Gov. Nasir El-Rufai: Kaduna state, a beautiful state located in the heart of the northwest, is popularly referred to as a miniature Nigeria. This is because the state has a sharp religious demographical spread of Islam and Christianity adherents between the northern and southern zones of the respectively similar to what is obtained in Nigeria.
Kaduna has 23 local government areas spread across the northern senatorial zone, central senatorial zone and southern senatorial zone. Twelve of these 23 local government areas are predominantly Muslims while eleven are predominantly Christians. The state is also constitutionally divided into three senatorial zones, namely; northern, central and southern zones.
The northern senatorial zone, also called zone 1, consists of eight local government areas namely; Ikara, Kudan, Kubau, Lere, Makarfi , Sabon-Gari, Soba and Zaria local government areas. Of the eight local government areas in this zone, only Lere local government area is predominantly Christian, while the other seven are predominantly Muslims.
The central senatorial district, also called zone 2, is made up of seven local government areas namely; Birnin-Gwari, Chikun, Giwa, Igabi, Kaduna north, Kaduna south and Kajuru local government areas. All of these seven local government areas are predominantly Muslims except Chikun and Kajuru local government areas that are predominantly Christians.
The southern senatorial zone, also called zone 3, is made up of eight local government areas. They are; Jaba, Jama’a, Kachia, Kagarko, Kaura, Kauru, Sanga and Zango-Kataf local government areas. All these eight local government areas in this zone are predominantly Christian.
The official population of Kaduna state was put at 6,113,503 with spread as follows;
Northern Zone (Zone 1)
Ikara LGA -194,723
Kubau LGA – 280,704
Kudan LGA – 138,956
Lere LGA – 339,740
Makarfi LGA – 146,574
Sabon-Gari LGA – 291,358
Soba LGA – 291,173
Zaria LGA – 406,990
Central Zone (Zone two)
Birnin-Gwari LGA 258,581
Chikun LGA – 372,272
Giwa LGA – 292,384
Igabi LGA – 430,753
Kaduna North LGA – 364,575
Kaduna South LGA – 402,731)
Kajuru LGA – 109,810
Southern Zone (Zone three)
Jaba LGA – 155,973
Jama’a LGA – 278,202
Kachia LGA – 252,568
Kagarko LGA – 239,058
Kaura LGA – 174,626
Kauru LGA – 221,276
Sanga LGA – 151,485
Zangon-Kataf LGA – 318,991
From official population as seen above, the Muslim predominant north has 2,090,218, the central zone has 2,231,106 population and the Christian predominant south zone has 1,792,179 population, but there is no official fact to ascertain the true population of Christians and Muslims in the state. Nonetheless, the state governor, mallam Nasir Elrufai, a Muslim from the northern senatorial district, argued that the religious demography in the state is 70-30 in favor of the Muslims. The Southern Kaduna Peoples Union (SOKAPU), the umbrella body of the predominately Christian southern Kaduna people, put the religious demography at 50-50. While neutral observers posited that the religious demography in Kaduna state should be between an evenly 50-50 spread, or a 55-45 spread favor of the Muslims.
Political Marginalization Under Governor Nasir El-rufai
Despite the predominance of the Christian population in eleven out of the twenty three local government areas, the Kaduna state government under Governor Nasir Elrufai, a Muslim, chose to perpetuate a brazen act of marginalisation by excluding the state’s Christian population from participating in the affairs of the government since the commencement of his second term. For the first time in the history of Kaduna state, no Christian is found in any of the principal positions across the three arms of government and the civil service.
Governor Nasir Elrufai started the marginalisation in 2018 when he broke the traditional Muslim-Christian ticket or Christian-Muslim ticket in any gubernatorial contests to nominate Hajiyya Hadiza Sabuwa Balarabe, a fellow Muslim as his running mate for the 2019 gubernatorial election after his former deputy, Arc Bala Bantex, a Christian, opted to run for the Senate to represent the people of Kaduna south senatorial district under the platform of All Progressive Congress.
After his victory at the hotly contested Kaduna state 2019 gubernatorial election against Honourable Ashiru Kudan of Peoples Democratic Party, Governor Elrufai shut out Christians in the state from the running of government. This he did by ensuring that only Muslims are appointed as senior principal officers in the government. This is aside the fact that himself and the deputy governor are Muslims.
The principal government officers are:
Secretary to the State Government – Mallam Balarabe Abbas Lawal
Chief of Staff to the Governor – Muhammad Sani Abdullah
Kaduna state Head of Service – Hajiyya Bariatu Yusuf Mohammed
Principal Private Secretary – Dr. Salisu Suleiman.
No Christian Among The Entire Presiding And Principal Officers In Kaduna House of Assembly
The marginalisation continues in the legislative arm of government with no single Christian as a member of any of the presiding and principal offices . The Speaker of the House, Honourable Yusuf Tanimu Zailani, the Deputy Speaker Honourable Muktar Isa Hazo, the Majority Leader Alhaji Haruna M A Inuwa, the Chief Whip, Alhaji Idris Abdullahi, the Deputy Majority Leader Alhaji Shehu Yunusa and Deputy Chief Whip Alhaji Salisu Isah, are all Muslims. Meanwhile, the clerk of the Kaduna state House of Assembly, Bello Zubairu is also a Muslim.
Also The Judiciary…
The head of Kaduna state judicial arm of government and Chief Judge of the state, Justice Muhammad Lawal Bello, is also a Muslim.
As if that is not enough, the only two ministers from Kaduna state in the cabinet of President Muhammadu Buhari, Zainab Ahmed, the minister of finance, and Muhammad Mahmoud, the minister of environment were chosen from the Muslim population.
The development in Kaduna state is indeed a bad omen. It is bad that a state with significant Christian population that are predominant in eleven out of the state’s twenty three local government areas, has no senior principal government official across all the three arms of government of the state. What is more disturbing is that Governor Nasir Elrufai, the perpetrator of this brazen act of religious marginalization in Kaduna state, is aspiring to run as presidential candidate at the Nigeria’s Presidential election at the termination of his second term in 2023.
Tamunotonye Inioribo, can be reached via [email protected]