Buhari made known that he was open to the idea of a Muslim-Muslim ticket while he was speaking with The Cable. The question was raised because the ex military ruler is perceived as an extremist and his likely combination with another Muslim is believed by some to be too sensitive, Vanguard explains.
The politician claimed however he had demonstrated to Nigerians he was not a religious fundamentalist adding that his running mate could be a Christian or a Muslim.
“In 2003, I chose Chuba Okadigbo as my running mate. He was a Roman Catholic. He was an Igbo. In 2007, I picked Edwin Ume-Ezeoke. He was a Roman Catholic. He was an Igbo. And in 2010, I chose even a 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?”
Insisting that religion is not an issue for 2015, he recalled the situation with southern Muslim Moshood Abiola who picked Babagana Kingibe, a northern Muslim, as running mate in the 1993 presidential elections. In those elections the Muslim-Muslim ticket led to the victory.
Buhari attributed the situation not to the religion but to something that had to do with Nigeria.
“I have not absolutely closed my mind to picking a Christian or Muslim as running mate if I get the ticket. Because I firmly believe that Nigerians, having gone through what they have gone through, realise it is not a matter of religion, but a matter of Nigeria. And the main religions, Christianity and Islam, they know and they believe in the almighty God. The question of stealing and short-changing people in the name of religion should stop.”
As an example, he also recalled that the wives of many political leaders from the south west, including Bola Tinubu, Babatunde Fashola, Ibikunle Amosun and others, are all Christians.
“For goodness sake, the children of these political leaders were bred and brought up by Christian mothers. You think those people, wherever they participate, they will bring a religious issue? What kind of people are we? Nigerians will always bring something to cause confusion while we are trying to stabilise the system.”
Meanwhile indications have recently occurred that APC might adopt Buhari as its consensus candidate as the party leader Bola Tinubu allegedly declared support for the former military ruler during the October 17 NEC meeting.