- Atiku, Tinubu Trade Tackles
- APC, PDP In War Of Words
The controversies surrounding the Muslim-Muslim ticket in Nigeria has refused to die down.
Two of the top contenders in the 2023 Presidential Election Bola Tinubu of the ruling All-Progressives Congress (APC) and Atiku Abubakar, the flag-bearer of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)have been at logger heads regarding the issue.
Trouble was stoked when Atiku, a former Vice President of Nigeria in an interview granted to Arise TV alleged that he parted ways politically with Tinubu because of the issue.
In the interview with ARISE TV, Atiku said the Muslim-Muslim ticket, which is generating a controversy in the country at the moment, made him not to choose Tinubu as a running mate in 2007.
“The Muslim-Muslim ticket has always been my fundamental disagreement. Nigeria is a multiethnic and multi-religious nation and there should be a religious balance in our leadership,” he said.
“He (Tinubu) insisted on running with me and I didn’t believe it was right to have a Muslim-Muslim ticket. That was the point of my fundamental departure with him.”
The accusation did not go down well with Tinubu who wasted no time in labeling the PDP’s flagbearer as a pathological liar who has lost his moral compass.
Tinubu stated this in a statement issued by his Media aide, Mr. Tunde Rahman.
He said Atiku in his desperate attempt to win the election by stoking religious bias reduced himself to uttering baseless lies during his exclusive interview with Arise TV.
Tinubu said: “We are saddened to see such a man become unhinged from the truth. So obsessed is he with his quest for office, Atiku is willing to render any form of untruth if he thinks it might gain him a single vote. Atiku may want to be president. However, all he has shown is that he is pathological,”
“Whatever moral compass he had has been lost. During a 22 July television interview, Atiku assaulted historic truth by lying that he did not name Tinubu as his running mate in 2007 on the Action Congress ticket because Atiku did not want a Muslim as his running mate.”
Responding to the false account of Atiku, Tinubu set the record straight, saying the former Vice President Atiku was not among those who founded the Action Congress.
He added: “It was the actual founders of the AC who offered the party’s flag to Atiku because of the need to fight the authoritarian designs then President Obasanjo and the PDP had on Nigeria’s democracy.
“At that moment, Atiku had been unceremoniously pushed aside if not out of the PDP by Obasanjo. We needed to rally all forces to confront the one-party state Obasanjo had in mind. Atiku was simply a beneficiary of this collective duty to fight the attack on multi-party democracy the PDP had launched.
“I feel sorry for dear old Atiku. Love of his own ambition has eclipsed his relationship with the truth and an honest account of the past. We formed the AC without his knowledge. When President Obasanjo virtually exiled him from the PDP, we lent him our support by giving him the AC platform for the 2007 election.
“Let me say openly that Atiku offered me the vice presidential ticket in 2007. Let me also say that my religion has not changed. When he offered the position to me, I was a Muslim and I believe he was aware of my religious faith at the time.”
Tinubu noted that Atiku’s calculations and deceit had nothing to do with religion or his sensitivity to it, adding that his conduct has everything to do with what they discovered about his paucity of character and love of intrigue.
He said: “True to form, Atiku, fifteen years later, promised HE Governor Nyesom Wike the same thing this electoral season and similarly reneged. Governor Wike is a Christian.
“When it comes to intrigue, we can say that Atiku is without bias. He will attempt to lie and deceive both Christian and Muslim with equal vigour.
“Atiku has no business raising the issue of a Muslim-Muslim ticket except as a hypocrite. Perhaps he believes people have forgotten his antics during the 1993 election. After he woefully lost his bid to be the presidential candidate of the Social Democratic Party, what did he do? He canvassed and lobbied harder than anyone to become the running mate to late Chief MKO Abiola. When it benefitted him personally, Atiku did not see anything wrong with Muslim-Muslim ticket. He saw everything right in such a ticket as long as he was on it.
“Now, Atiku criticizes my selection as running mate based on religion. He does so because he cannot criticize it on other grounds. If Atiku were to have one of his rare moments of honesty, he would admit that the person I selected as my running mate is more qualified for the position than the man who joined him. And this conclusion has nothing to do with religious faith. It has everything to do with competence, experience, ability, and vision.”
“My running mate and I are here to build a more just and prosperous society for all Nigerians, be they Christian, Muslim or adherents of other faiths. It seems that Atiku is here trying to build an edifice of lies and call that the house into which Nigerians should walk and reside. He will fail in this sad attempt to trick an entire nation.
“Let me restate my position on religion and politics. When I decided that Senator Shettima was the best selection as my running mate, I listened to and weighed in serious balance the advice received from a broad and representative array of wonderful Nigerians who deeply care about this nation and the path it must go.
“Some people counselled that I should select a Christian to garner support of the Christian community. Some said I should select a Muslim for a similar reason. I clearly could not do both. Both positions had merit and right on their side. But neither position expressed what was most right and needed for the moment in which we find ourselves and the nation.”
The choice of Shettima as Tinubu’s running mate has led to a war of word between the ruling party and the opposition party.
It would be recalled that days after Mr Shettima was announced as Mr Tinubu’s running mate, some Christian political leaders in the APC rejected the party’s decision to field the former Borno governor as the party’s vice-presidential candidate.
They described it as a display of crass insensitivity to the complexity of modern Nigeria and the entire Church.
They said it is also a betrayal of the advocates of unity and peaceful co-existence with the Muslims including notable Imams who had “forewarned the party and the candidate from traveling that treacherous route.”
Similarly, a former Secretary General of the Federation, Babachir Lawal, condemned the party’s decision, describing it as “satanic” and an avenue for failure in 2023.
Some prominent members of the APC, including the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan; his deputy, Ovie Omo-Agege as well as lawmakers of the APC North-east caucus have hailed Mr Shettima’s choice.
They described it as an excellent choice.
Both the party’s National Chairman, Abdullahi Adamu and President Muhammadu Buhari have since declared their support for the Tinubu/Shettima ticket.
The party believes it is the best way to secure victory at the polls in 2023.[sc_fs_faq html=”true” headline=”h2″ img=”” question=”Why did Atiku not choose Tinubu as running mate ” img_alt=”” css_class=””] Trouble was stoked when Atiku, a former Vice President of Nigeria in an interview granted to Arise TV alleged that he parted ways politically with Tinubu because of the issue. In the interview with ARISE TV, Atiku said the Muslim-Muslim ticket, which is generating a controversy in the country at the moment, made him not to choose Tinubu as a running mate in 2007. [/sc_fs_faq]