… says he wanted to be my running mate, but I refused
Presidential candidate of the main opposition Peoples Democratic Party, Atiku Abubakar, says a Muslim-Muslim presidential ticket has been the crux of his “fundamental disagreement” with the presidential flagbearer of the ruling All Progressives Congress, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu since 2007.
Atiku stated this while speaking on an Arise TV interview programme on Friday.
Tinubu choice of the former Borno State governor, Senator Kashim Shettima, as his running mate for the APC presidential ticket has continued to generate heated debates among Nigerians because both of them are Muslims.
In the runup to the 2007 general elections, Atiku and Tinubu were allies.
Atiku had defected from the PDP to pick the presidential ticket of the then Action Congress, a party formed by Tinubu.
But AC lost the 2007 presidential election to PDP’s Umaru Yar’Adua. Atiku later returned to the PDP.
Both politicians later reunited in the APC in 2014, but Atiku eventually returned to the PDP.
But Atiku in his reaction on Friday to Tinubu’s choice of a Muslim running mate, said that was the reason he and the APC presidential flagbearer “departed politically.”
He claimed that Tinubu’s plan was to become his running mate for the AC presidential ticket, but he rejected the idea.
He, however, stated that he and Tinubu are “still friends” inspite of their “political differences.”
The PDP flagbearer said, “My fundamental disagreement and political departure with Asiwaju [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.
“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 Yaradua. 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.”