Monday, 27 October 2014

Obasanjo Replies Buhari: Muslim-Muslim Ticket Is Unacceptable

Religion is undeniably a very big issue in Nigerian politics, with the growing suspision that General Buhari is most likely going to pick Governor Fashiola of Lagos State, who is a muslim  as his Vice, people are becoming unconfortable. The Muslim/Muslim ticket won't go down well in Nigeria, atleast for now, they opin.

President Olusegun Obasanjo, has warned political parties and their leaders against the idea of fielding either Muslim-Muslim or Christian-Christian as presidential and vice-presidential candidates for the February 14, 2015 election.

He said in a terse statement made available to journalists in Abeokuta, Ogun State on Sunday that such idea was dangerous given the current happenings in the polity.

    Obasanjo’s statement read, “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 proselytisation 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 very bad politics indeed.”

Although Obasanjo made no mention of any political party or politician in the statement, he appeared to have alluded to Muhammadu Buhari’s comment that he is not opposed to a Muslim-Muslim ticket.

Buhari had in an interview published on Saturday by an online newspaper that he had an open mind on a Muslim-Muslim ticket.

The presidential aspirant argued that he had shown in the past that he was not a religious fundamentalist by picking Christians as his running mates. His former running mates are Chuba Okadigbo; Edwin Ume-Ezeoke and Tunde Bakare.

He had said, “Nigerians will always uncover impossible room for manoeuvre 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 Okadigbo as my running mate. He was a Roman Catholic. He was an Igbo. In 2007, I picked Ume-Ezeoke. He was a Roman Catholic. He was an Igbo. And in 2010, I chose even a pastor. 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 added that the late MKO Abiola, a southern Muslim, picked Babagana Kingibe, a northern Muslim, as his running mate in the 1993 presidential election.

The Muslim-Muslim ticket won the election generally considered as the fairest and freest election in Nigeria.

Buhari is believed to be looking in the direction of Lagos State Governor Babatunde Fashola, who is also a muslim, as his running mate.

APC Publicity Secretary, Lai Mohammed told Punch that the party had “noted” Obasanjo’s advice.

APC, PDP legislators, others disagree
The caucuses of PDP and APC in the House of Representatives differed on the issue. The Minority Leader of the House, Femi Gbajabiamila, said the character of the presidential candidates should be the focus and not the religion.

He explained that Nigeria could have “all-Muslim” candidates or “all-Christian candidates.”

Gbajabiamila added, “For us, it doesn’t matter whether it is a Muslim-Muslim ticket or Christian-Christian ticket. What people are looking out for is development and good governance. We should be looking at the character of the person and what he can offer, not his religion.”

But, the PDP caucus praised Obasanjo for bringing the issue to the fore. The Deputy Leader of the House, Leo Ogor, said members were in support of Obasanjo.

“The former President spoke well. We are totally in support of what he has said.”


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