Kaduna State Governor, Malam Nasir El-Rufai, has given reasons over the choice of Dr. Hadiza Balarabe as his running mate in 2019 gubernatorial election, saying Balarabe was chosen based on her competence and antecedents.
The Governor made the clarification on Tuesday, while playing host to people of Sanga Local Government, where Balarabe hails from, who paid him a ‘thank you’ visit over the choice of their daughter.
While narrating the journey that led to the choice of Dr. Hadiza Balarabe, Governor El-Rufai said: “About a year ago, the Deputy Governor, Architect Barnabas Yusuf Bala told me he was going to contest for Senate, I was in dilemma to get a replacement for Architect Bantex.
“So, we started filing 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 names to 17 to 12 and then five names, three males and two females.”
Explaining how he tried to get in touch with Balarabe, the governor said the next challenge for him was how to get Balarabe’s number and that it was his third wife that gave it to him after he made some calls.
He said: “When I called her she said she was in Kenya, I told her that she will be my running mate in the 2019 elections and I asked her whether she will accept it.
“She did not give an answer immediately but she called me back after some minutes and said she accepted.”
He said after making the choice, many respected persons called to tell him that he made the right choice as Balarabe is hard working and competent.
He added: “From the beginning, I had told my team that, I will never choose or deny anyone appointment because of religion or ethnicity.”
While speaking on Balarabe’s giant strides in her previous assignment, El-Rufai said his running mate has repositioned the state primary healthcare development agency where she was Executive Secretary.
Earlier, the Sanga people said the appointment of their daughter, Dr. Hadiza Balarabe as the running mate to governor El-rufai for the 2019 election, has given them hope that they actually belong in the affairs of governance.
Speaking on behalf of the community, the traditional ruler of Numana, Etu Numana, Brig-Gen. Aliyu Yamma (Rtd), said over the years, the successive governments had forgotten the people of the area as far as participation in governance was concerned.
He noted: “The governor couldn’t have made a better choice than the selection of Hadiza. We now feel a sense of belonging in Kaduna government.”
He also appealed to Governor El-rufai to ensure establishment of Army Battalion in Sabon Gida village because of insecurity in the area.
He added: “The Sabo Gida has become a hideout for criminals, these criminals run from Plateau state to hide here, so we are calling on the governor to help us with the establishment of Army Battalion in Sabo Gida.”