature and composition; with the northern part dominated by Muslims, and southern part by Christians. This time around, that norm is being tampered with, with the selection of one Dr. Hadiza Balarabe, the Executive Secretary of Kaduna State Primary Healthcare Services (PHDs)] as Governor Nasir El-Rufai’s running mate in the forthcoming 2019 governorship election in the state. Dr. Hadiza is one of the committed women that have brought significant and far reaching impacts to the Kaduna state government.

Her selection as a running mate and being a Muslim, though from the southern part of the state, left many of us surprised and wondering what could have informed El-Rufai’s decision. The norm as it used to be remains selecting a southerner and a Christian from the state to balance the equation, politically. A good guess as to what might have informed this not-so-liked decision would have been that El-Rufai wants competent hands around. And Dr. Hadiza was said to have dramatically changed the negative narrative about healthcare facilities and delivery in the state within a very short time. It is unprecedented!

Trouble is El-Rufai’s selection would have serious political consequences. One of which is that he risks staging a PDP comeback in 2019 election. For southern Kaduna, voting El-Rufai, in view of what he has done to the region, would be like a taboo. But on the other hand, El-Rufai is being pragmatic because the constitution does not forbid a Muslim-Muslim ticket. States like Plateau, Taraba and Benue do not even entertain Christian-Muslim ticket despite having significant Muslims population.

Presumably that is why the governor deemed it fit, having the state dominated predominantly by Muslims, to give it a try, though it is certainly going to evoke heated arguments and criticisms. In moments like these, people tend to dwell heavily on bigotry and sectionalism instead of engaging in meaningful discussions in an attempt to see reasons; genuine or otherwise behind such an action.

In the end, what is of crucial importance however is the continued existence of peace in the state. As there are grievances in the marketplace of actions and inactions especially in politics, there are always lots of peaceful avenues to get them addressed. Politics they say is a game of numbers. You have your say when the majority says it is you.

Mustapha Makarfi wrote in from Kaduna.

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