Nasir el-Rufai, governor of Kaduna, says the “fixation” of Nigerians on the religion of political office holders is “pathetic and sad”.
El-Rufai spoke on Friday in an interview with Channels Television.
With the election of presidential candidates of political parties, there have been concerns about the religion of the candidates and their intended running mates.
Since the two major political parties — All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) — have Muslim presidential candidates, many people, including the Christian Association of Nigeria have asked that their running mates should be Christians.
Asked to react to the speculation of a Muslim-Muslim presidential ticket in the APC, the Kaduna governor said the business of governance has nothing to do with religion.
He added that religion will not solve the problems of Nigeria, adding it is the competency of the elected leaders that will solve the problems.
“I don’t look at people from the lens of Muslim-Muslim or Christian-Christian, some of my closest friends are Christians,” he said.
“It was Pastor Tunde Bakare, a pentecostal pastor, who took me to CPC, not President Muhammadu Buhari. I’m very close to Pastor Bakare. I’m very close to many Christians.
“I don’t think the business of governance has to do with religion. I think we should look for the best person for the job. The person who will get the job done.
“I’m the wrong person to ask that question because in my state I picked a very competent and qualified woman as my running mate in the 2019 elections.
“But just because she happens to be a Muslim, people were calling it Muslim-Muslim ticket and they said we are going to lose. We didn’t. We won overwhelmingly.
“This fixation of Nigerians with religion instead of competence, capacity and capability is quite sad and pathetic and I urge you as the media to take religion out of governance and let’s look for capacity, competence and delivery.
“I don’t think we should be looking at religion. We want to develop this country. When I get into a plane I don’t ask about the religion of the pilot. When I go to the hospital, I don’t ask about the religion of the doctor. I just want to get well and get to my destination even on an aircraft.