Kaduna State Governor Nasir El-Rufai has debunked rumours that he is planning to replace his deputy, Mr Bala Bantex, ahead of the 2019 elections.
Governor El-Rufai faulted the report, saying there is no plan to replace Bantex with a former Secretary to the State Government, Lawal Yakawada.
This followed a secret meeting of some key political appointees, allegedly chaired by the governor, where it was decided that the deputy governor, who is from Southern Kaduna, would be replaced with Yakawada, a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
A statement issued by El-Rufai’s senior special assistant on media and publicity, Samuel Aruwan, however, described the report as “hoax” aimed at causing division in the state along ethnic and religious lines.
“The whole drift of the fabricated minutes is to stoke division along the lines of region and religion,” the statement said.
“This fake news is clearly the handiwork of desperados unhappy at the successes achieved in stabilising Southern Kaduna and restoring the normalcy that ordinary citizens need to build their lives.”
Aruwan appealed to people of the state to disregard the report, saying the “sinister motive” and the agenda behind it was to create religious and ethnic tension in Kaduna State.
“We will not allow these forces of darkness to achieve their goal of setting the state on fire and dividing people.
“Governor El-Rufai will never be distracted from implementing his development agenda across the length and breadth of Kaduna State.
“We hereby appeal to citizens of the state to disregard the purported minutes as the divisive hoax of people frightened that the old order of division and spoils that sustained them is being crushed,” the statement said.