The presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar, has said that he rejected Bola Tinubu’s request to be his presidential running mate in 2007 on the platform of Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) because of Muslim-Muslim ticket.
Atiku, while speaking during an exclusive interview with Arise TV on Friday morning said that Muslim-Muslim presidential ticket has been the main cause of his “fundamental disagreement” with the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).
Atiku recalled how he left PDP before the 2007 general elections because of zoning and formed an ally with Tinubu on ACN, where he (Atiku) became the presidential candidate.
However, Atiku said that when he refused to pick Tinubu as running mate, he (Tinubu) switched his support to the late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua of the opposition PDP. The ACN later lost the presidential seat to PDP, after which, Atiku returned to PDP.
Responding to question about Tinubu’s choice of a former Governor of Borno State, Kashim Shettima, a fellow Muslim as his running mate, the former Vice President said, “My fundamental disagreement and political departure with Asiwaju (Bola Tinubu) since 2007 was due to the Muslim-Muslim ticket.
“Remember, I opted out of PDP because of zoning, and together with Asiwaju we formed ACN,” Atiku said.
“Tinubu wanted to be my running mate when I was given the ACN presidential ticket in 2007, but I disagreed. And because of that, he switched his support to the late Umar Yar’Adua. That was the parting point.
“The Muslim-Muslim ticket has always been my fundamental disagreement. Nigeria is a multi-ethnic and multi-religious nation, and there should be a religious balance in our leadership.
“We are still friends, of course. But that doesn’t mean we won’t have political differences. We have been having political differences ever since we became friends. Nothing unusual about that.”
There has been controversy over Tinubu’s choice of a Muslim-Muslim ticket with key stakeholders including top members and some chieftains of the ruling party describing it as insensitivity to the religious diversity of Nigeria and neglect of principle of equity and fairness.
saharareporters, new york