Catholic Priests in Nigerian State Urge President to Address Former Governor’s “fallacies”

President Bola Ahmed Tinubu (right) urged to “correct the fallacies” that the immediate former governor of Kaduna State, Nasir Ahmad El-Rufai (left), made in a viral video. Credit: Courtesy Photo

Members of the Nigeria Catholic Diocesan Priests Association (NCDPA) in the country’s Kaduna State are calling on President Bola Ahmed Tinubu to “correct the fallacies” that the immediate former governor of the Nigerian State made in a viral video.

In the just under 6-minute video that has been translated and transcribed, former governor Nasir Ahmad El-Rufai sought to justify the securing of Muslim dominance in key political sectors in the Nigerian State over the years, including the adoption of Muslim-Muslim tickets for governor and president.

In a Thursday, June 8 open letter addressed to President Tinubu, NCDPA members in Kaduna State say, “With consternation and utter disillusionment, we watched the now viral videoclip in which the former governor, Nasiru El-Rufai, while addressing a group of Islamic clerics with you sitting by his side, made comments that objectively amount to a divisive, bigoted, hateful and completely unstatesmanlike declaration of Islamic political supremacism in Kaduna State and Nigeria.”

“We cannot fold our hands and watch unpatriotic persons who neither live in the state nor care about it, come and set it ablaze at will. Moreso, we and our congregations have prominently been at the receiving end of the terrors of ineffective governance, especially in the last eight (8) years,” NCDPA members in Kaduna State say.

In the letter that NCDPA President and the Secretary General co-signed, Diocesan Priests in Kaduna State say that they “expect” the President who was sworn in on May 29 to “use your good office to correct the fallacies that the former Governor's actions and comments have created and propagated.”


“We therefore earnestly expect your direct official reaction to the utterances of your predecessor in office, the former Governor,” NCDPA members in Kaduna State tell Nigeria’s new President. 

They continue, “This non-negotiable expectation will go a long way to reaffirm the populace that the Constitution is respected by you, and thus bring some measure of the now deeply-battered (if not decimated) calm, quiet and confidence needed.”

In the viral video, Mr. El-Rufai who was speaking in Hausa says that since 2019, the development realized in Kaduna State regardless of people’s political and religious affiliations proves the effectiveness of “a government that has a Muslim as governor, a Muslim as deputy governor, a Muslim as SSG (secretary of state government), a Muslim as chief of staff, (and) a Muslim as finance commissioner.”

The former Governor goes on to admit that “of course, we consider the religious aspect but I can’t say that,” and in an attempt to justify the Muslim dominance and deny discrimination against Christians poses, “But what I am saying is who is being oppressed?”

Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW), a UK-based human rights foundation that advocates for the upholding and protection of the right to freedom of religion or belief, has formerly faulted the former Governor’s remarks for being nonfactual.

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A Tuesday, June 6 CSW report indicates, “In reality, predominantly Christian southern Kaduna experienced a significant rise in armed attacks during El-Rufai’s eight years in office, with thousands killed, thousands more displaced, and hundreds of villages destroyed, occupied by militia or too dangerous to approach.”

Those who spoke out against the attacks, CSW report further indicates, “were regularly detained arbitrarily and indefinitely, disarmed, or harassed judicially.”

Apart from also being criticized for allegedly ordering the demolition of 900 buildings towards the end of his tenure as governor of Kaduna State, Mr. El-Rufai has also been criticized “for allegedly favouring Muslims in the allocation of state resources for capital projects and employment opportunities,” CSW further indicates in the June 6 report.

Meanwhile, in their June 8 open letter addressed to Nigeria’s new Head of State, Diocesan Priests in Kaduna State say, “We are fully aware that as guaranteed both by Natural Law and the Nigerian Constitution, Kaduna State and its resources is our common patrimony irrespective of ethnic, cultural or religious diversity and disparity.”

“As such, elements who are notoriously seen to be despotic, divisive, inciting and eminent failures in building peace should be hiding their faces in shame, rather than be publicly seen standing by you and using your religion or party to promote extremist exclusion and anarchy without consequences, because ours’ is certainly not in a lawless society,” NCDPA members in Kaduna State say.


They note that their “disappointment and shock did not stem only from the utterances of the former governor, but more from the endorsement he received from the audience, made-up of Muslim clerics who excitedly cheered him on.”

“It was more shocking because these are the same clerics with whom we have been in constant dialogue and discussion on how to help entrench harmony, peace and mutual respect for our different faith-persuasions,” NCDPA members in Kaduna State lament.

The Catholic Priests continue in reference to the Muslim cleric who cheered on Mr. El-Rufai as he addressed them, “They are the same clerics we have called friends and partners in inter-religious dialogue, and now they seem to stab their friends in the back.”

“Religion occupies the place given it under the Constitution, and should never be used as a cover up for incompetence and failure. The peace and progress of our state should never be traded for some atrocious political expediency,” Diocesan Priests in Kaduna State say.

Jude Atemanke is a Cameroonian journalist with a passion for Catholic Church communication. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from the University of Buea in Cameroon. Currently, Jude serves as a journalist for ACI Africa.