The Peoples Democratic Party, PDP presidential candidate in 2023 elections, Atiku Abubakar has opened up on his point of political departure with his friend and one time political ally, Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
Speaking on Friday morning in an exclusive interview on Arise TV, the former vice president said his fundamental political disagreement with Bola Tinubu was on Muslim-Muslim ticket, stating that the former Lagos Governor wanted to be his running mate in 2007 when he was the presidential candidate of the now defunct, Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN.
He said, he opposed the plan and opted for a Christian vice presidential candidate from the South-East region of the country, an action which prompted Tinubu to move his political structure to support the late President, Umaru Musa Yar’Adua.
“My fundamental disagreement with Asiwaju since 2007 was on the issue of Muslim-Muslim ticket, that was my fundamental disagreement and departure politically from Asiwaju.
“Remember I came out of the PDP on the issue of zoning and together with Asiwaju we formed ACN and I was given a ticket in Lagos and he insisted on being 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 President Umaru Yar’Adua, that was the parting point.
Bemoaning the dangers of a Muslim-Muslim ticket in a religious sensitive country like Nigeria, the former Vice President further stated that he opposed a similiar arrangement in 2015 which compelled President Muhammadu Buhari to pick a Christian as his running mate.
“And of course it is also a fact that when Buhari emerged in 2015 in Lagos, I opposed a Muslim-Muslim ticket and my own position actually reinforced the decision of President Buhari to pick a Christian running mate.
“I have all along opposed that, I don’t believe in that, I don’t believe it is right for a country like Nigeria, a multi-ethnic, multi-religious country, I believe there should be a balancing of interests, whether religious or otherwise.
Recall that the All Progressives Congress, APC presidential candidate, Bola Tinubu last week nominated former Borno Governor, Kashim Shettima as his running mate on a joint Muslim-Muslim ticket.
Since the nomination and eventual unveiling on Wednesday, various commentators have described the action as an act of insensitivity from the camp of Tinubu to the multi-religiousity of Nigeria and the need to have a Muslim-Christian ticket which will douse the already charged religious tension in Nigeria.