I rejected Tinubu’s Muslim-Muslim ticket in 2007 as my running mate- Atiku
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar has revealed that he fell out with Asiwaju Bola Tinubu in 2007 over the latter’s push for a Muslim-Muslim ticket ahead of the April , 2007 presidential election.
Atiku stated thison Friday, in an Arise TV interview monitor by Solacebase.
He said the APC presidential candidate had long been blind to Nigeria’s religious plurality and had supported fielding presidential candidates of the same faith.
The former vice president spoke against the backdrop of the angry reactions trailing Tinubu’s decision to pick a fellow Muslim, Senator Kashim Shettima, as his running mate in the 2023 presidential election.
According to him, “My fundamental disagreement with Asiwaju (Bola Tinubu) since 2007 was on the issue of Muslim-Muslim ticket. That was my fundamental disagreement and departure politically from Asiwaju,” Atiku said, while blaming the President Muhammadu Buhari-led APC government for worsening disunity and lack of tolerance amongst the citizens.
“Remember that I came out of PDP (defected) on the issue of zoning and together with Asiwaju we formed the ACN (Action Congress of Nigeria) and I was given the ticket in Lagos and he (Tinubu) insisted to be my running mate and I said no! I am not going to have a Muslim-Muslim ticket and because of that, he switched his support to the late Umaru Yar’Adua. That was the parting point.”
Atiku further said that his rejection of a Muslim-Muslim ticket after the ACN and the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), amongst others, merged to form the APC had stopped Buhari from picking Tinubu, a fellow Muslim, as his running mate.
“And of course, it is also a fact that when Buhari emerged (as APC’s candidate) in 2015 in Lagos I opposed a Muslim-Muslim ticket and my opposition actually reinforced the decision of President Buhari to pick a Christina running mate.
“I don’t believe it is right for a country like Nigeria. In a multi-ethnic, multi-religious country, there should be balance of interest, whether religious or otherwise,” he said.
The Turakin Adamawa also responded to a question on if Tinubu’s decision to pick a running mate from the North East will not affect his prospects at the polls since he (Atiku) also hails from the North East.
“Certainly, my prospects are much. I think it is an unfair question to ask me because I know that my prospects are much higher. I believe you know the composition of the North East. You have Borno and Yobe: these are essentially two Kanuri states and you have other states which are essentially Hausa-Fulani states. So, if indeed people are going to vote on that basis, I think I have a more favourable (outlook) from the North East.”
It could be recalled that Tinubu had said that his decision to pick a fellow Muslim as running mate was not taken “based on religion or to please one community or the other”.
“I made this choice because I believe this is the man who can help me bring the best governance to all Nigerians, period, regardless of their religious affiliation or considerations of ethnicity or region, Tinubu stated this at the unveiling of Shettima as the vice presidential candidate of the APC.