Former President Olusegun Obasanjo yesterday came hard on former head of State and All Progressives Congress (APC) presidential aspirant, Gen. Mohammed Buhari (rtd) saying that Muslim-Muslim ticket is not in tune with the present day Nigeria.
Obasanjo, in a statement issued in Abeokuta yesterday and made available to newsmen, said “it will be insensitive to the point of absurdity for any leader or any political party to be toying with Muslim- Muslim or Christian-Christian ticket at this juncture”.
It could be recalled that Buhari, in an interview with an on-line media, said he saw nothing wrong with Muslim- Muslim or Christian-Christian ticket.
Buhari said, in the interview, that he “had demonstrated to Nigerians that he is not a fundamentalist and “there is nothing more I can do”.
He said: “Nigerians will always uncover impossible room for maneuver for politicians. I had to face one of the governors during one of our party’s meetings (over the issue of religion).
“In 2003, I chose Chuba Okadigbo as my running mate. He was a Roman Catholic; he was an Igbo. In 2007, I picked Edwin Ume-Ezeoke. He was a Roman Catholic; he was an Igbo. And in 2010, I chose even a pastor, Tunde Bakare. “Honestly, what do Nigerians want me to do? If they don’t believe I’m not a fundamentalist, what else can I do?”
He likened his situation to that of Moshood Abiola, a southern Muslim, who picked Babagana Kingibe, a northern Muslim as running mate in the 1993 presidential election. The Muslim-Muslim ticket went on to win an election that is still considered by many as the most credible in Nigeria’s history.
“I have not absolutely closed my mind to picking a Christian or Muslim as running mate if I get the ticket; because I firmly believe that Nigerians, having gone through what they have gone through, realize it is not a matter of religion, but a matter of Nigeria.
“And the main religions, Christianity and Islam, they know and they believe in the almighty God. The question of stealing and short-changing people in the name of religion should stop,” he said.
But Obasanjo in his reaction said, “Sensitivity is a necessary ingredient for enhancement of peace, security and stability at this point in the political discourse and arrangement for Nigeria and for encouraging confidence and trust.
“It will be insensitive to the point of absurdity for any leader or any political party to be toying with Muslim-Muslim or Christian-Christian ticket at this juncture.
Nigeria cannot at this stage raise the spectre and fear of Islamisation or Christianisation. The idea of proselytization in any form is a grave danger that must not be contemplated by any serious-minded politician at this delicate situation in Nigeria, as this time is different from any other time.
“Therefore, disregarding the fact that there are fears that need to be allayed at this point will amount not only to insensitivity of the highest order but will also amount to”, he stated.