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Muslim-Muslim ticket: Tinubu wanted to be my running mate in 2007 but I refused, says Atiku

Author:
Idris Shehu

Atiku Abubakar says a Muslim-Muslim presidential ticket is the bane of his “fundamental disagreement” with Bola Tinubu, candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), since 2007.

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) presidential candidate spoke in a chat with Arise TV on Friday.

Tinubu had picked Kashim Shettima, former governor of Borno, as his running mate for the APC presidential ticket. The development elicited outrage from key stakeholders due to the fact that both of them are Muslims.

Atiku and Tinubu were allies during the lead-up to the 2007 general election. The former vice-president had left the PDP to become the presidential candidate of the Action Congress (AC), with Tinubu as the leading chieftain of the party.

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The party however lost the presidential election to PDP’s Umaru Yar’Adua, with Atiku later returning to PDP.

Although they reunited when APC was formed in 2014, they have since been on the opposite sides of the political spectrum.

Reacting to Tinubu’s choice of a Muslim running mate, Atiku said it was why he “departed politically” from the former Lagos governor.

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He claimed that Tinubu had wanted to be his running mate for the AC presidential ticket, and he refused.

Atiku added that he and Tinubu are “still friends” but they “have political differences”.

“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,” the PDP candidate 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 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.”

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