Governor Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna state has confirmed that the state was divided and needed to be united and also blasted South South governors on their position on the case against Chief Justice of the Federation, Justice Walter Onnoghen.
He also said that regardless of who he chooses as his deputy, the Christians in Southern Kaduna will still not vote him as governor in the coming polls.
El-Rufai who appeared on Channel’s Television’s Sunrise Dailyon Thursday said that his choice of a Muslim as his running mate in Kaduna was political.
“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”.
“I am a politician, so everything I do is politically motivated”.
He reported that his choice of running mate was not based on ethnic or religion and urged Nigerians to go beyond these prejudices in the best interest of the nation.
“Kaduna state is divided and needs to be united and the only way to this is to take “religion and ethnicity off the table”.
El-Rufai also reacted to the case of the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Walter Onnoghen at the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB).
El-Rufai said it is time Nigerian leaders and people are reflective in decisions, rather than operate on ethnic or religious biases.
In the case of Onnoghen, the Kaduna state governor said the position taken by governors of the South-south is disheartening.
“One of the most painful things I have experienced in the last two weeks, was the statement by the governors of the South-south, justifying that non-declaration of assets is nothing, is a non-issue because the Chief Justice of Nigeria is from the South-South”.
“Wrong is wrong and right should be right,” he said.
Five out of the six governors of the South-South Governors Forum met and asked Onnoghen not to honour the summons from the Code of Conduct Bureau.
The Bureau had asked the CJN to appear before the Code of Conduct tribunal for alleged non-declaration of assets.
The governors made the call after an emergency meeting in Abuja.
“We call on the CJN to ignore this so-called Court summon from the CCB and the provocative call for his resignation in some quarters,” the governors said in a communique issued after the meeting.
“While we are not opposed to a genuine fight against corruption, such and action must always be anchored on the rule of law.”
The meeting was attended by the governors of Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Cross River, Delta and Rivers with Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo State who is a member of the All Progressives Congress absent.
Bayelsa State Governor, Mr Seriake Dickson, who is the Chairman of the forum had summoned the emergency meeting on Saturday after the CCT announced that the CCB had filed six charges against the CJN with the trial scheduled to start on Monday.
Dickson read the communique after the meeting and said the move by the CCB was unacceptable.
They argued that the legal procedures for investigating allegations of misconduct against judicial officials were not followed in that matter and accused the executive of targetting other arms of government.
“We note that the attempt to drag the CJN to the CCT is also a grave and dangerous escalation of the assault on institutions of state on institutions of state including the National Assembly and judiciary,” they said.
To them, the move is reflective “of the South-South story of endless marginalization and intimidation”.
“The unceremonious removal of former Acting Director General of the Department of State Service, Mathew Seiyefa and his replacement is still very fresh,” they added.
“We not that that unfortunate action against the CJN further reinforces the perception that the Buhari administration has no regard for the sentiments of Nigerians, in particular, the people of Niger Delta, and the rule of law.”