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The Church Re-Elects El-Rufai

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Say: If your fathers, and your sons, and your brethren, and your wives, and your tribe, and the wealth ye have acquired, and merchandise for which ye fear that there will be no sale, and dwellings ye desire are dearer to you than Allah and His messenger and striving in His way: then wait till Allah bringeth His command to pass. Allah guideth not wrong doing folk.

At-Taubah 9:24

Reminiscent of what happened in 2015, thanks to the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), the 2019 election is making Nigeria’s democracy take the form of a Crusade, turning “the pulpit into a devilish podium” to campaign for the PDP in myriads of states most especially Kaduna. Examples abound in Plateau (causing inter-denominational conflicts), Taraba (now aided by mercantile judgement), Nasarawa and whatnot, but my focus will be on Kaduna because of its notoriety in tribal and religious problems. Muslims’ response in countering this evangelical onslaught on APC and its candidate, the incumbent governor, is to regard participation in the election as a binding Jihad on every believer in Allah and His Messenger, peace be upon him.

If Governor Nasir El-Rufai wins tomorrow’s governorship contest, the Church has inadvertently succoured his re-election efforts by stirring up the hornet’s nest of religious fervour among the adherents of Islam.

In a video clip that went viral on WhatsApp, one Prophet Isa El-Buba, who described himself as one of the “genuine prophets, whose conscience cannot be bought or manipulated”. Quoting from Psalm 59:11-12, Prophet Isa El-Buba said, “Slay them not, that is the wicked and the adversaries, lest my people forget: but one thing we are asking for, scatter them by your power; and bring them down, from their place of authority, O Lord our shield. For the sin of their mouth and the words of their lips let them even be taken in their pride: and for cursing and lying which they speak”.

“There is a man who (sic) is your governor”, he continued amidst thunderous, nay raucous plaudits, “who lied proudly, looked down on the Church, spoke words… that with your votes or minus your votes, he’s still going to win. He has used his mouth to wash down and to look down at the state of the Church. Now, I want to say to all of you, I don’t care your political inclination, whether you are PDP, APC or whatever you are, it’s not about party, it’s about a person that has looked down on the glory of the Church. Therefore, in the pride of El-Rufai, you must remove him from that seat of power. ..you must not allow the agent of the devil to continue to be your governor over Kaduna.”

Prophet El-Buba has not recited El-Rufai’s lies or how the Governor looked down on the Church and undermined the effects of Christian votes in his re-election, but he went on to command the candidate of APGA, Polycarp

Gankon, who was apparently among the worshippers in the church to convene a gathering of all gubernatorial candidates of other parties to step-down for the candidate of the Church in Kaduna State, Isa Ashiru of the PDP.

Amebo News Online published an article by one David Ayuba Azzaman titled Implication of El-Rufai Returning as Governor in Kaduna, in which the writer claims that Southern Kaduna can sway election results to their favoured candidate with “ about 900,000 …bulk votes”, as they did to Yakowa, together with scores of votes from Christians and of another “close to 600,000 …non indigenous people” living in Muslim dominated areas in the state.

Azzaman excoriated El-Rufai, “who”, according to him, “doesn’t hide his hatred for Christianity”, for introducing “a strange policy of Muslim Muslim ticket” which “if achieved will mean that Governors after Nasiru Elrufai will follow suit. A time will also come when they will out rightly (sic) tell us we don’t have David Ayuba Azzaman in Kaduna State.”

Unfortunately, even before the success of the Muslim-Muslim ticket, the handlers of the incumbent Governor of Kaduna State fell prey to the author’s prophesy that his existence will be denied, as a group, El-Rufai/Hadiza Ambassadors (EHA) did just that, as reported by LEADERSHIP of March 2, 2019. EHA said in a statement signed by its chairman, Ahmed Sani, among other points, that “Tactlessly using the obscure name of one David Ayuba Azzaman, the PDP,  sensing impending  defeat at the scheduled governorship and state assembly elections of March 9, attempted to change historical figures and facts to fan the embers of communal  distrust”.

If the people behind EHA had been diligent in their search for his identity they would have found Google virtually littered with David Ayuba Azzaman’s articles which are an embodiment of endemic enmity against El-Rufai, Islam and Muslims. The EHA would have found his picture, when he was ordained as a pastor, as well as his being the President, Network for the Rights of Indigenous and Marginalised People.

Still, in the Amebo News Online article,  Azzaman called on “Southern Kaduna sons and daughters and non-indigenes of Kaduna” to converge in the state for a showdown with the incumbent for the sake of their “children and even those to be born.” Return of the Jackal.

Pastor David adjured “the stakeholders in Southern Kaduna and Christian leaders in Kaduna to seat with” the candidate of the Church and PDP, Ashiru Kudan, to “start negotiating” for possible dividends by coming up with a  ratified covenant of repudiating El-Rufai’s anti-Christian policies “after victory is achieved”, not least, “changing of nomenclature …and sacking of..traditional rulers/institutions”, giving compensation to “the victims of Fulani herdsmen killings” and revisiting “the issue of sacked workers…”

In a swift reaction to Pastor David Ayuba Azzaman’s article, a veteran journalist, resident of Kaduna and Muslim scholar of the Christian Bible, Abubakar Jiddah Usman described the piece as “quite disappointing” and “most unfortunate”. He said “the crux of the matter is not El-Rufa’i’s Muslim-Muslim ticket or his alleged hatred of the Christians, but the Southern Zaria people’s pathological hatred and disdain for Islam and Muslims..” except a few among them.

On Azzaman’s vaunt of demographic capital Abubakar said the claim by “David Ayuba,” of over 900, 000 votes from that area for Late Yakowa, is, to say the least, a shameless exaggeration, unless of course if he’s confirming the over voting that characterised elections in that area before the advent of card readers.”

Abubakar further contended that the “alleged hatred for Christians” as imputed to El-Rufai is false. “It’s a fact”, he said, “that El-Rufa’i, even if he cannot be said to be a nominal  Muslim, one can certainly, would never ever say he’s a fanatical one or type. His office secretary, his right-hand man, Peter, his principal pressmen and many of his closest friends, the like of Pastor Bakere, are Christians to the core. Yet, he hates Christians and Christianity!!!?”

The Church, by consecrating Isa Ashiru as the Christian candidate, has emasculated the will of the Muslims in the state in interrogating the performance of El-Rufai and determining whether or not he deserves a second term. The contest now is between Islam and Christianity. To many Muslims the PDP candidate is Reverend Father Isa Ashiru Kudan, and thus, ensuring his defeat is a Jihad.

On the authority of the above epigraph from Surah Taubah 9,  verse 24  of the Glorious Qur’an, people have forgiven El-Rufai whatsoever infraction he might have committed against them, if there is any, even if it be the killing of one’s parents, progenies, brethren and spouse, or destruction of merchandise and means of livelihood, or the demolition of dwellings and expulsion therefrom; El-Rufai is blameless now that the Church has delineated the sharp edges of belief and infidelity.

Nobody is speaking about the manifestoes of the candidates and their parties. The issue of how to tackle insecurity, reduce illiteracy, unemployment and penury is not on the minds of the electorate. The right to question the capacity and quality of candidates in governance is lost in the cacophony of needless acrimonious campaigns from the Pulpit and the Mimbar.

Therefore, Church has effectively disenfranchised Muslims in PDP who would have otherwise voted for Isa Ashiru. El-Rufai’s handlers can have some respite, religious scholars have taken over gratis campaign in favour of their principal, and if indeed democracy is the game of numbers, the Church re-elects El-Rufai by challenging the Muslims to a leadership contest.

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