Kaduna State Governor, Nasir el-Rufai, has said that he is aware that 67 per cent of Christians in southern Kaduna will not vote for him in the governorship election even if he picks the Pope as his running mate.
Mr el-Rufai, who was a guest on Channels TV’s Sunrise Daily programme on Thursday, said Nigeria ought to divorce religion from politics.
He added that there was a need for competence to be given priority ahead of religion and ethnicity, hence his decision to run with a Muslim/Muslim ticket in the 2019 governorship election.
The governor, who is a Muslim, had come under harsh criticisms from the Christian Association of Nigeria and other interests groups for picking a Muslim as running mate.
El-Rufai, who is the candidate of the All Progressives Congress, said even his outgoing deputy, Yusuf Bantex, who is a Christian, was treated like an outcast because he was in the APC.
“What if I tell you that no matter who I choose as my running mate, even if I choose the Pope, 67 per cent of the Christians in southern Kaduna have made up their minds that they will never vote for me.
“This is what the polls show.
“So, for me, that is not the issue. The issue is this: Kaduna State is divided, it needs to be united. The way to begin to unite it is to take religion or ethnicity off the table.
“Since 1992, every deputy governor of Kaduna has been a Christian. What has it done for the state? Has it united the state? Has it assuaged the feelings of the Christian minority?” he said.